KAMZA, Albania – One of the poorest cities in Albania, Kamza, renamed on the weekend one of its streets after US President Donald Trump.
Donald J. Trump Boulevard, about 500 meters (1,625 feet) long, was inaugurated by Kamza Mayor Xhelal Mziu and the head of the Albania’s opposition Democratic Party (PD), Lulzim Basha.
The street crosses the city’s main avenue, Blue Blvd., a name derived from the flag of the PD, and ends at Pacific Street.
The US president is not the first political figure to have a street named for him in the northwestern Albanian city, where there are also avenues bearing the names of former US President George W. Bush, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi.
“Mziu is testing us. Very few people know (Trump) and the majority don’t know how to pronounce their difficult names,” Haxhi Hyra – who sells cigarettes on the street, earning 250 euros ($269) per month to support his 12-person family – told EFE.
“Not even the Americans themselves love Trump. Besides, he’s a friend of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and pro-Russian. He’s no good either for us or for Europe,” said Hyra’s friend Tahir, who complained that the mayor had attached the US president’s name to a street that was formerly named Iliria, meaning “the land of our ancestors.”
Astrit Kastrati, currently unemployed, said that the local authorities are right in naming the street after Trump because “without the help of the US, the Albanian state wouldn’t have existed in 1912, and neither would an independent Kosovo.”
In Albania, one of the most pro-US nations of Europe, there is also a statue of George W. Bush commemorating his 2008 visit to the city of Fushe Kruje.
Kamza is one of Albania’s youngest cities, created after the fall of communism in 1991, when thousands of Albanians abandoned their homes in the country’s poor north and settled near the capital of Tirana seeking a better life.
With a population of about 100,000, Kamza is one of the poorest cities in the country, and one of the ones with the greatest unemployment.
Last November, Mziu made another peculiar move, declaring Trump to be an “honorary citizen” of Kamza and calling him a “revolutionary model of the new democratic order, an expert in the economy, a foreign policy negotiator, a communicator with a sharp mind and a leader for modern times.”