At school, we practised sheltering in underground bunkers. Albania’s history teaches that only dialogue and integration end the cycle of war
“Are the bunkers in Albania still working?” my 11-year-old asked on hearing the news that Russia had invaded Ukraine. “Some,” I said. “Why?” “In case there is a war in Europe, and we need to find shelter,” he replied.
I was his age one of the last times we “practised war” at school. At that time, all the bunkers worked, not only some – indeed they were one of the few things to still “work” in communist Albania. Once or twice a year an alarm would ring and we would rush out of our classrooms into the nearest shelter: a long, dark, underground tunnel that, legend had it, stretched all the way to the border with Yugoslavia – though nobody dared to venture more than a couple of hundred metres inside.
Lea Ypi is the author of Free: Coming of Age at the End of History, and is a professor in political theory at the London School of Economics