By Fadil Paçrami
The fourth part
Memorie.al / what is prison? It is the place where those who have been sentenced to deprivation of liberty are kept, we would say by reading any dictionary. But that is little. Prison and freedom – two opposites. Previously: what is freedom? In short: to be free means to do what you want, to think and act as you wish in the exercise and fulfillment of your freedoms and rights, as a person and as a citizen, but always without harming and violating others. . Again: to think and act. We are talking about democratic freedoms, from those of speech, press, assembly and organization in various parties and associations, ensuring the conditions where ideas, requirements and human wills can find expression and concretization, from those of the biological-related plant with the being itself, to those of the social plan, related to the ways of living.
Continues from last issue
– The second one was thrown in the March 15 speech of Enver Hoxha in the meeting with the communists in the apparatus of the PPS Central Committee. They called me there too. I didn’t understand why right away, but it became clear to me when he started talking, targeting me by name, charging me as much as he wanted, according to the preconceived scenario. The next day, I asked him for a date, but he did not accept me. I repeated the request, I wanted to explain myself, and he waited for me after 15 days, when he remembered that the pressures that had been put on me would have reached the goal. I had to admit that he was right, but since that didn’t happen, he got really angry and showed me the door.
Before the week was over, he dismissed me from all functions, even where I was elected, as the chairman of the People’s Assembly, and sent me director of the copper mine in Tuc t Puka. He did the same with Todi, taking him to the director of a construction company in Lezhë. They hurried to get me out of the house and I settled in Fushë-Arrëz. – On June 28, the infamous Fourth Plenum convened. Heavy atmosphere, fear and tension. The report was given by Enver Hoxha himself, what did he say, what importance would he give to this plenum, for his plan that he put into action, putting everything he could into play, to get where he needed to be. This stood out from the content, sometimes solemn and sometimes angry tones, with spectacular raising and accentuation of the voice and the attempt to give it a theoretical outfit.
It was clear that one of his goals was to warn others that this could happen to anyone else tomorrow, so they should be careful. It was not a plenum, but a trial, where Todi and I were accused. They took turns to speak; Mehmet Shehu, Hysni Kapo, Ramiz Alia, Manush Muftiu, and others from his loyalists, who not only approved and highly valued the report, but also added from themselves, always more peaceful, elevating his genius and foresight that always in difficult moments, he had saved the party and the country, from internal and external dangers and enemies. The taking of punishment measures, from the strictest and coercive ones as a whole, was requested to cut the road to the liberalization of treason. A type of thug like Hekuran Isai formulated the punishment as follows: “Both shall be tied by the hands and feet, put in a bag and thrown into the river where it is deeper.”
This was the situation at that time. The dictates and will of the boss, as well as fear, ruled the party from the Central Committee and other party and state bodies down to the whole country. That’s how the party itself got stuck. And it seemed that in its highest organ. Even there, it had started. So it was decided to expel us from the Central Committee and the party. But this was not the end. An unheard-of and never-before-seen campaign began, with meetings and in the press, against liberalism, tensing the situation in the country and preparing the new strikes that followed, related to the “putschists” in the army and the “saboteurs” in the economy. The framework was thus completed, for what was called the big “conspiracy” in the three spheres: “Culture-Army-Economy”. A completely fictional device, like a mechanism set in motion, to be kept afloat, with terror and demagoguery.
The arrests and trials of the 70s immediately followed, for the three “groupings”, according to a predetermined order, and these: first the military, then those of the economy, meanwhile also those of culture, (in ’74- Todi was arrested in 1975, I was also arrested). Even for this – the arrests, there was a preparation. If for the other two groupings, they were made at once, for the military very soon for the economy, for us culture, it was postponed a little. While the first two were justified by the risk of military actions, and the great damage to the economy, for us in the sphere of culture and ideas, it was more difficult to be trusted by the public.
However: – After a month, I was brought before the voters, to remove my mandate as a deputy, where I was also asked to be arrested.
– In the parliament, they didn’t call me again since that fall of ’73 and I was dismissed by its elected president.
– They checked me for carrying a weapon, in order to find any reason, to punish me as an ordinary.
– I was forbidden to move from Fush-Arrëzi, as a measure of deportation or exile, this was not officially announced to me.
– They organized a meeting in the city’s cinema, where they called me and insisted I must have been a widow: they thought they were going to expose me publicly, and they wanted me to be arrested, but I didn’t go.
– I was followed by provocateurs, to extract words and testimony, as they wanted, until finally, on October 22, 1975, they closed the cycle with the arrest. One more question: why didn’t they arrest me and Todd at the same time? And for that reason, they didn’t hold a trial for both of us together: there had been no joint activity by us, of the hostile kind, as they accused us, and they knew this very well, so they had no way to do it, the connection in trial. They had done it in the plenum, and in propaganda, it was difficult in court. Thus ended this odyssey. Five of the two letters sent to Enver Hoxha, where I talk about everyone figuratively, I have named them; “enigma”, “bad prose”, “sinister chorus” and “laughing masks”, in response to unspoken accusations of hostility, as anti-national, and others. In those conditions, with this language, it was possible to speak, even if it was excessive)
From the beginning:
Even before, I have spoken several times about an “enigma”, which I tried to solve, but there were (and are) many unknowns, which I did not know (and do not know), that is why I had (and have) hard to remember the whole thing. I try to follow facts and events, from materials and articles that are published, to recall what happened to me, to connect them as much as possible and to get as close as possible to the truth. Maybe I get tired in vain! It can. And then, why? I want to solve it – the “enigma” and not just for myself…! Not long ago, I got hold of volume 31, of the Works of Enver Hoxha, and there on page 266, I read a criticism made at that time (beginnings of 1966), but which I now know. Not that they say there, they pass the criticisms that were made to me later, but now that it stands out in those few lines, it brought me back to the “enigma”.
So: it becomes clear that for a long time – from the beginning of the 60s, maybe even before, only bad and, unknown to me, started to gather, always in a certain direction. It acted like this (who had and is interested in these – this is part of the “enigma”), a bad prose, of the type of boulevard literature and acted from several directions, through many roads, open and indirect.. .! From these, I thought: shouldn’t I have started from here – from the clarification of the unknown and what is behind them? (Once Seneca cried aloud: O last thought, why did you not come first!) And since I did not do it in its time, I said I would do it now, as much as possible. A voice – that of the prisoner (life in the cell, the thick walls, the bars that cross your eyes and the solitude, do their work, in many directions – physical and psychic), seeks to hold me and says to me: in vain, how tired you are , your word, is no longer heard! But I don’t want to obey him. And I will not obey.
(Repeat: my persistence is not mere obstinacy. Nor is it a proof of guilt, as the judges tell, to appease their consciences, preaching like priests, “Christian repentance”, in me, it, – persistence, comes from convictions) . Feel that I am forced to return to some issues, but this is known: there are times when one has to go back to the original sources to reassess what has flowed. I’m starting with some things known to you as well. – When I was Minister of Culture and Arts (I started from here precisely to show how she acted – “bad prose”) I didn’t even know, so I didn’t even allow, to be worked on and adapted for opera, any of my dramas.
When Comrade Manush asked me about this once (apparently, after that Politburo meeting where you had talked about it), I simply told him; that I didn’t know anything. I was interested in how the matter stood, it turned out that someone from the ballet had made a sketch-idea, for a ballet libretto, based on the drama “The House on the Boulevard”, but no work had been started, nor had it been discussed in the council artistic, as are the rules. So something completely personal to him. Why from all this zeal, to bring such things?! Obviously: the work of that “bad prose” I talked about above. This is how she acted, with ways like these, and things like this…! – In 1969 (I’ll stay a bit here, because it’s not only one of the culminating points of that “bad prose” that I mentioned, but also a key element, for that “enigma”), it came to you , an anonymous letter full of nonsense and fiction to me, related to matters of literature and the arts. Was there talk about Todi Lubonja? My friend Ramiz called me for that, my friend Manush was also present (it was June, July), I was told to read it. As long as it’s anonymous, I said, I don’t read it, I don’t even deal with it. And I didn’t read it. During the conversation, I was told some things from its content.
I called that letter, both in content and in method, a ‘Byzantine-type’ agential intrigue. Angry, I asked to find the author or authors, which was possible and had to be done. (My mind wandered to him; the “sneaky chorus” of the Asian type, whose presence I felt for days, sometimes here, sometimes there, but not materialized). Open and honest, I put the matter in front of them like this: surely behind this letter, someone is playing with certain goals; there is also revenge – by the Yugoslavs and the Soviets, with their people. More clearly, I don’t know how to speak…! (I had known these methods, in 1946-’47, I saw that they were thinner and continued the fight against them. When what happened in 1973, I understood many things, but it was too late. That – “Bad prose” and she had done the work she needed to with her fiction. I raised my voice as much as I could about that, too—the “enigma,” her game, and her revenge, but that, too, of late, I felt empty.
Never, not in ’73, not in ’75-76, during the investigative process, not even afterwards, not even today, have I stopped thinking about her, I have even called for her to be traced. New facts and events will come to light and I am convinced that one day, they will clarify everything to the end. But the game is elsewhere…! – In 1973, when many of those issues (of that letter) reared their heads again in shapes, sizes and other ways, I realized that I shouldn’t have left it like that, until I had all those doubts, I let it close, without going till the end. Now I have it even clearer. During the investigation, I returned to this matter several times, and sought to trace back to that letter. But to my surprise (and I’ll say this, because I can’t stand it), I noticed that the investigators were aware of it, down to the details (?!) and the strangest thing was that I received as an answer the silence, with some sneer. What about this?! What are you doing here…?!
What was there and what is there?! It’s hard for me to say, I guess it can’t be found from here. That’s why I called it; “one of the climaxes” of that “bad prose” and a key element, for that – the “enigma”. So we come to the issues (this is where the connection of that – “bad prose” is made with that – the “enigma”) , which took that form and those dimensions, after 1973 – they prepared the arrest, became the basis of the investigative process, took me to court, brought the sentence without any legal basis and threw me here where I am. (Yes, I have complaints about the investigation, so also for the trial, for the way it was conducted, for the legality with which it was acted, for the indictment, how it was formulated by the investigator and for the decision taken by the jury. I have told this several times to the investigator, I said it in court, I’m telling you too. I’m surprised, even though the investigator didn’t come out and didn’t notice me, every time I talked about that “enigma”, telling them openly, that if not today, tomorrow, or sometime, she will come out to you, from where you least expect it. One more thing: why did they receive all this with mockery?! I asked this question often at that time, I asked it later, I ask it even now:
Why?! Even from a professional point of view, such an attitude is not justified, why, so why? Well, there must be an explanation! Finally: – That they are not random, but there is a connection between everything I said, this is clear. That’s how far I get from “my hole”. – That there has been an escalation in this work and only for the worse: at first, as a work weakness (because I did not work, but dealt with dramas), then, as a lack and weakness of moral image (that I supported flatterers and sought personal glory); later, as doubts (what he likes, what he doesn’t like in the affairs of the party, what he wants to do? Where he aims, etc.); in the end open for hostility (as anti-national and for connections, the hell knows where, abroad, etc.) this also comes out clearly. – From the beginning to the end of the scroll, up to where I am, they are related to that – “bad prose”, and the others, that is, to the “enigma”, which step by step, took on such proportions, even tragic, also for this , the more I think about it, the more I agree.
Burrell, February 1, 1981
From the second:
Let me stop now, on what I have called the “enigma”, about which I wrote before, somewhat more clearly, in the letter of February 1, 1981; to “bad pro” and to him; “sinister chorus” and, “laughing masks”. I think that now, they can be clarified further, because it happened that, from that mountain of weaves, plans and dirty work, quite a few unknowns were thrown, and they kicked me in the back. Maybe these also say something. – What mud they were in and how deep, their authors, this is shown by everything they did and the end that Mehmet Shehu chose, from which there was no water to wash him, even if all the rivers of Albania, taken together. But I’m talking about the “enigma”, which I insist on. They aimed far, it can be seen. I was one of those obstacles that had to be peeled away. This was neither new nor accidental. It had happened once in 1947, it happened again. Specifically how, I don’t know, but I thought and I think, that they are related, that they are the same links of the chain, of those first years of Liberation.
Indeed, in 1948, I was rehabilitated…. but during the times that passed, then I felt – and life proved – that those and others who walk those roads, abroad and inside the country, did not forget me, on the contrary. Not only from what had happened then, but also afterwards, also from how much and how, they knew, I was convinced from my side. And they did what they could to get me out of the way. Without going into details, for them I was an object under observation, permanent processing and I remained so until the end. I have felt this, all the time, even more so from the mid-60s onwards, until they achieved their goal, in 1973, after two years in prison as well. (I am convinced; they also wanted the head more. They didn’t get it in 1977, they would do it later). Everything that has happened reinforces this.
Now, I think, those stories before and after the years 1968-’69, with that anonymous letter from the middle of 1969 (about which I wrote to you at length, in the letter of February 1, 1991) and some others are clarified. It was not in vain that it was written and sent at this very time. (Comrade Ramiz is aware of a number of unusual events of those years: before, during and after the 2nd Congress of the League of Writers and Artists, so I am not going to elaborate). It had to be blurred, at the same time “cleansed”, on this sensitive and delicate front, to make way for the goals and those people who needed them, as well as to give rise to deceptive noises and smoke, putting in actions, legends and police traps, which are based on: intrigue, slander, everything of peace. And so it was done: all that happened, is part of these plans and was fabricated by her people, with “data”, collected and served, through impure paths, extending to those who, by wasting duty, did not do their work, but that of the “gang,” and beyond (as is now more clearly understood). Even many of the criticized performances in literature and the arts were instigated through these avenues, to then sound the alarms and to take pictures of the “heroes” of the war, against them. Here’s how things come together. No, there is nothing here that is a product of fantasy on my part. They can be verified…!
(The question is rightly asked, I have done it so many times with myself: what are these ways and means that I did not understand at that time?! – Here they had an advantage over the partners of their victims. I had to go to “school” of the investigation, so that I could understand them, get to know the “rules of the game”, as they say. With pain I am forced to affirm, what I saw with my eyes, heard with my ears, after I was arrested, everything that was built crookedly, on the basis of a well-known arsenal, from the manipulations of police and investigators.
Feel me for this analogy, but your mind goes (during the investigation, as I remembered them in the smoke, now I quickly read them again), to these words that I put in the mouth of a character (general Penter – fabricator of unknown accusations), Anatol Fransi , when he says: “He (the accused), will confess, he must confess. Definitely, you must force him to confess, tell him that it is in his interest. Give him the word that, if he confesses, we will make him comfortable; we will reduce his sentence…! Try to arouse good feelings in him: let him affirm out of patriotism, for the flag, for the sake of social order, for respect, for hierarchy…! “Yes, all these they used them, as well as “false documents”, from the mouths of witnesses and “experts”, along with the sophism that; “silence itself is a proof of guilt”, ending in the fabrication of an indictment, as they wanted).
… This is known: wear to others, what you think and want yourself, then shout; “catch the thief”! (Of course, not the truth, but what “I”, point to). Come Richard the Third, come! The great Shakespeare embroidered and unmasked brilliantly, these monsters. (Since above, I spoke so much about myself, I am also asking the question: what was I, in these plans? I myself am also answering: anyone, but “one” that chance, or not only chance, brought to be a a soldier, or an officer, on the chessboard, who had to be eaten, put out of the game, before he could be called “checkmate”! So it was, in 1947, so it was in the 70s Although it caused me so much pain, I don’t cry, I just did my duty, what I could).
I am closing here, going back to 1973. If at the 4th Plenum of the Central Committee, then I took that position… which was called “non-self-critical” at that time, it happened because I had the conviction that I was being punished not for the “mistakes” that were spoken about, but for those that were not being said… even though I thought that they should not be given way, and that they should not be given weapons in the hands of anyone, with suggested statements that they wanted they needed it, these came out, not from the truth, but from coercion, promises and deceptions. I kept the same attitude (of course, maneuvering as much as I could) even in the investigator, with all the pressures and tortures (also: both mental and physical tortures) and traps of all kinds; the same in the trial (paraphrasing from time to time, only about what was said in the Fourth Plenum of the Central Committee); likewise afterwards, trying to discover step by step, the dark sides, what today’s developments have brought to light and will still bring to light. Memorie.al
Burrell, September 10, 1982
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