By Petraq Xhaçka
The twelfth part
Memorie.al / The purpose of this book is to join the efforts made to present the truths and horrors of the communist dictatorship in Albania. The main purpose of the book is not to show our people or anyone else, that we oilmen have been innocent, because this has become known from publications in our press, from foreign televisions, as well as from direct meetings with the International Forum and the Albanian Human Rights. The author’s desire, is that through this story, together with other stories, fight any manifestation in any form, even moderate, that he may have to create a communist society. I think that even through this bitter personal history, the cruel, treacherous and overbearing face of Enverism will appear, that for half a century, held the knife with the tip in the chest of the Albanian people, with a pine eye, intercepting the movements for salvation from the outside, or rebellion of the people themselves, ready to push the knife to the heart, at the first movement. The events are set in the economic fields where it has appeared most strongly, such as the oil and gas industry, where I was fortunate to pour my energies, for a lifetime, and become a participant and witness in those events. All the events that are written in this memoir are true, not only without any exaggeration or embellishment, but perhaps, I don’t know how much I was able to present the terrifying force of the events that took place in that decadent system of socialism, where no there was no human feeling.
Continues from last issue
This is how the Party listened to the voice of the mass of workers! This worker connected his accusation with some premature works and with the sending of many probes to that area, some of which could not be put to work. He described these acts as being carried out with the intention of sabotage, that is, with hostile awareness, to damage the economy of the people! Enver Hoxha, in his address to the leadership, condemned the poor results in the research sector, for the period 1970-’75, seeing the sabotage as; “violation of party guidelines”. The leader of the Party went so far as to condemn certain expressions, phrases and terms used by geologists.
So for example, they were criticized for using the term; “the search for lenses in the sandstones of the Divjaka structure for gas”, or; “looking for structure X”‘ or the terms “bedding”, “trap”, and many others, as showing the wrong concepts of geologists. According to him, they showed that oil and gas have been visualized by geologists in specific beds, while oil and gas, he said, are in wide areas. The whole underground, the whole of Albania, according to him, was a big oil well.
Consequently, wherever it was drilled, oil had to come out, otherwise it was understood that there was sabotage. For many reasons, these considerations are a manifestation of his stupidity, which has been talked about for a long time, but we must stop and imagine that this was the terrible verdict that the Albanian dictator announced for all of us! After reading several protocols of the Scientific Council, Enver Hoxha condemned these expressions used by geologists as foreign concepts, which they had learned from university textbooks or from technical books of foreign literature. He was not ashamed to show that he was also revising the world science of geology.
Among the geologists mentioned, as saboteur enemies, was the director of the Petroleum Institute, Beqir Alia. Then Protoko Murati, one of the first geological technicians, who created the oil geological service, with Albanian specialists and who now worked as the head of the geology sector, was convicted. Other geologists lined up, such as; Koço Plaku, Milto Gjikopulli and Dhimitër Stefa. Geologist Koço Plaku, on the occasion of the November holidays, was awarded the high decoration of the “Republic Award” for outstanding research work in the field of research geology. The party now turned everything upside down and put his name on the enemy list.
The content of this speech was a big bomb for the people who were mentioned in it, but at the same time, it hit and shocked almost all the specialists, especially those of the Geological Institute. A state of tension, fear and terror was created among the staff, in all oil institutions.
In this material, the work of Piro Gusho, First Secretary of the Fier district Party Committee, was condemned, who was criticized for; kept close the specialists and leaders who were punished in this material. Even the conflict he had with me, the match that caused my departure from the Oil Institute, was mentioned to him. This time, they needed me to hit Gusho and describe my departure as his hostile act, which had weakened the work of oil exploration and reduced their effectiveness.
Had Pirro Gushoja remained alive, after my sentence, they would have had to congratulate him for fighting against me, but his turn, in the list of enemies compiled by the dictatorial madness, was decided earlier. The mountain of accusations, among which the conflict with me was one of the most insignificant, Pirro Gushoja, could not stand it and almost two months later, during one of the breaks of the Fier Party Bureau meeting, he went to his house , you had asked for the revolver and ended your life. After Mehmet Shehu read the speech of his boss, questions and discussions were asked by members of the government. In the answers they sought, the voices of the oilmen trembled, their lips were bruised and they could not find any space to speak. As soon as they started to answer, members of the government were immediately brought, interrupted, interfered with discussions, or other questions, which made the oilmen, meke and lose their torua.
The heavily shocked oilmen were no longer the first people, alive and fluent in speech. They were being covered by clouds of accusations, for services to the enemies of their country, something about which at that moment, I was convinced that even in their dreams, it had not occurred to them! I was completely numb. I did not imagine the sudden turn, with the considerations of the Party, for these cadres. And I didn’t know what attitude I should take, and what I should say, if they asked me. I knew them at work, with some of them; I had shared good and bad.
They had a lot of mistakes in their work, from those mistakes that we all have, some more, some less, but I never dreamed that they would be evaluated with such epithets! To sabotage means to commit a conscious act to harm. It cannot be called sabotage, a judgment or a solution, not scientifically accurate. In the field of science, there are thousands of cases where great scientists, through failures in their experiments, have then achieved the greatest successes for the benefit of humanity.
But none of the failures have been fatal for them. And Albanian geologists could not distinguish themselves from their colleagues in the whole world. The latter, with a much more powerful technique, succeeded in discovering new oil and gas sources through negative and then positive wells, but no foreign geologist has been condemned as an enemy. Fortunately, I was not asked, but still, I was not saved from trouble, because at the end, Prime Minister Shehu, stood me up and ordered me in front of the hall:
You, Xhaçka, as of today, will go to the Petroleum Institute. I charge you with the special task of taking the direction of Scientific and organizational work, until we make new appointments there. And on the spot, he announced that; Lipe Nashi, Beqir Alia, Protoko Murati, Koço Plaku and others were fired from their management duties, or the jobs they performed and were forbidden to appear in the offices of the companies where they worked. As we learned, since that night, around their houses, police had been stationed, preventing the entry or exit of other people in these families.
We left the meeting late at lunchtime. I didn’t go to the restaurant to eat because I was shocked by this very tense meeting, like a real trial. To tell the truth, I felt sorry for those oil workers, who all those years of their lives, had poured rivers of sweat, had contributed to the progress of work, who had not known what the taste of weekly vacations or different holidays was, but they kept vigil day and night, in those difficult terrains, where our wells were located. As a whole, they had made a significant contribution to the strengthening of the oil industry.
All the way, from Tirana to Fier, I stayed silent, mostly smoking. Scenes from that meeting kept coming before my eyes and I had a hard time getting them out of my mind. I remembered heavy phrases from the speech of the leader of the Party, the murdered faces of the oil workers, who were being punished. When I went home, my friend immediately realized that I was a soul killer, and asked me to tell her the reason. I told him briefly about the meeting and the dire situation my colleagues were in after Enver Hoxha’s speech.
I avoided any comments and predictions that might shock him and told him that now, I would have a lot of work to do, more than I had done during those last years. Together with the other employees of the Oil Institute, we had to turn the night into day, work with all the possibilities, to do everything, to improve the created situation and manage to discover new oil and gas resources. , a task that always remained with us, like that nail stuck in the head.
The next day I went to the Institute, gathered the heads of the sectors and spoke to them briefly about the government meeting that took place in Tirana. I did it without mentioning details and names, since other people would come to read Enver Hoxha’s speech. I told them something about the dismissed persons of the Institute and I informed them that I was in charge of temporarily directing all scientific work activities at the Institute. First, I took measures to prevent the entry of outsiders into the Institute, until things were clarified, from the workers’ collectives of the geology sectors and from the basic party organizations, which would specifically discuss in more detail the work of the people.
I did not participate in these meetings, because I was not a member of this collective, but of the oil extraction sector.
In the morning hours, delegates from the Party Committee bodies arrived and held special meetings with the basic party organizations and working collectives. They read Enver Hoxha’s speech about oil. After getting acquainted with the letter, the discussions began, starting as usual with the support of the leader’s speech, for the condemnation of what he called; “hostile activity”. It was almost understandable that no one could go against his word. In these meetings, the list of sins began to grow. People also gave negative evidence of the work of other specialists, whom they viewed as suspicious, as collaborators of those who were already part of the list posted by the head of the Party.
It was the occasion to hold grudges against one another, under the pretext of this activity called by Enver Hoxha; hostile, to go to the end. All the geological sectors of the Institute were shaken and shaken. It seemed as if the call went out: the specialists are losing their legs, men, let’s give them a push! People were seen, who were happy to deal with these analyses, to stick the knife to their collaborators, to cover up their poor work and to win the favors of the State Security. The files were filled to overflowing, with quotes from conversations and rumors and with dubious biographical data.
But, thank God, of course, there were many honest people who limited themselves to general words. They knew that no one could come to the defense of those who were marked. For us, that was suicide. And since they could not be silent, so as not to attract attention with their silence, they tried to find everyday banal flaws that appear in every job.
But, those who criticized earnestly were never asked why they had been silent until now! This was clear, because no one had seen the defects of the work as acts of hostility. But, since the leadership of the Party, completely for political reasons, said that; this is hostile work, let’s shout berihaj, knock with it!
This was as clear as the sun, because it was this collective that, a few months ago, had proposed these specialists, to be decorated, for a very good job! This had already become a fashion. The totalitarian regime, the brutal Enverian dictatorship, forced people, by all means, to say things not as they thought, but as the request came from above. Man in that system loses his dignity and turns into a robot that works according to a program that others have set for him. This explains why all of us oil workers could not help but condemn this so-called hostile activity. Many protocols were kept; other people were later added as collaborators of certain enemies.
Of course, these materials were collected, processed and interpreted by the State Security, which day and night enriched the files of specialists and, in case of need, when requested from above, brought out new enemies. This was the monstrous practice of life under the communist dictatorship in Albania. People thus became enemies of each other. This enmity, introduced by force, was the manifestation of a wild terror, of an anti-human psychology. Things did not really face each other, and each became an enemy to the friend. These forms used in Albania, which especially in the oil industry became more frequent and harsher, led to the loss of the good qualities that people had inherited for centuries for a period of several decades.
Regardless of how true the facts were, the one who brought them and threw the most mud was included in the ranks of the faithful. After that, it was extremely difficult to fire that man. Thus, not infrequently, with such displays of willingness to strike, such people without character values, and with pronounced weaknesses at work, became typical figures, who occupied leadership positions, up to ministers and deputies.
For several weeks, especially in the Institute and the General Directorate of Oil, the situation remained very honest. Specialists and leaders, in most of them, were shocked and extremely worried because the people that Enver Hoxha had appointed as scapegoats had friends and comrades.
The rest, even without friendship and companionship, worried that in clear times without the presence of terror, they had publicly shown good evaluations of them. Now in one day, they had to turn everything upside down. The meetings of the collectives and basic organizations of the Party continued for hours every day. The sick critics, who rejoiced when they were in front of such situations, wanted to expand the scope of discussions more and for the thousandth time, they also started digging into the distant past from relatives with the enemies of the communists, people who were shot, imprisoned, escaped to the West, or even deeper, monarchists or members of the nationalist organization Balli Kombëtar.
Many employees, affected by such accusations, were once again forced to extract and present evidence from the cities and villages of their birth, or even of their previous residence, about the favorable political attitude of themselves, their family and the wider family circle. . Some cried for the baseless accusations made by their work colleagues, for issues of biography, or apparent friendship with the oilmen, who were being condemned as enemies. Others pointed out the malicious interpretations that were given to some of their discussions, made years ago, about the work or the congratulations they had previously expressed, on the occasion of the decorations, to the oil workers who were now being punished.
Turbulira often brought to the surface, in the process, the old minutes of various meetings, which at this time, were dusted off and re-read once again, by special commissions of trusted people. The complaints stemmed from the fact that these minutes were not kept by competent and specialized persons, but were left in the hands of individuals who often, even from fatigue, had listened to the discussions incorrectly, had poorly summarized the phrases and thoughts of discussants and as a consequence, they had also changed the essence of the technical discussions of the topic that was addressed. Such foggy conditions became harvest seasons for those who wanted to do evil.
Throughout the day, Security employees stayed in the offices of the Institute, contacted different people from whom they asked for opinions and information about everything that was said in the meetings of collectives or basic organizations. Sometimes the insurance companies themselves went to these meetings and of course, they brought things out the way they wanted. There were many specialists who were called to the Department of Internal Oil Affairs in Fier. There they were interrogated and everyone was ordered not to tell anyone who had called them and why.
A heavy shadow of wild terror especially covered the Oil Institute. Many such and other events or facts were found out later, especially after the overthrow of the dictatorial regime, now when people can openly tell what happened to them in those years, that is, things that no one can blame they used to tell. Even the broken family relations found ground in these weeks. An oilman had a quarrel with his wife and was on the verge of divorce.
At a meeting of the people in the neighborhood, the woman stood up and accused her husband of not buying and reading the works of Enver Hoxha. The head of the neighborhood council immediately organized an inspection inside the house of this old oilman, verified that the wife’s information was correct, and the oilman became the object of unprecedented strikes. It was lucky that no one stood up and showed that he had expressed any displeasure. His fate remained in the balance for years.
Another meaningful case: a specialist from the institute’s offices accused one of his colleagues of revisionist views. Wanting to throw a technical cloak over the accusation, he testified that his work friend, in his study, had used the triangle method as an interpretation, for setting the petrographic parameters of the rocks, this method used by foreign Polish specialists, and appeared to be in the revisionist camp, led by Moscow. This absurd logic came as a result of the fact that every citizen of the capitalist countries, or those we called revisionists, was seen as an enemy and a spy.
Any contact or conversation with them was enough to end life in prison. Let these be exchanges of greetings, technical thoughts, or just a show of courtesy! Dirt was coming to the surface. For the benefit of the work and collegial atmosphere that was collapsing, I objected to political insinuations, when it was simply a question of a study. In this case, it was to be praised the study of this specialist, who was taking steps forward in deepening and raising the scientific level of studies.
After very fierce debates in the cabinet, in the sector and up to the Scientific Council, as a conclusion, the accusation that the “patriot” specialist made to his colleague was dismissed and of course the latter was saved from being expelled from the Institute, which could later follow and with other more severe persecutions. In my support, I emphasized that every employee could include in his studies, for the purposes that can serve the study topic, even the achievements of foreign specialists, and we have no way of dressing this up with political, even hostile purposes. , because this is how we hold back the progress of science. Memorie.al
The next issue follows