From Skifter Kelliçi
The sixth part
Memorie.al / It is the fourth time that I am writing about the 11th National Song Festival on Albanian Radio Television, (December 22-25, 1972), as much as I wrote some time ago about the Tirana Conference, (16- April 20, 1956). And this time for the same reason: for the lack of historical accuracy of some events related to this festival, which Ramiz Alia, the former first secretary of PPSh, after the death of Enver Hoxha, describes in the book his last “My Life” (2010), although there are objective, honest statements in it, especially when he testifies about the serious mistakes that led to the failure of the communist system in Albania, led by Enver Hoxha, for which he apologizes. But in the description of his figure, Ramiz Alia is often contradictory, especially in the chapter; “The fight against liberalism”, where it stops at the 11th Song Festival on Albanian Radio and Television (December 22-25, 1972).
Continues from last issue
What were Todi Lubonja’s “tricks”?
Because he wanted to give a new face to the Radio programs and enriches the TV shows? What was wrong with the fact that the songs of the European Festival of 1972 were broadcast on the radio, pleasant songs that refreshed the music programs? How bad was it that sports events were broadcast, taken from foreign TVs, mainly Italian, for which a device called “telerekording” (English-television recorder) was specially bought, but from Italian TV, the column was recorded, especially very educational films, when the RTS screen was mainly filled with Chinese films, or old films that were shown almost every week?
What was wrong then, that television magazines were also enriched with chronicles coming from the “Visnjuz” company, or taken again from Italian TV? In the end, all this, Todi Lubonja no longer made his head. He, as he told me during our meetings, consulted with Ramiz Ali and Pirro Kondi at every step. In order not to go further, in the summer of 1972, as I have explained, he also received congratulations from Enver Hoxha personally, for these young women who were seen in TVSH.
Then, RTSh was not a center that was located and broadcast on… the back side of the Dajti Mountain and was not seen in Tirana!
The TV programs were seen first by the dictator himself, whose house was located no more than 300 m. away from Todi Lubonja’s office. Then, why didn’t he call him at least once, as he wanted to, he got whoever he could during the broadcast of the Pope’s greeting, on the occasion of Christmas, on December 25, 1975, and to warn Todi Lubonja , for these television “innovations”?!
I must emphasize that Todi Lubonja did not allow even the slightest political or ideological deviation in any kind of program, whether in news, artistic programs, talks, shows for children, except for the 11th Festival, according to Enver Hoxha’s judgment, and in some cases of collaborators, who participated in television shows, with long hair, or “modern” clothes, cases which are magnified, in the letter that a certain teacher from Fieri sent to him, as we have seen above, in even if this letter, as well as other times, was invented by him. Then, where are his “things”?!
Let’s also take a look at the television programs during the year 1972-’73, when he was general director of RTSh: On Mondays, as every day at 18.00, and at the end of the daily programs, news, at 18.30, the show for children was broadcast at 19.15, the show “For agricultural workers”, 19.30, folk music concert, 20.00, every evening “Revista televisive”, 20.30, “Rubrika sportive”, 21.00, feature film; Tuesday: at 19.15 scientific documentary, at 19.30, teleportation, at 20.30, pieces of ballet, 20.30 feature film; Wednesday: 19.15 “Journey through antiquity”, 19.00, “Body and health”, 19.30, “TV encyclopedia”, 20.30 concert. 21.00, feature film;
Thursday: 19.15, “Poetic Mosaic”, 19.30, “Places and Peoples”, 20.30, “From our folk stones”, 21.00, feature film; Friday: 19.15 documentary, 19.45, circus numbers, 20.30, concert, 21, feature film; Saturday: “In the beautiful world of fairy tales, 19.15 “Meeting with science and technology”, 19.30, telereport, 20.30, concert with light music, 21.00, feature film; Sunday: 19.15 “Our mutual book friend”, 19.30 “Through the People’s Republic of China”, 20.30, concert, 21.00 feature film. These shows were enriched every Sunday on holidays, or during the week with sports broadcasts, as well as programs that were added to the VAT, from 10.00 to 14.00.
Here, then, these were the television programs, which lasted every day, no more than five hours. That was the strength of the VAT of that period, with three news shows every day, with telereports from life in our country, artistic columns, which, as you can see, included shows with popular music, light music, classical music, cultural columns, scientific, sports and feature films, where, in addition to purchased films, films recorded by Italian TV, (RAI) began to be shown. (Let’s not forget that after the ’80s, RTS started sending groups to France to buy feature films, a fact that during the time of RTS leadership by Todi Lubonja, would be called a big political mistake).
Then, I repeat, what things is the dictator talking about, which Thanas Nano would not allow? The biggest paradox is that Todi did not remove or add any of the above programs, which he inherited from the time of Nano, but insisted that they rise even more artistically, just as he asked that journalists also try to find new ways and forms to reach this goal and this could only be done with the cultural rise of those themselves.
Of course, he then intended to add other shows, but he did not have time during his tenure at RTSh, which lasted one year and three months, (January 1972 – April 1973), although since January 1973, he became a ghost director, for the reasons I explained above. His replacement with Thanas Nano reminds us in a certain way, the return after 100 days of Louis XVI, to the royal throne, which was expelled by Napoleon Bonaparte, who, having lost at Waterloo, (June 18, 1815), was captured by the royalists and exiled to the lost island of St. Helena. Thus conservative monarchism returned in France, the new capitalist and liberal bourgeoisie suffered a blow.
Surprisingly, for the replacement of Todi Lubonja with Thanas Nano, Ramiz Alia, did not write a single line, at a time when he had to call that tyrannical action of Enver Hoxha, who rejected the proposals of members of the Political Bureau, including Ramz himself. Alina, who never even thought that a conservative, dogmatic director with limited culture, such as Thanas Nano, would return to RTSh.
Was Todi Lubonja wrong?
In his book; “The back door of the press”, Marash Hayati says: “We had good relations with Todi, but like everywhere, when leaders change, the desire to make changes and new organizations emerges. In this regard, some things were taken as “me yrysh”. Until the apparatus, came lists for numerous replacements and proposals for the removal of those who were called “incompetent”, conservative, without initiative, etc. This somewhat excessive appetite did not find an echo or support from above”! (page 78)
The author of the book does not mention names, but Todi Lubonja saw fit to remove, first, Klimi Misje, the director of VAT, on the grounds that he did not respond to the growing demands of this institution. To be frank, from one point of view he was right. But, the truth is, none of us, not only did not have a degree in the field of TV, (with the exception of the chief engineer, Alfred Xhufka), but we had not even done any specialization abroad, a problem that Todi , had it in mind, as I have mentioned above.
However, as it was said then, the departure of Klimi Misje was accompanied by a hasty motivation. His replacement with the well-known director, Mihal Luarasi, was later described as a serious mistake, because the post of VAT director needed a “political man” and, moreover, a communist. However, it was forgotten that, neither more nor less, in October 1972, that is, a few months ago, Enver Hoxha himself, in his speech held in Mat, had emphasized that; the leaders of the institutions may not have been communists.
So, applying this orientation, Mihal Luarasi, as director, would deal with the artistic development of TV, while political problems, news shows, ideological conversations, would be covered by another deputy director. Where, then, was the harm in this decision, which was taken by Todi Lubonja, all the more approved, surely, also by Ramiz Alia, because it was the Central Committee that decided on every appointment of this level?
Another mistake: As I pointed out above, he did not answer the letters received from the young people, which without the slightest doubt, as Todi Lubonja told me, were requested by the dictator himself. He did not read and discuss them, neither in the party meeting nor in the collectives of RTSh. He did not send at least a self-critical reply to the “Voice of Youth” editorial office, where these letters were published. Yes, even for these, he was not asked to act from the above. And this, because even they themselves did not know what “earthquake” the bloody tyrant would explode.
Thanas Nano, swims in its waters…!
For Thanas Nano, his re-appointment as general director of RTS was undoubtedly the biggest event that he never imagined would happen in his life. And he was quite right to rejoice. He was returning by order of the “Albanian Zeus” himself, who had preferred him before names with personality, everywhere, greater than him.
He would thus bring to life the personal orders of “comrade” Enver. And it must be said that he performed this task very well, because he did not let appear on the screen, even the smallest fact that could arouse suspicion that he did not go with the Party’s line. Even the hairdressers kept scissors ready to cut the hair of any TV co-worker, who might have it a bit long, before he appeared on the screen.
But, let’s say what is to be said, anyone who would be in Thanas Nano’s job, would have no choice but to act otherwise. As a result, in RTSh, every new thing that Todi Lubonja had brought, in that year and a few months that he led this institution, was removed. So, the songs of the 11th Festival, of the European festival of the previous year, and other foreign songs were buried in the archive, the newsrooms of Radio and VAT, which had been united in one, were again divided, etc. . Sports news, received from RAI, was removed from “Revista televisive”.
During the summer of 1972, in order to raise even higher the level of the “Television Magazine” at 20:00, which was weak, with the approval of Todi Lubonja, I recorded from RAI, the daily sports section, which was broadcast at 19:45 and, after I would select those chronicles that presented interest, within half an hour, I would comment on them in front of the cameras in the “TV Magazine”, adding, of course, news from our activities. However, Thanasi did not like this and gave a firm order that this sub-column of the “Television Magazine” be removed an hour ago. And so it was. Why? Because the viewers learned fresh news from sports in the world? What pedantry…?!
Only broadcasts of sports matches, mainly football, received from foreign television stations remained. But even with them, the miracle happened. Except, not Thanas’ fault. These matches, by order from above, began to be broadcast without the noises of the stadiums, that is, without the cheers, or the applause of the spectators, maybe something could be heard… something was wrong. In other words, in the stadium, there seemed to be spectators… dumb.
By order from above, the television broadcasts of RAI were interrupted, for the viewing of which, an antenna had been installed in Malin e Dajti. But, at the same time, a special antenna was built, which allowed the comrades of the leadership to follow these programs, because they were “immunized from their harmful influence, on the masses of the people”.
At a time when there was a lack of funds to build repeaters, or television amplifiers, so that the VAT signal could be seen even in deep areas, this did not happen, when it came to; “…the purchase of some equipment to guarantee rebroadcasts of foreign television programs, in Vlora and Pogradec…! 6 pieces of repeaters, diesel-generator sets, 1 “ARO” car must be purchased, in total, 77 thousand USD, or 23 thousand rubles, or 282 thousand lek currency”. (From the letter of the General Directorate of RTS, addressed to the State Plan Commission, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Trade, (File 29, RTS Fund, A.Q.SH., dated 24.7.1979).
Thousands and thousands of dollars were thus spent, so that Enver Hoxha, when he rested in the above cities, could follow RAI’s programs as best as possible. Also, an order was given to remove from the roofs of buildings or houses in every city of Albania the antennas used to watch foreign television stations, the only window to see a bit of the world, from which the dictator was separating us… ! Memorie.al
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