By Reshat Kripa
The seventh part
– “People who have never known dictatorship and tyranny find it easy to give in to the rhetoric about freedom, forgetting the simple and terrible reality of willful oppression where it always exists”.
Giovani Sartori: “Once again for the theory of democracy”.
Memorie.al/ Robert Krasta, had made it a habit that on every anniversary of his parents, he would go to the cemetery and place a bunch of flowers on their grave. He would look at the picture stamped on the porcelain and start a conversation with them. He had been doing this habit for a long time. The conversation seemed to soothe his soul. He told them about everything that had happened in the family. Sometimes, when he found difficulty in something, he asked them for help, and it seemed to him that they answered him. Perhaps this could be some guess of his own, yet he believed it.
Continues from the previous issue
He did not answer her, but slammed the gate on the mug. He waited until his eyes opened and began to walk around the cell, thinking. Thoughts are the only wealth a person has in such cases. The brain, imprisoned and as if master, had nothing else left but to think. Thoughts were exchanged with each other. They started from the cell, continued to the family and ended at the work center. They went where they were going and met at a point, where the hammer was beating. Who would be the end? Reason did not accept punishment, but would justice prevail? He was not able to answer this question. What justice? He still tried to convince himself that there is still hope, even though the disappointment was crushing him inside.
He looked at the walls. With difficulty, he distinguished different writings. He read some names of people. They probably belonged to those who had been there before. There were many painful sighs, but also some written by people who had not been defeated by the cell. In them, their faith in the future stood out.
Was it really the end? He sat down on one of the sofas, put his head between his hands, and even he did not know where his mind was flying. She had escaped. But it was soon mentioned
– Keep it man! – He said to himself. – So quickly did you let yourself down so low? It takes courage. It takes composure. He had no idea how much time had passed when the gate opened again. The guard brought a clay bowl with a liquid, which he did not know what it was, an aluminum spoon and a small piece of black bread.
– Be careful, don’t break the bowl! – said the guard.
– I want to meet the mayor!
The gate closed again without an answer.
– Who do I turn to for such a thing! – said Agroni. – This is the horse’s tail. When the investigator calls me, I will ask for a meeting.
He took the bowl and smelled it. He smelled boiled onions. He filled the spoon and put it in his mouth. He felt disgust. Pieces of onion and a few grains of rice mixed with water and plenty of salt. This was what the bowl contained. He thought of spilling it, but he didn’t know where. He left it in a corner of the cell. He started moving again. When he felt himself tired, he sat on the couch and leaned against the wall.
– Why are they not calling me?
This thought was going around in his head. Partly from fatigue, partly from weakness, he fell asleep. The gate opened and outside he saw Irida calling out crying:
– Dad, helps us! Don’t leave me daddy!
A guard was dragging him away. Suddenly the guard turned into a terrible monster who, laughing in a sarcastic voice, said:
– We have a great lunch today!
– Don’t be a criminal! Let go! – Cried Agroni, but he could not move. He was bound with heavy handcuffs. He opened his eyes quite shocked. He saw nothing but the darkness of the cell. What happened to Irida? Did the monster kidnap him? He remembered that he had dreamed. He felt fear. He started shaking. Maybe from the dream or maybe from the coldness of the cell. He had just woken up like that, sitting on that concrete couch and leaning against the wall. He felt that his bowels were dancing. He was hungry. He picked up the bowl again and poured another spoonful. I felt like mixing them. He wanted to vomit. He left the bowl, picked up the piece of bread and began to bite it slowly. When he finished, he felt relieved.
Once he felt like urinating. He didn’t know when he would be allowed to go to the bathroom. He didn’t even know if it was day or night. There was a perpetual darkness. In the dark, one loses track of time. It cannot determine how much time has passed. To Agron, it seemed as if a century had passed. The urine was squeezing him excessively. He couldn’t take it anymore. He knocked hard on the door. No answer. Knock a second time. The gate opened and the guard appeared.
– What do you want? – he said in a harsh voice.
– I want to urinate. Spend it in need!
– Do it where you are. There is a schedule for that job.
The gate closed again…!
Agron knocked harder. The gate opened and the guard spoke in a menacing tone:
– Will I tie it to the wall with bars?
Agron saw the walls carefully. In the one opposite the gate, he saw four ganja stuck in it.
– Surely they serve to crucify the man, – he said to himself.
He looked at them more carefully. Two were above and the other two below. For sure, the hands were tied in the upper ones, and the feet in the lower ones. In some films with subjects from the medieval era, he had seen such torture chambers. They tied up opponents and shot them with whips. Wouldn’t they do the same to him?
However, the urine had squeezed him too much. A few drops fell on his pants. He was forced to go to the corner of the cell and piss. He felt himself more relieved. He went and sat down again on the usual sofa. Suddenly a blinding light flashed in the cell. Agron covered his eyes with his hands. He couldn’t see all that light.
He slowly opened a finger, but the blinding light forced him to close it. He no longer dared to open his fingers to see. Tried again, but almost blinded him again. He stood like that with his hands in front of his eyes, after a long time passed, he tried again. The light seemed to be on, never to be extinguished. He felt some heat coming from above.
– It must be some powerful searchlight above my head, – he thought.
How long he stayed that way, even he did not understand. When he finally opened his fingers, he saw that the light had gone out. You seemed to feel some relaxation.
– Better in the dark than in the light. – he said to himself.
Strange this judgment of his. He, the man who had worked all his life to give light to others, now sought darkness. She was his salvation, it was his peace. It had never occurred to him that he, the man of light, would become a friend of darkness. He looked up at the ceiling. There he noticed a searchlight, which he had not noticed before.
The gate opened and the guard brought the bowl of food and bread. As he took what he had brought before, he left. Agron took the bowl and began to look at what was inside. He filled the spoon and tasted it. It tastes like beans to you. It wasn’t as disgusting as the first one; it even tasted kind of delicious. He started to eat slowly, until he finished it all. After a while he started to cry. Sobbing overcame him.
How did he manage to eat that food that even dogs wouldn’t like? Her salt gave her a great thirst. He knocked on the gate, but at that moment the spotlight came on again. He closed his eyes with his hands and sat on the sofa. He didn’t know what to do. On one side the blinding light and on the other the terrible thirst. The two most medieval tortures he was still trying before the investigation began. So it went on and even he didn’t know how long. The spotlight turned on and off, dishes with a lot of salt and unbearable thirst, the need to urinate and urinate in the cell, sleeping almost standing up and the cold behind it. These were the initial tortures that Agron experienced in those days.
Stefan went to work as usual. He was getting ready to leave for service, in a sector where a high voltage line was erected, when Ylli, a friend of his, arrived.
– They have arrested Agron, – he said in a low and trembling voice.
– I told you, they arrested Agron. He was arrested last night.
– Why are they accusing him?
– Enemy of the people
The news hit Stefani like a bolt of lightning even though he was expecting it. The long-in-the-making scenario was coming to fruition. In this scenario, he had his role and sooner or later, he would appear on stage. It was necessary to talk to Gjergji as soon as possible. He was also part of this scenario. He returned to the office and called the construction site where he worked. They told him it wasn’t there. How to do it? He didn’t even know. After weighing it well, he decided to go to work. He didn’t have to show signs of being shocked by such news. Then in the afternoon, he would find a way and talk to Gjergji.
The day seemed very long. It wasn’t over. Different thoughts were floating around. How would Agron stand in the investigator? Would it hold up, or would it fall apart? After all, what could he say? They had never discussed anything that could compromise them. He had no need to be afraid. When he had done nothing, why should I be afraid?
However, Agron had not done anything, however he was arrested. On what basis was such a thing done? Could the man be arrested without doing anything? This was absurd. Yet it was true. It had already happened. Why shouldn’t it happen to him too? They lived in the time of the absurd. These thoughts raced through his twisted mind.
With these thoughts in my head, the working day ended. He returned to the room. George had not yet arrived. He could not stay in one place. He went outside and went to a cafe where the two usually hung out together. George wasn’t even there.
“Didn’t they arrest him too”? He thought for a moment.
He looked around and it seemed to him that everyone was watching him. In the face of anyone passing by, he would see a state security guard ready to step in and arrest him. Finally he saw Gjergji with a group of friends.
– George, where were you? I’ve been looking for you for a long time.
– What is that question? Here I am again and it did.
– Let’s go to the room, I have something to tell you.
Gjergji parted ways with his friends and they both left.
– They arrested Agron.
– The usual, enemy of the people
– Why are you so alarmed?
– How could I not be, wasn’t he our closest friend?
– And then? We have not discussed anything that could implicate us. I don’t know why they accused him, but it probably has nothing to do with us.
George’s naivety was quite evident. Stefani understood this, but he did not want to point out that it was not the moment. Meanwhile, they had arrived in their room.
– Listen George! – he said. – The work is not so simple. Today there are many cases when innocent people pay for others. We also need to prepare for this. You know the accusations that have been made against us. Agroni himself told us about these. Did you forget how many times they called him before they arrested him? Now it depends on him how he will react.
These words made Gjergji think. His naivety was beginning to waver. The worm of doubt had begun to take hold of his conscience. He began to feel the fear of quick arrest. Shouldn’t he have to pay for his grandfather who ran away thirty years ago and is no longer alive?
– What should we do? What do you think? Shall we write to Nardi?
Nardi was their cousin who had helped them continue their higher education.
– No, we cannot make it more difficult. Then he is no longer in the position he was, and for that, we are the culprits. Supporting us cost him the loss of the country he had.
– We have to think of another solution.
– What solution?
– Try to escape? We have a high voltage sector at Tri Urat. We go there ostensibly to check the lines and look for the possibility of escape. From there the border is very close.
– Don’t even think about it. I have two parents who are approaching old age and who are waiting, just from my arms. The mother has never worked, while the father receives a minimal pension, which is by no means enough to live on. You know, I’m their only child. Can I leave them as they are?
Stefan was right. Such a thing was impossible to accomplish. Another solution had to be found.
– We have to go to Lumtua.
– Doesn’t such an action burden us more?
– It is in our honor to do this action. We have been his best friends. You forgot, we were the only guests at the girl’s birthday. She needs our support. We have to give it to him. Go out wherever you go. No matter what we do now, we cannot stop what will happen.
– You’re right, let’s go.
It was dark. It was almost nine o’clock in the evening. They left and arrived at Agron’s house, at the time a young couple they didn’t know was coming out. He was so happy when he saw them that he started to cry. Mother Gjyla stood like a shell in a corner, while Irida shed tears like the flow of a river.
– What do you do like this? After all, prison for men is.
– It’s for men, my son, – said mother Gjyla, – but why should fate punish only us? It wasn’t enough that he took away the pillar of the house, but he will continue to take away others. Until when?
– No, nono! This world is built like this. Strong is the one who knows how to face it.
Stefan’s words seemed to calm their hearts. The tears stopped and they began to discuss.
– I have wandered a lot these two days, – said mother Gjyla – I asked to meet some that I called family friends. I didn’t want to ask them for mercy. I just wanted to know the reason for the arrest. But they did not deign to wait for me. They slammed the gate in my face, as if I were a countryman and not the wife of an honorable man who gave his life for this country. Yes, yes my husband gave his life for this country. I didn’t like that; Irida sat and listened to the conversation that was going on. Traces of tears could be seen on her beautiful face. She was no longer crying, but Stefan noticed a deep pain in her soul.
– Irida, comes to uncle!
She came closer, hugged her tightly like she would have hugged her father and started to cry again.
– You cried enough to ruin your beauty. You have a strong uncle. Now you are an adult. Look how well mom and dad are doing. Be a man.
– You are right, uncle, – said the little girl, wiping her tears. – I will also be an example for the mother and the mother.
Then, addressing them, he said:
– Mother, mother, don’t cry! The three of us will know how to face this situation.
He kissed his grandmother and then hugged his mother.
– Mother’s bravery – said Lumtua
– Goodbye daughter! You inherited your own character – continued mother Gjylua.
– Did you go to school? – asked Gjergji.
– Not today, but tomorrow I will go. I will learn even more about breaking the noses of those who have grown a little too much.
– Happy, happy! – Stefani caressed him
They continued like this until close to midnight. When they got up to leave, Lumtua escorted them to the gate.
– Who was that couple we saw coming out when we arrived? Stefan asked.
– There are two teachers of our school. They supposedly came to give me courage, but I don’t trust them. I trust them as much as the snake in the bosom.
– Be happy, protect yourself from provocateurs. Don’t be surprised when you hear that fate awaits us too. We are waiting for it.
– I do not believe.
– One day to celebrate, we have behind us.
They parted in silence. Everyone thought about the future that awaited them. Memorie.al