By Father Zef Pllumi
Memorie.al / I see that Paulini was being taken down the stairs. That two-meter-long body was a double stoop. He was barely humming. They didn’t tie him there in the hammock, but they took him out into the yard, somewhere near the wall, on his leg, they threw a blanket over his head like everyone else, so that he wouldn’t be seen by friends. The guard, with a machine gun in his hand, was walking around the yard. Then the guards changed, handing over to one another in the presence of the captors, the human inventory: five on foot, six with palms, and another tied to the wall, ladder or drum. They shook me too, in that peach. After the noise caused by the changing of the guards, there was a ringing silence, where the muffled sighs could be heard.
I can’t say an hour, because I was in the state I was in, I had lost the notion of measuring time, I’m not sure if I count it in centuries or kilometers or miles, but after all the time, I felt a rush it drives him crazy: Stop! Stop! And one more automatic volley. At that moment, a veritable storm of various noises began. From all sides of the building and the courtyard, people came with guns and lanterns. Brima, shame and humiliation.
Order. I was hanging there on the peach tree, in that position where the majority of the scene unfolded behind me. The ones I had before were sitting, as I said. I didn’t quite understand what was being said, about death or injury to the leg! With what I saw in the ground, because there was no electric light, without a kerosene lantern, they took a man by the legs and arms and sent him to I don’t know where.
Then they killed all those who were standing upright, covering them with blankets. Some went up, some down. It was the turn of those 4-5 people, who were sitting in front of me, one by one they disappeared. I was left alone for a few minutes, I depended on them. But they took me and put me in a room, down there, where six of us could be, palm to palm under the blanket. The room had no windows. A kerosene lantern there was so much smoke that I almost lost my breath: regardless of the pain, as I depended on it, I almost died out there, in the shingle. Everyone was lying on their backs and covered with cloth blankets, except for me, who was ordered to sit on the leg. Indeed, even those on the ground were very tight. After a while, the captain came and sent me back to the investigator, to that senior officer.
He was enraged by the operation he had conducted a few minutes before. Blow against me with your feet, fists, dances and insults: “None of you bastards will remain alive”! – Then he called the captain. He took me down the stairs. When we arrived in the room we were in, he sent those people away with sitting like sacks, around the room; with a key he opened a padlock: it was a wooden trapdoor.
He took the lid off and just like that, he threw me inside. It was a high basement, as tall as a man’s legs. Totally awesome. When he closed the cage, I was like hell, I touched my front hands. It wasn’t that big. It seemed to me that somewhere I ran into a car tire, something like that. Then I ran into a sack.
There was a man and he spoke to me: – “Who are you”? – “I am un fra Zef Pllumi” – I answered. – “And you, since when are you here”? – “I am N.N. They tried me in vain, all in vain. There is another man with my name in Mirdita, but he escaped to the mountains and it is said that he killed X partisan officer. Because we have the same mother, they caught me for it. I’ve been here underground for over two weeks. The thing is, we have the same mother, but we are not in the same village. While they say that “all the mirditors are called by three names, and that’s how you think you’re going to throw it at us”!
I sat there on the blankets he had. He told me that he was full of lice. The hatch was opened only once a day, to give the ration of bread and, often, a bowl of water. For necessity, they had told him: “Do it there”. He told me that there was one like a car tire and that he was sitting on it. I didn’t know what day it was, because he was there, he never saw light with his eyes, he didn’t know when one day ends and another begins. He told me that he was arrested in the month of August that he had spent three months of the most terrible torture there. He told me that, after they had tortured him for many days, they connected the current between his ears, then that investigator connected the wires to his lower body organs as well.
And when they brought the crank, he had tried those strange stabs, which made him jump up and hit the ground; he raised his hands, spoke to me and said: “Oh, men, now that dit, that you put these wires to the test at the top. And what do you think, that when you don’t know the top, you know the b…”?! Since then, they had left him alone from other tortures, but they had thrown him alive into that stinking grave, where he lived now.
He thought that it had been two weeks now, and you reckoned with bread that they had thrown him there with 15 November, and so it belonged to him to be there, for more than a month. He was speechless and did not rest. I was sleepy and I asked him to forgive me. He, with the greatest kindness, gave me a horn. The room or the grave, it was very warm. I slept. Where we were, I slept well. I had lost the notion of time, so I can say that I slept for a long time, but even in my sleep, I felt the pain of my crushed body, from hanging and being beaten.
When they came and taught me, I was at the height of the talks with that bumpkin, so intellectual and practical. I had learned from him, coolness even in incredible suffering. Life separated us forever, but my memory remains indelible. That tall and handsome officer was very concerned about the mistake of the captains, who had to rest me in that grave of X.
He had lost his patience and, after some boxing exercises on my body, opened the notebook or “documents” as he called them, for an absurd accusation. He told me that the Catholic Clergy was the most obscurantists of the centuries and had burned alive Galileo Galilei and Giordano Bruno. I was asked to account for the crusades and the inquisition!
I answered that I was neither Pier L’Eremite nor Torquemada, nor did I have anything to do with them, I was for love with all people, I was an unworthy son of Francis who has the motto Pax et bonum. There is a fatal error. I wonder how we got angry:
– “I want the enemy?! Yes, this is the greatest diversion of the ages. Do you think the proletariat eats this hog-wash?! We have the class war, which will fix humanity and bring justice to people, not your lies”. Then he took out a notepad, medium format, from the drawer.
– “Do you know this?”
– “I know. It’s a kind of diary that I keep.”
– “What have you written or tarred here”?!
– “Some thoughts of mine”.
– ” Thoughts”?!
What are you missing? You are the epitome of bourgeois reaction. And we will cut off the head of the bourgeoisie. We will cut you off too. Here’s what you wrote”…And after reading it, he said angrily: – “Why do you consider us German? We are blacker than the fascists, so you say?! Speak”! – “I wrote this, when 10 men from my uncles’ family were shot, just for retaliation: I don’t think it’s right that 10 should be shot for one”!
– “Do you regret that that one was Baba Rexha?! Do you know who Baba Rexha was?! – “Whoever it was, Albanian customs wash men, blood for blood, and we don’t need to act according to the laws of war, which the Germans had imposed. This was not logical.” – “You will teach us logic?! You…you”?! – And he did not hold back, but acted according to partisan logic. When he got tired of beating me, he called the captor and ordered him to hang me on the gallows.
The yard was back in action. While they were hanging me, I wondered if I was looking at those blood stains. I never saw Paulini. Not even that man, tied to the short-tailed trunk. Day and night were very cold. A thin thread, it took my soul. But other tortures start inside me: the thoughts. All kinds of thoughts, one blacker than the other.
That man down there in the grave, he told me: “In the dungeons of Lezha, I spent a month with a friar, who started our prayers and the rosary: what a good man he was, he taught us and advised us. But after some time that they brought me here in Shkodër, I realized that I didn’t see the military uniform and when I looked at it with surprise, it disappeared from me”!
I had no doubts about the mountaineer’s story; it was correct, but my mind was tired, myself: who could they have?! Do you think it could be someone from my friends?! Which one?! We were sure about one that it was Judas, but we had doubts about others as well. We had not only doubts, but also facts, maybe for more than one. Endless thoughts. Do you think any officer or non-commissioned officer could have played the part of the friar?!
Problem with many unknowns, but which bothered me so much. Where were all those professors, my superiors, that I don’t see any of them? Or maybe it was one of them, to tie palms here in front of me and cover ourselves with blankets…?! Even though the body was completely numb, surprisingly, the brain continued its actions, okay or not? Who knows…?!
At an appointed moment, I felt the polished boots of the officer (Nesti K.) going up the entrance stairs. My body began to tremble, in a strange way, a fear tremor. After the shooting of the boots, would come the torture with electricity. Normally, it was quite impossible to hear the ascents and descents of those stairs, which were at the main entrance of the house: they were too far away.
Then, if that was the case, why they were not heard when they entered and robbed other officers and prisoners, but only those of the beautiful officer. He came to me and said: “Are your teeth chattering? You will die there”! A little later, I was not surprised at all, when the captain came, he took me from the peach and accompanied me upstairs to the office. The tremors continued. Those polished boots.
“Mother’s milk! We don’t get tired, we are near the fire, and we don’t tremble like you. It is better to speak, because you will suffer less. There are no men here, whom we do not humble. Here we are, by all means. Speak”! While he was talking, I imagined the writing in the WC “Un Dom Vlash Muçaj, today on July 22…”, the meeting up there in the office, when Father Pali told me: “Give it up, I’m the boss”, the tall Paulini…, Guljemi on the shelf…, that mirditori in the grave…! Oh God, save me!
What I had the most, I remember: the old telephone. The tremors that had started an hour ago in the yard, turned into other, unbearable, terrible pains. Oh God, why did you let go of my hands?! Millions of needles…! Crash on the floor. Collision. Then I couldn’t resist any longer. I raised my hands and folded them up, as if I wanted to speak. The wires are removed from my ears, you laugh at me with a gas of disgust. They let me rest a little, then: “Speak”!
– “Look, – I said – you write what you want and I signed…”! – “We know,” he said, “that you will sign, like all the others, or leave my soul.” But show us here the connections you have”! – “But what are the connections, when I have no connection with anyone”? – “Don’t pretend to be credulous. Those reactionaries, who are among the mountains with rifles in hand, who directs them? You, you Catholic Clergy”. – “Yes, I am not Catholic Clergy, but one of their birds”.
– “A very dangerous bird that gives orders to kill our people. Here is the document, here is the letter written by your hand, you stinking fascist. Listen”! And he read: “For your treasonous actions, you served the enemies of the religion and the Motherland, the reward is this: Bullet.” This letter was found on the corpse of one of our men, killed by the reaction, with your seal. What do you say?! – “This does not require great knowledge – I told him – It is enough to compare my writings that you have here, with this writing, letter for letter. Please come and see him, he confronted the letters”.
– “Man writes as he likes. – No, it’s not right”. Down in the street, a whistle signal was heard. The handsome officer went to the window. He opened the window and said: “Wait, I’m here”! I understood that a girl was calling him. “Oh my love – I told you – only you, you should rule the world. Only you can tame the wild animals”! The handsome officer closed the hearing. They sent me back to that peach, which was waiting for me or someone else. It hangs there, the thoughts begin. I don’t feel so much, the fear caused by the ropes under the eyebrows. Oh my God! This is how you created the world…?! Do you love violence…?! Do you love violence”?! Yes, all human history is violence, you know!
What does that girl want there, with this sadistic criminal? How can an Albanian woman fall in love with an animal, with a savage, with a wolf, who is only thirsty for blood…?! No, she is not human, she cannot be a mother. Mom! Nana symbol of love! That woman is a bitch, a black bitch and a bitch for human blood…! No, every Albanian woman, who wants to add to this anti-human race, deserves to disappear. This is not love; it is just a dirty instinct. And this instinct, which aims to perpetuate sadistic crime, has no right to exist in human society.
That Albanian woman is so vile, that in these moments, we don’t talk about moments, but about a fatal critical period, unimaginable in history, a black period with tears and, mother’s glasses, with tears and, children’s oil, with tortures inhuman for men, for people, for society, for the nation, for these women to caress these human monsters, to love them, to add their seed?! No, no, this is the biggest crime. They should boycott this crime. This is the only way to end evil on earth. They should be aware of the great damage they are doing to human society and the Albanian nation.
Add this weed; they are even more criminal than the criminals themselves. They must disappear: they degrade the society of the nation because of their own animal instincts. They should not have mercy, no. The real Albanian women, we know from history, jumped off the cliff, in order not to fulfill the evil wishes of the enemy…! They are heroic example. While these…?! These…! What if these were to happen as I think, what would happen? The Albanian people would disappear: the good ones are exterminating them; the bad ones were exterminated by me. What is left? The monastery.
Death. Death with honor! And who knows how others will judge him. Death is death: annihilation, the height of evil, is nothingness. As life is life, there is good and bad. There is hope: she points to the good with her pointing finger. Our canon: “From the bad leave the good and from the good leave the bad”. The good and the bad. Old philosophy, old faith. That old man was not a fool as we think, he was a true philosopher. God is to blame. God before matter, before us, created Angels: soul without matter. He created their souls good and half of them became evil.
So before the mater here is the good and the bad. Even after the creation of matter, God, as a true democrat, allowed good and bad: he allowed freedom. Is freedom good or bad? Good and bad. And His Son preached: “Do not pluck the bitter herbs until the harvest comes. When the harvest comes, throw the herbs and spices into the fire and the grunt into the barn.” The barn of humanity. Yes, the barn of humanity that of history unfortunately has more bad than good. People, you are on the wrong path. He precisely cultivates all living animals and garden plants, cultivating only selected breeds. It cultivates the fruits of fields and trees, all selected breeds, not only beautiful, but fruitful.
Breeds breeds of horses, cows, and sheep. Even pigs. But it does not cultivate itself. The human race must be cultivated. Selection is a necessary task in order to save humanity; all fools, idiots and weaklings don’t know what else to do, but to increase stupidity, idiocy. Humanity will become a hangman of handicaps, which will eat intelligent people alive. Pharaoh’s seven evil cows, devouring the fat cows. Therefore, all the idiots, the weak and the vile must be neutralized. To cultivate the race of the yoke. Hitler is right: “Clean the earth from evil, clean it with fire”, killed millions.
Yes, he killed thousands of Jews and others. But who informed them that they are these?! The Jews say that they are the best: the people choose them. They say they are better than the Germans. Yes, everyone says that self is the best in the world, even us Albanians. Maybe even the Jews say it. Who has this right to decide who is good and who is bad?!
– O our Canon of the mountains, you are the wisest of the world: “Out of the good comes the bad and out of the bad comes the good”. Let this evil race also be added, because their sons will devour them. Yes, do they have to have their sons? The revolution is a carnivore that eats its own children…! Here too, that will happen. Their sons, at least their grandsons, will punish them. Generations, years pass. Life goes on. Against every enemy, life continues its cycle, for better or for worse…!
The body hangs there in the peach tree; it was completely numb, ice, wood. Only the brain had life, vitality, and even thought about reforming humanity. I was no longer in this world. The guard came and untied me from the peach. I could barely move my legs. When I arrived at the WC, I didn’t know what to do; my eyes were fixed on the wall, where it was written: “Un Dom Vlash Muçaj, here on July 22, I drank my urine, so I wouldn’t be thirsty”. Life does its best, to live. I said to him: “Why”? The guard howled furiously:
– “Hey, you there, what are you doing? Quick! I’m not menstruating anymore, neither fast or slow. He came and grabbed my arm. It seemed to him that I was resisting him. If I had the strength to resist, even there they are hanging on the peach tree, I must live. Why”?! /Memorie.al