By Filip Guraziu
The ninth part
Continues from last issue
Back from the dead, to witness me…!
Memorie.al / Rightfully so, the title of this article may seem fantasy to the reader, but I hope that after reading and getting to know the testimony of the life of Mr. Gjek Beqi, he has changed his mind! Gjek Beqi, the son of Marash Beqi’s family, grew up under the violence of the immoral class war, as the son of a kulak and the grandson of two great-grandfathers: Find Mark Beqi, we killed them in an attempt to escape, you crossed the Buna river, on October 7, 1954 and Nikë Zef Beqit died in Burrel prison, after two years as a special investigator, in 1965 (while serving a 12-year sentence for agitation and propaganda).
The young age, the energy, the enthusiasm and the desire to progress in life, despite the violence of the dictatorship, gave Gjek Beqi strength to face the difficulties, and successfully completed secondary education; he received his high school diploma, in 1976, at the school “Jordan Misja”, Shkodër.
Like everyone, the high school graduates of that time, along with their classmates, were sent to the field to carry out the “production internship” at the Fierza hydropower plant.
There, life flowed smoothly, good relations with schoolmates were satisfying, youthful enthusiasm did not consider the difficulties of daily work, but…but, “the watchful eye of the State Security did not sleep”, but followed step by step “class enemy”, 19-year-old Gjek Beqi.
One day, the chief of staff, comrade Hilmi Sheboja, calls him to the office and informs him of his departure from the “student internship”, because the People’s Council of the village, of Velipoja, wanted him…?
(This was the consequence of the political information that the party organization of the People’s Council of Velipoja had brought to the chief of staff in Fierza, classifying the 19-year-old young man, Gjek Beqin, as a declassified element, that is, a member of the enemy stratum, of people’s power!)
The fact that, the writer of these lines has experienced the discriminatory experience in him enables him to understand better, than anyone else, the difficult spiritual condition that the young man, Gjek Beqi, experienced after being excluded from the “internship” and public discrimination!
“The truth was, – says Gjek Beqi today, – that, that, the situation was friendlier and at the same time insulting, in front of my school friends…”!
“After that day, – he continues, – my mind envisioned two ways for a solution; escape from Albania, or return to the village, as a worker in the cooperative. Escaping was a pleasant personal solution, but at the expense of the family, which would bear the heavy weight of the ‘class war’, exile humiliation…etc., for our life! Love for the family won over my uni, under these conditions I returned to the village”.
The years passed, life created the opportunity to live in Berat, where Gjeka gets married, and begins married life, in a shack. The difficult economic conditions he was going through, the fear of political repression, sometimes brought to mind the possibility of living in the “free world”, where there would be no more “class war”.
One day, in 1987, he decided to “visit” his cousin, a relative, in Vermosh, with a residential position close to the border line with Yugoslavia. After he arrived and received (fortunately) the “border permit” from the Internal Branch of Berat, he left for Vermosh, and went to his cousin’s house, who received him very lovingly, they told him: that, according to the regulation of border areas, were obliged to present themselves at the Border Post Office, together with the permit for registration.
When the commander of the post, Ndue Prendi, read the permit presented to him by Gjeka, he addressed him quickly, with these words: “Marash Beqi’s son, is that you? Who gave you the permit? Yes, how can this be…? He continued, turning to his cousin: “For every day of stay at your house, Gjek Beqi, you must report to the post office, twice a day; morning and evening, did you understand”?!
“They told me the truth,” declares Gjek Beqi, “I was terrorized by this conversation, which made me understand the possibility of guarding my cousin’s house with soldiers, while I was staying in Vermosh.” The situation got complicated…, I also got my cousin into political trouble; I decided…, I gave up this turn from the escape, but not from the thought…!
On May 8, 1990, the People’s Assembly, under the pressure of the Secretary General of the UN, Perez de Cuellar, liberalized the law on escape, no longer considering it as “national treason”, but only as “illegal border crossing”, with consequence, light punishment.
This new legal situation no longer provided for punishment measures for the fugitive’s family, which is very important for the one who took the initiative of crossing the state border illegally. In these circumstances, in agreement with his 25-year-old brother, Vat Beqi, they decide to escape to the “Free World”.
They lived in the village of Velipoja, where the easiest border crossing was in the direction of the Buna River, but that area was extremely controlled by the border guards, so they did not consider this option, but preferred the more difficult route, via the sea which according to them was less controllable, therefore successful.
On May 18, 1990, at 10:30 p.m., at the mouth of the Vilun swamp, in the sea, two brothers, Gjek and Vat Beqi, set off swimming towards the depths of the Adriatic Sea.
They also had an able butler with them, for help in case of fatigue. They swam vertically with the shore, as they thought, up to 3 km away!
At that distance, they thought that the searchlight of the border observation point could not distinguish them, so they took a horizontal direction with the coast, swam to the right. The objective was to cross the mouth of the Buna River and stop at the island of Ada (then Yugoslavian territory, today Montenegro).
While they were swimming, the border searchlights were released several times; illuminating our area, but the two brothers had hope and faith that the border watchers would not recognize them due to the fact that they were swimming at a great distance from the shore. . Unfortunately for them, it didn’t happen that way!
The soldier of the observation post in Pulaj, Artan Derimi, had spotted them and immediately notified the border unit, which quickly set off in their direction with the border skiff.
As soon as the border skiff had approached, at a distance of about 60 meters, the commander of the Border Post, Bino Binaj, had fired a machine gun from the skiff without warning, in their direction.
As a result, Gjek Beqi was seriously injured in the head and unable to swim, he started to sink under the water, but his brother, Vat Beqi, held him and at the same time, addressed those who shot from the boat: “Why are you killing us? …, we are from Velipoje”!
Commander Bino Binaj’s answer was:
-“Keep that carrion; don’t lose it in the sea, because I will kill you on the shore”!
Vat Beqi put his wounded brother in the cabin and, pulled from the boat, approached the shore, but as soon as they came out, Bino Binaj shot several times in his direction, killing Vata, and then he approached Gjek Beqi, who mortally wounded and ordered the soldier Hysni Syla, from Kuksi: “Put a bullet in the head, don’t let him squirm”!
But the soldier replied: “I don’t have to kill him, because he is captured now”!
Dissatisfied with the answer, Commander Bino Binaj approached the wounded Gjeka, and killed him himself, but the boatman, Bashkim Musta, intervened:
– “Don’t be a commander, I know them, they are brothers, leave it at that, maybe he will escape, why are you killing him”?!
Enveristi Bino Binaj, did you understand that Gjek Beq was shot in the head (jaw), and practically he was almost dead, he was arrested in the third crime of that night…!
In the hospital of Shkodra, Gjek Beqi (half dead) received maximum care from doctors, Mark Mirashi, Ferid Hoti and Ali Spahija and thanks to God, he survived. After a month, even though Gjeka was still, with his jaw blocked, from the plaster, he was taken out of the hospital and sent to detention.
The biggest difficulty was taking the food, because his mouth was blocked, but the professional intervention of the dentist, Abdullah Bilali, helped him. He gave him an “orthopedic compass” and instructed him how to use it, holding it in his mouth, which eventually proved successful.
The tragedy of the honorable Kelmenda family of Gjek Marash Beqi is part of the national tragedy of honest Albanians, who suffered from the dictatorial, Enverist system, precisely because they were honest!
The honest man believes! Honest Albanians believed the deceptive communist promises; during the Second World War they helped, supported and even sacrificed their lives in the National Liberation War against the invaders, with full faith (as promised) that a free Albania would be a democratic system, but it turned out quite differently; the communist dictatorship mercilessly persecuted the Albanians, who were subjected to the most brutal violence from the communist countries of Eastern Europe.
The next fraud was the liberalization of the law for the crime of crossing the border illegally. The honest Albanians believed that law and, driven by extreme poverty, took the dangerous path of crossing the border, but the communist treachery acted mercilessly on them; during the period from May to December 1990, 56 Albanians were killed and massacred in the attempt to cross the border, among them a family with a 9-year-old child!
According to the lawsuit of Marash Beqi’s family, in 1996, judge Admir Thanza found guilty (in absentia) the murderous commander, Bino Binaj, with the sentence: “Life imprisonment”.
In the judicial process, the border soldiers testified, who experienced and witnessed that macabre event; Hysen Sula, Bashkim Musta and Hysen Allkanjari.
The criminal Bino Binaj lost his tracks in Italy. The Italian Interpol tracked him down and caught him as a “wanted person”, but he did not arrive and was extradited to Albania, because the corrupt Albanian judiciary sabotaged his extradition, “protecting” the Enverist criminal. , Bino Binaj!
In 1995, members of the Beqi family; Gjeto Mark Beqi, Nikë Zef Beqi and Vat Marash Beqi were announced by President Berisha, “Martyrs of Democracy”, as innocent victims of communist violence. Memorie.al
(Note: The data for the above article were obtained according to the testimony of the protagonist of the event, Mr. Gjek Beqi).