By Petraq Xhaçka
Memorie.al/ The purpose of this book are 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
Not even two more weeks could pass, when one day the director of the prison recommended us to put some order in the room, because we would have important visitors there. We cleaned the room, washed and shaved our beards, when the visitors came to the door. The director of the prison had given way to some people, who, from their appearance, we immediately recognized as foreigners.
We invited the guests to sit on the chairs we had in the room. The group consisted of five people, among whom one was a woman. They greeted us with respect and introduced themselves as a delegation of the Helsinki World Human Rights Forum, headed by the Secretary General of this forum. He himself also introduced all the other members.
Among them was the director of the US Human Rights Forum, Mr. Kenneth Roth. They told us that they wanted to hear complaints about the falsity of our process, and asked us in which language it was easiest for us to communicate with them. I preferred Russian, while Enrikoja preferred English. So Kenneth Roth stood apart from the group and had a conversation with Enrico, while the other four gathered around me.
Both Enrikoja and I were surprised when we saw that they had asked us and told them our problems, in a long meeting of nearly four hours! From the submissions of our facts, they were fully convinced of our innocence. I told them at the end of the conversation that we were not necessarily seeking our immediate release.
– We demand, – I told them, – to redo the free trial, open in your presence, on television, where we were sure that we would reject without difficulty, all the falsity of the judicial process and we would dismantle the whole scenario, constructed artificially. If in all these serious accusations, there will be even a hair of truth, let us stay in prison.
But in the opposite case, we will demand that those who tortured us and persecuted our families be held accountable and put in prison. Some members of the delegation, listening to our stories, had tears in their eyes; it seemed that they were sensitive natures, honest people, and deep connoisseurs of the human spirit.
At the end of the conversation, before they left, I informed Mr. Kenneth Roth that both of my children had been able to immigrate to America for about two months and had sought political asylum here. He accepted my plea to convey my prayers to Hilda and Genci that their father was safe and sound and quite happy that they had gone to the United States. He was delighted at this fact and expressed his desire to take a couple of pictures of me and one of us together with Mr. Roth, so that he could give them to the children and show them that he had met me.
Mr. Kenneth Roth, as a worthy representative of the most democratic and powerful country in the world, kept his promise. He had bonded with my children and helped them quite a bit. Not only that, but before he left for America, after asking me where he could find my wife, he found the address of his sister-in-law in Tirana, where Zhaneta lived for the last few months, he went and met her. This was an unexpected meeting and through the translator, I had a long talk with Zhan about the persecution they had done to my family during the five-year prison period.
We, as a family, are very grateful to this American personality, for all the powerful contribution he gave to my release and for the courage that inspired all the members of our family. Then I learned that there was not a day since various offices of the American state did not call the Presidium of the People’s Assembly and the Human Rights Forum for the release of our group. As a result of this pressure, not even three weeks had passed since the meeting with the Helsinki Forum, on March 29, 1991, two days before the elections, in which the communist opposition participated for the first time, we were released from prison.
I can’t forget the midnight of March 28, when the prison warden knocked on our bedroom and woke us up. – “Directly from the President of the Republic, without going through other channels, as were the rules, the order for your release has come”! – He informed us. And looking at the clock he added: – “At seven o’clock in the morning today, be ready to leave the prison”!
Our joy was indescribable. As soon as Ramiz Ali’s messenger left, Enrikoja and I went straight to our feet. Sleeping was out of the question. We hurriedly packed our things and could not contain our happiness. Every ten minutes, we jumped into each other’s arms, although now the hours seemed long. At seven in the morning, we passed the prison doors with untied hands; we went out into the street in front of the prison gate, as free people, who won over injustice. My meeting with Janet and her sister was boring.
We could not hold back the tears for the sufferings we had gone through together with the children. They were not there in front of the prison to wait for me, but their absence, however, comforted us with the fact that our children were now in a safe place, free in the full sense of the word and enjoying the happiness that an undisturbed life has. , from the great stresses of the communist dictatorship in Albania. Those in the United States of America had the opportunity to fulfill those desires that they had in their lives. They would be educated, they would work where they wanted, calm and happy, with complete freedom, as it is in the great America, in the America that God has blessed, for the good things it has brought to humanity.
That same day, I went with Jean to the post office, to talk on the phone with the children. I will never forget that moment when we connected with them. From all three of us, the tears tied our throats, from which we could not free ourselves. It was absolutely impossible to talk! We held the line and cried. Over ten minutes had passed on the phone and we were just sobbing. I was forced to end the connection, and I only managed to tell them that I would call them again in the afternoon, in the hope that we would have calmed down and we would be able to talk.
And so we did. They rejoiced immeasurably, for the happy event that reunited their father with the family, after that great liberation, from the wild jaws of human wickedness. On the same day, our friends, with whom we were once sentenced together, were also released. The next afternoon, I longingly met with Mynyr and his family in Tirana, but at the same time I was very sad when I learned the deep progress of the disease that afflicted Mynyr’s wife. Likewise, that day, together with Zhaneta, we went and placed a bunch of flowers on the grave of my brother, Andon, who had died while I was in prison.
Our release from prison took place only three days before the parliamentary elections of March 31, 1991. Albania was involved in an unprecedented popular wave, for the collapse of the dictatorship of the communist system. All the hatred and grievances gathered in the people over four decades, erupted like a volcano. This was favored in the first place, by the extremely favorable historical conditions created at that time, by the changes in the countries of Eastern Europe, which began to reject the communist regime.
In this movement for democracy, in the first place, broad masses of the people were involved, who had suffered from terror and wild, inhuman and unparalleled persecution, also in other countries of Eastern Europe. These had pure intentions, to end once and for all the dictatorship and its place, to occupy the real democracy, and to move towards the States of Western Europe and America.
In addition to this conscious measure, in this movement, for bad purposes, people who did not want democracy, but they saw that they were powerless, were involved in this movement, to stop this historical flow of events. Thus, the leaders of this dictatorship, with the loyal people of their bodies, activated their open or secret representatives to take over the direction of this popular wave for democracy. In this way, they would again be the economic and political leaders of the state.
They popularized their people in the people and threw mud, for honest people. The lack of the necessary political maturity in the people made this treacherous effort of theirs crowned with success. Many parties were created, completely unnecessary, bringing confusion and disunity in the democratic forces.
Upon leaving prison, I made it my duty to contribute to this movement for democracy, as well as fulfill the demand we had since we were in prison, that of gaining our innocence, and condemning that infamous process. , with false accusations, carried out by means of anti-human terror, by the communist dictatorship in our country.
The way how the return to democracy was realized is another object, outside the scope of this book. Only from the beginning, along with the positive sides of the testimony to destroy that breathing system for the people, there were also many negative phenomena, such as in the field of politics, economy, order, the establishment of a true and pure democracy.
The Association of the “Prisoned and persecuted politically”, for some reasons, failed to play the historical role it deserved. It seemed as if the politically persecuted served more as decor, or simply for propaganda purposes. The country was quickly ruled by chaos, the tendency to destroy everything that existed, in order to later create new discontents, open the way to economic corruption and create in people, even wrong thoughts, about the past. This is because people no longer saw schools, hospitals, or factories, but ruins made by people’s own hands. This was an unprecedented and unforgivable evil. The people were left without work, without income, to ensure even the level of poverty that we had before.
So, democracy was walking on a fragile path, full of omissions and serious mistakes. As a result, later, terrible chaos plagued the economy and politics of this country. The only solution for most people was to emigrate abroad. The opposition parties, even when they won power, could not do justice to many political and economic problems that were historically required, the dots on the “i”, for the past. People got another shock and as a popular saying goes; “fog wolf seeks”. Many people benefited. that did not belong to them.
In this situation of the broad movement for democracy, of a political war, between the position and the opposition, I, together with Enriko Veizin, joined the work, to win our honor, our dignity, which had been unjustly taken from us by the leadership of the dictatorship communist.
According to the rules, we presented convincing arguments of the falsity of our entire investigative and judicial process, and asked for the annulment of our sentence, despite the political events that had brought about our release from prison. We remained loyal to our continuous, well-argued demands, which we had presented to various institutions, national and international, during the last period of our stay in prison. For us, release was not enough, we wanted innocence!
The procedure was opened. It started in the investigation of Fier, where the first investigation was conducted. The Fier investigation was now headed by one of our investigators. He accepted our arguments and claims, related to the use of physical and psychological violence, which led to the defeat and acceptance of the charges, even though there was no fact to support them. He was forced to admit the falsity of the charges, which we were forced to accept.
As a first step, this investigator recognized our innocence. Then the material was passed to the Plenum of the Supreme Court and based on the facts, it overturned the first decision of the Supreme Court. With a new decision, in 1992, she gave us complete innocence to the charge; “for treason and sabotage, in the oil industry”.
This was an important event, because it happened when Ramiz Alia was still the President of the Republic, the same man who inspired the scenario of our punishment, this infamous and criminal process, against oil specialists. This was a direct blow to the communist dictatorship in Albania.
It was a blow to the bodies of the Security, the Investigation and the Court itself, as bodies, which carried heavy responsibility on their shoulders for such crimes, but which were never punished, neither in 1992 nor after. The decision of the Plenum of the Supreme Court shows and reinforces once again convincingly, that everything I have written in these memories of my life are completely correct and true. Memorie.al