Memorie.al publishes some parts of the voluminous autobiographical book in manuscript “Beautiful land, ugly people” (memories from hell) by the author, Kasem Hoxha, originally from the village of Markat in Saranda and living in the USA since 1985, when he fled Albania after suffering ten years in the prisons of Enver Hoxha’s communist regime. The whole sad and painful story of Kaso Hoxha, from the life and hard work in his village in the southernmost part of the country, the dissatisfaction with the regime and the first poems of a political nature, how they fell into the hands of the State Security and who were his relatives who spied on him, the arrest in the office of the Chairman of the People’s Council of Markat village, by the State Security on June 21, 1973, the investigation in the Saranda Branch of Internal Affairs, the trial against him and the sentence with 10 years in prison for “agitation and propaganda”, staying in “Kaushin” of Tirana (Ward 313), and the prisoners he found there, being sent to Spaç and working in that camp with criminal and “soft” police officers, the accomplices of description of their “portraits” with positive and negative sides, release from prison and return to the countryside, escape to Greece and stay in the Lavros camp, gaining political asylum in the USA, correspondence with Amnesty International, e London branch, inf information with the data he sent to the prisoners of Spaç and the communist regime in Albania, to the creation of a new family and life and work in that distant place with the Cham community divided by the intrigues of the people of the State Security from Albania operating there.
Excerpts from the manuscript book, “Beautiful land, ugly people“, (memories from hell) of the author, Kasem Hoxha, sent by him exclusively for Memorie.al
Do not pay attention to the title I am presenting to you, I mean, if you are not patient to read this collection of memoirs, if you want to forgive the author, that his style is pale, uninspired before this drama of great, of my people, of my martyred nation.
My characters are not created by my imagination, but are real people, they are your brothers, your fathers, your relatives. The events are not fictional, but real and lived. You will convince yourself, only after reading this summary with memories. You will find something from your life, something real from the lives of your fathers, your mothers, your brothers, how they suffered and how they died.
I wrote this collection of memories about the legacy left to me by my friends, for the world to learn the truth, how innocent people were tortured, how they suffered, how they died, in the camps and prisons of the executioner, Enver Hoxha!
I go with the hope that any reader, Albanian or foreign, is not left with hatred, from criticism, beating opposing opinions, as it is the best way to find the truth. The title of the book, “Beautiful land, ugly people”, will anger the reader, but in the end, I will conclude that I have the right to call it “The 45-year era of the satanic communist regime of Enver Hoxha”: Ugly.
I, alas, for the misfortune I had, saw and lived the great drama that happened before my eyes. I am neither a poet nor a orator, I will need hard work to escape the literary mistakes in this historical book, which can inspire future poets and writers, on the tragedy of our time, of the darkest time of my nation !
Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish you all freedom and peace…!
Llavrio, Greece 1985
Continued from the previous issue
“I do not want to live like this”!
The painful story with a tragic ending, of the prisoner Aristotle Ksero, the boy from Derviçan of Gjirokastra!
The winter of 1977, came with all its ferocity. Autumn pruned trees from leaves prematurely. Spaç landscape from its own geographical view, in the heart of the mountains, terrifies you! Spaci is a natural prison. The sun could not warm this abyss in winter any hour of the day and the only free gift that God sent to these unfortunates, but that Tirana has condemned them not to receive a single ray!
The northern hawk was beating wildly on the concrete walls of the prison and its whistles could be heard inside our “Kaushin”, like a roar! The cold outside went to – 15 degrees below zero! All the prisoners had entered their beds wrapped in old blankets turned into nets and were silently thinking!
Their pale faces with eyes inserted deep into the cavities, had a painful appearance! Everyone dreamed, dreamed of their families, of children who were not given even a single pet! Children who knew their father! Others probably dreamed of fiancées, of women who treacherously betrayed them, separating them!
The grief of these was greater, more torturous, as this spiritual suffering was negatively affected by that torture, where all the prisoners, had become like psychopaths! The 54 prisoners of our “Kaushi” were all nervous, they got angry for nothing and provoked to open a quarrel in vain!
On the first floor of the planks, 11 people slept, which belonged to us from 50-60 cm, width to lie down to sleep! At my side, I had Dr. Vasili, a mysterious man, who spent all his time browsing books but not reading a single line! When asked what you read, he replied: “I do not need to read, I understand only at first”! His body was weakened, and his bones were covered with a thin, white skin that had never seen the light of day!
The boy from Derviçan, who was just lying on the mattress!
Next to Dr. Vasili sat Muhamet…., Who was always whispering to himself, and he was all worried about whether he would live, that when he got out of prison, he would take revenge! Next to Muhammad, a prisoner was always lying down and covered with blankets that the clay had given him a veneer, as if it were a piece of tent! How tired he was from work, exhausted, eating a piece of bread and lying down!
His wish was to let her lie down and she neither wanted to eat nor drink, just die quietly on that hut mattress!
He was not old enough to hate life and himself, but he was a 25-year-old boy named Aristotle, from the village of Derviçan in the Gjirokastra district. During the investigation, for 10 months in a row from suffering and torture, he suffered psychological trauma, after his friend, with whom he was accused of “hostile activities against the Party and the government”, died in the cells of the investigation!
Aristotle was an intelligent and very sharp boy; he had been a student of Mathematics-Physics at the university when he was arrested. There were two days he was assigned to work in our brigade, in zone III, copper. I was not given the opportunity to talk to him because he was working with another group on the 55th front, but we greeted each other whenever we met when we finished work inside the mine.
Aristotle was terrified of the darkness and the stench of the galleries all over the water. He was gripped by a pessimism, from which he could hardly escape!
At 9.00, bellman Jorgo woke up to the 3rd shift and all the prisoners cursed through their teeth, but someone from the third floor of the planks, Engjëll Fidani, had very strong sarcasm.
Four brigades with 200 prisoners in a row under the orders of police officer Peter…!
“Even at the wedding to be invited to this hour of sleep, I do not play from the mattress, and not myself to enter the smoke of the mine”, said the Angel, whose mouth was opened from insomnia. The prisoners were quietly preparing to go to the canteen to get the piece of bread, as it kept us more than 1-hour walking in the yard in front of the canteen policeman, Peter…, between ice and wind to make ice saliva in the mouth!
We went silently one after another in the yard, lined up waiting for Mr. Peter to start. He wanted no whispers to be heard and the rows of 200 prisoners in the four brigades to be straight! Meanwhile, the northern storm was beating us furiously, as if the police had given an order to Peter…! Under the blinding light of the searchlights, the pale faces were clearly visible, eyes surrounded by black circles. Everyone shivered from the cold and steam plumes came out of their nostrils!
Patience as it came and went. This is exactly what the policeman Peter wanted, as he was wearing warm furs, while we were naked, with some pairs of torn hoods! He with shoes and socks on his feet, we barefoot, he eaten, we hungry! This executioner of Spaç had won the hatred of all prisoners. This policeman, this filthy mercenary, has tortured in the most inhuman way thousands of prisoners, most of whom have died. The jaws of that beast were tight, always in a sign of hatred towards the prisoners!
God had not taken the trouble to carve human features in this man, who had turned into a monster, but in a muzzle he had opened two holes, where two eyes moved, so similar to a savage, with another had he had made a nose that the tip came up, his mouth with tight lips that rarely laughed, this portrait aroused disgust!
Teli had lost her temper and spoke loudly and nervously:
– “Oh, policeman, you will still keep us on our feet, we have been waiting for an hour, the leeks are not boiling yet, we are people, we are not trees”! But without finishing the sentence, Peter shouted:
– “Who is that clove that has a cold? “Stop the hell out of you, clown.”
“Why should I rest, what are you going to do, you are a captive bitch”, Teli objected firmly.
“Come up so I can tell you,” shouted policeman Pjetër, becoming angry.
But Teli did not listen, and did not move from the place, not tearing his head from the shout of the policeman.
– “I’m telling you, you convict”, and went down the stairs, approaching the line where Teli was.
“Why does not the convict obey the order,” he shouted and pushed the prisoners to open the way. Unsuccessfully, he pushed Telin with all his might, so that Tel lost his balance and fell on the ice.
Isolation in Aristotle dungeon, as I oppose the police!
– “Climb up to the gate”, shouted the policeman, whose muzzle was covered with blood and his nose in May, had become like red pepper!
The wire got up looking with hatred at that soulless man and quietly climbed up to the gate leading to the neutral zone. The policeman would follow him and occasionally push him as if he were a prisoner of war. The prisoners gritted their teeth and murmured through their teeth, cursing the policeman.
“Well, there is another carnation that will not stand in a row,” cried Peter, waiting for the prisoners to react! After passing the gaze across the rows, he ordered the brigadiers to arrange the brigades. This work lasted another ten minutes and the clock was ticking 9.30, when he returned from the dungeons where he locked Telin, gave a crier order to Jeorge to continue for bread.
Each of us received from a piece of bread 200 gr. which was given to the prisoner who was engaged in cutting bread, an Ahmet Mullai and then to the kitchen counter, where we took the boiled leeks that stinks no matter how many kilometers away! Everyone eats it with hunger, no matter how stinky that food was?!
After the meal, police officer Peter ordered us to line up on the terrace of the bathroom in front of the prison, where the wind and cold whipped well.
We waited on foot until the police officers arrived. The third shift in the camp was taken by policeman Preng Rr., An idiot who found another being to compare! When we went to the gate that leads to the gallery, policeman Pjetër left the trust to Preng Rr.
– “Preng” – and raised his voice for us to hear, waiting for the police to sign the signatures in the block of the guard officer, for the prisoners who had been handed over.
– “Take care of that carnation in the first dungeon, which I put in tonight”, he continued with a sigh, laughing at the executioner!
– “Do not worry at all, sleep right Peter”, – Prenga replied happy that he had to spend the night!
The third shift in the labyrinths of the poison gas mine!
We took the carbide and the tools, filled the candles, and went into the mouth of the mine, from the mouth of which came large plumes of gas and poisonous smoke! The mouth of the mine looked like a monster mouth! This mouth swallowed us all wandering through the labyrinths of the third zone. I was working on front 55, where I had to climb a 50 cm furrnel from the gallery level. high. It was the hardest front, as the temperature here was over 35 degrees in winter and spring!
In addition, this front had a lot of pressure, as the gallery was printed every day by inserting the wooden bodies deep! The two friends who worked next to me, Sadik D. from Pogradec, and Abdulla O. from Përmeti. were greedy people, as they wanted to exceed the norm every day to get 50 stinky lek! When I got on, they had started work and we almost filled the first wagon.
“Are you tired, it seems?” I asked, noticing the front where they both works.
“You see you work in space and a rock will fall on your head,” I advised them to stay out of danger.
The command and the police always talked about Technical Security, but in reality, they forced the prisoners to work in spaces without any kind of security!
“There is no danger”, said Dulla, “let’s work because there is material”, he continued and did not take the pipe out of his mouth, both when he was working and when he was talking! He had lived in the US for about 12 years, returned and was sentenced to 15 years in political prison!
“No, ‘I said,’ I still have a string on my head, ‘and I ran away from the danger, walking to the stove where he was sitting. But after a while, the policeman, Mark M., came with the brigadier, John.
– “There is material, (copper)”, he said without climbing well and headed from the front where we worked.
– “Yes, yes”, said Sadik D., who had become water in sweat, because there was sweat if you stayed and did not work anymore!
“The front is unsecured, Mr. Kapterr,” I intervened immediately.
– “There is no danger, but start working”, shouted the policeman, Mark M., a man whose only image had remained human! A black being in the face, where a beast of savagery stood out in every feature!
Over the course of five years, I had seen many victims left in the mines!
“I will not enter you,” I replied immediately, determined not to work in a dangerous place. I would rather endure torture in the dungeon than have my bones left in the gallery. Over the course of five years, I had seen many victims buried alive in those mines!
“Go out and wait for me at the barracks,” he said nervously, “let me fix my back well,” he continued, shouting at me.
I got off and went to the place where I had left my clothes to get dressed, as I was drenched in sweat and work overalls were glued behind my body! As I was undressing, the policeman arrived and when he saw me changing, he shouted:
– “March out, filthy enemy, saboteur”, he exhaled like a beast and saliva came out of his mouth.
“No,” I objected, “I will get dressed because I am sweaty,” I continued, not bothering too much about his insults and threats. He was followed by three other warriors, two firefighters and the area brigadier.
The policeman with his two “heroes” left me tied in minus 15 degrees!
The policeman, annoyed by my determination, rushed like a beast at me, pushing me with as much power as he had. I had taken off my boots and was trying to remove my overalls, but at this time I lost my balance and fell to the ground, where there was water and mud.
“March, march, out,” he growled and shivered with nervousness. I got up and put on my boots, and just as I was sweaty, wet and all muddy, I got out of the gallery. The windstorm was blowing outside and a shiver went through my body as I stepped out into the icy air. The temperature inside was 35 degrees Celsius, while outside, minus 15 degrees! Just like fleeing the equator and being in the frozen North Ocean for five minutes!
The policeman followed me foot by foot with the three brave men. I shivered, as it was combined wet with sweat, it immediately froze and the sweat became pieces of ice on my body. I felt like I was stuck alive in the fridge! I reached the policeman’s barracks, who came in, and after taking a pair of bars, the three of them grabbed me by the arms, squeezing me so hard that they almost broke me!
After that, they put the handcuffs in my hands, tightening the screw until the blood flow was blocked. I was accustomed to pain in my body, already weakened, even if they tore me apart! They dragged me and approached me on the iron pole, where they tied me with wires from my body and legs so that I could not move from the place! /Memorie.al