By Shefqet DOBRA
Memorie.al / When I went to Spači e Mirdita, in the hell of the living, there I found Kristo Loli. I had known Kristo: only as a man riding a horse, at the time when, as agricultural workers, they would clean the flocks of sheep; before they were sheared, it was very hard work, our hands would bleed from the veins. Christ was arumun. In general, the Arumuns or Chobeys, as we mostly called them, were engaged in animal husbandry. These were wandering people, their fate remained in Albania, because the borders were closed after the victory of communism, otherwise, who knows where they would have gone. First, cattle, horses and mules were confiscated, then some were taken to farms and some to cooperatives. Kristo, in the seventies, was in charge of small livestock, for the entire company “29 Nõntori” in Lushnje, except on horseback, he could follow them wherever the herds were. Twice, I had seen it altogether.
Like the shepherds, or the Vlachs, who had stayed here, also the Kosovars, who, in love with the propaganda made by Radio-Tirana and the newspapers, the happiness enjoyed and lived by the people in Albania, – As an old man said: – we are: poppies outside and furufuk from inside – i.e., who listened to what the radio was saying – begged God to come to Albania, while the Albanians risked their lives to escape, to escape from the miserable “happiness” that had overtaken the Kosovars. they wanted to and came running to us, to enjoy the paradise of false socialist happiness.
A lie takes your mind with its external beauty, but it takes your breath away when it “devours” you. Oh, how is this life, some abandon their mother, because it seems to them the best stepmother and are left without even one. Initially, the Kosovars, as soon as they crossed the border, were subjected to a strict investigation, that they had not come as agents, then they were sent to internment camps, to enjoy the happiness they dreamed of. They suffered like the one they tell: O father, I caught a thief! – said the boy.
– Put the dog and the son of the dog here! – said the father.
– Yes, he won’t let me go, dad! – said the boy.
– Yes, why don’t you say: He caught you, not the thief – said father!
Now, they can’t run away like they went from Kosovo to Switzerland, and wherever they wanted, here, whoever entered here, couldn’t go back where they came from, but they had two ways: or become spies, for us and for each other, to be punished as the Albanians were punished, who wanted to escape. The Albanians were running away from trouble, they asked how; “Turtles to nallbani”!
Everyone in prison or internment camps were with us.
Kristua, in Spaç, was in charge of the third area. Quadra, it was again, but not with a herd of cattle, but with a herd of people, together with them, surrounded by wire and police, who did not let go of their hands.
I was assigned to the second zone, it was the most difficult, there was pyrite, which was very heavy when you took it and threw it in the wagon, let alone when the wagon fell off the tracks – because of the excessive humidity, the tracks moved, the temperature inside gallery went up to 35-40 degrees, the
water was acidic, we would drink it, this area had all the bad things -(gallery). But the worst thing was that you had to be in a group, with friends who didn’t work and: you had to do the work of your friends, or you had to accept the punishment that was…! Those who have tried it know.
In order to escape from this great trouble, I thought: except for Christ, no one else can help me – even though I had never spoken to him. However, one evening, I addressed you as a Lushnjari to the Lushnjari – in fact, neither he nor I were Lushnjari, but we had lived in Lushnje. I spoke to him and said: – Since the head of the Technical Office is also a shepherd, can he help me…?! After I explained the reason – he said: “Where are you going”?
-In Muharrem Xhydollari’s group, we become a group that does not go in vain and, since I know his relatives, I am surer of…. you understand! Although for the last word, I regretted it, I didn’t know who he was and… there, you couldn’t trust anyone.
“No worries” – he told me. Some told me that I should promise him something, but I didn’t because, if he was honest, he would be offended, if he was shameless, he would ask for the reward himself. The next month, my name was in the group I requested. You told your friends – I didn’t know him before, but I saw him riding a horse, they said he was in charge of livestock, but that’s it. They say that people become valuable when they face difficulties, Christ, perhaps, was like that, who is here now. What you have not known closely, it is not good to prejudge.
One Sunday we took a day off, the chance to meet – because the tours meant that if we didn’t take Sundays off, we didn’t meet for a month – and I thought I’d thank Kristo.
– “Oh boy, there’s no reason to thank me – he told me – I didn’t do anything big, you’re still a worker in the same gallery”.
– That we didn’t know each other before, except as Lushnjar – I told him.
-You say- he told me. Yes, even as a greengrocer, that’s all, why shouldn’t I do it”.
-For me, it is a great honor – I told him. After we talked a bit, I asked him: You had a good job, why were you punished? Or… like a shepherd?
-“Did you know me at that time”? – told me.
– I saw you when you came to Tërbuf on horseback, when we were cleaning the sheepfolds. Smile.
-Of course, as a shepherd. I was accused of being an agent – he told me.
– Were you with that group? – I told him. What was not talked about you! They said: – They caught a group of very dangerous shepherds, what one said, the other did not say, each one added something. In every meeting, when enemies were talked about, or someone was discredited, your group was taken as an example. -Actually, you were real? – I asked her
-“That’s what they said, but they arrested me at work”! But, at the time when I was accused, I had been a soldier and, I thought in my mind that, for that mistake, I would gain innocence – that I had facts to overturn the accusation, I decided: to accept the investigation, the cruel treatment they gave me – that yes to defend myself with the mistake they had made, the investigation would make changes. As for the court, I had faith, but I was wrong. Even the court: either it could not overturn the investigation or it was the same as the investigation.
When they said exactly what I wanted. Then, I addressed the jury: Mr. Judge, accuse me of meeting a foreigner with those you have made a group of, but who was that foreigner, what was it: Greek or Serbian, or what and why is it not be with us”?!
-“We want you to tell us”! – he said
– “And I, at that time, was a soldier, you know?” – I said
– “How”! – said the judge.
– “Yes, Mr. Judge, first of all, those with whom you mixed me up, we have never been together, I do not even know them, secondly and most importantly, at this time, I was a soldier, you may be interested in the department where I served the service. For this, I am asking the jury to judge me fairly and acquit me, according to the law.” Without breaking the silence, the judge said; a mistake may have been made, people make mistakes too.
-“If people make mistakes, why should I be wrongly punished”?
– “That you are dealing with an agency – he told me. The year is wrong, it doesn’t matter,” he said.
– “It is very important, fellow judge – I said – that: if they prove with documents that I was a soldier, the accusation turns out to be false” – I said.
– “Eh, boy, these were comedies played in the dark” – Kristo told me.
-Why in the dark? – I asked her.
– Yes… he looked at me – but a house without a door or window, where will the light come in, that’s how we are; an isolated place, no one comes in or out, we are isolated from the whole world, we are dark and dark; they do what they want with us, they accuse us and punish us for whatever they want, even by shooting, in vain, no one asks, who knows what is going on here, who will hold us accountable, we are cut off from the world. I looked at him, I didn’t feel well, but I heard him.
– “Okay, we suspend the trial” – said the judge. “Take him, take him there! When they fix these deviations, we will judge them, give them what they deserve to the enemies”! “Instead of taking the innocence; which was fully justified to me, the second and more difficult investigation began; they changed the year and dates, even the investigator. I was sentenced to 25 years. This was our justice. These were our judges and investigators.
When I wanted to object, they gave me such a shove that I crashed into the door, lest one of the policemen caught me. We are accused as ‘enemies’ of agency, even though they have no facts. This was our fate”! – he said. “But I don’t understand one thing, why do they need to punish us for nothing? Don’t let their lips smile, let their souls languish, just as it languishes us and our families” – added Kristo. God, listen to what you say! – I told him. Memorie.al