By Trifon Xhagjika
shot in 1963
Memorie.al / Trifon Xhagjika were born on April 20, 1932 in the village of Peshtan by the river Vjosa, which separates Tepelena from Përmet. After being educated at Elbasan Normal University, he completed a journalism and philosophy course. In 1954, he graduated from the United Officers’ School “Enver Hoxha”, as an anti-aircraft artillery officer, and began work in the 3700 Missile Department at “Rrapi i Treshit”, but with his insistence, he received a qualification for journalism and history. After that, he was appointed to work in the Ministry of Defense, first as an editor in the sector of publications and regulations, and later in the editorial office of the “Luftetari” newspaper. During this time, Trifoni became aware and understood that the senior communist leadership of Tirana, led by Enver Hoxha, was leading the country to a dead end. He loved freedom and could not easily agree with the politics of the regime in force and starting from this, Trifon began to find rest in literary creativity, (since in his adolescence, he had begun to write poems and literary sketches), publishing the newspaper “Drita”, “Zeri i Rinia”, “Nëntori”, etc. While in 1959, he publishes his first book with the title “Trace”. After that, he began to speak openly against the communist regime in power and the policy of isolation, which was being followed by the high leadership of PPSh led by Enver Hoxha, which caused him to be followed and monitored by the State Security and in in 1963, he was arrested together with a group of friends, being accused “of agitation and propaganda and of terror against the high leadership”! The trial against them took place in Tirana and while the death sentence was being read, Trifoni admitted that he was the author of the poem “Atdheu is lakuriq” and while he was reciting some of its verses, he said that he was ready to shoot against this regime and with artillery cannon. Trifoni did not request the People’s Assembly to pardon his life at all and the court’s decision was executed, shooting him on December 23, 1963, at the age of 31. After the collapse of the communist regime, at the beginning of the 90s, on the basis of the manuscripts that he had left and were preserved by the Xhagjika family, it became possible to publish his books “Atdheu is naked” (1994) as well as a collection of poems (2002). Similarly, a few years ago in his native village in Peshtan of Përmet, a bust of him was also placed, while his remains have not yet been found.
NOTES: “SEASON OF THINKING” WITHOUT THE MASK
My thoughts have changed like the seasons. This happened not so much because of my contradictory character, as because of external causes, which affected my spiritual power from a tender age, these causes which disillusioned me for years…!
… The village where I was born is full of flints and stones. But there are also small meadows, where many poppies grow. Poppies became for me the symbol of human magnanimity and generosity. Since I was 7-8 years old, I was shepherding in the fields to collect poppies, because in them I would find good people, to tell them to help my mother and father.
One day I heard my son say: “All people are bad”. “But where are the good people”? – I asked the mother. “They are in poppies” – she answered. Since that day, I went looking for it in every poppy, but…!
… But the years made me 14 years old. In every year I was quiet and shy. They pulled me “by the nose” one day. It was night then, the night of February 1947. I walked down a dark, narrow corridor that ended in an open door.
They took me inside. The door closed. It was always dark. There I heard: “Increase the trust we have in you, so become a shadow and track your friends, unaware that they have you.” I was silent, amazed and terrified.
My hands, which were shaking from the cold of fear, I didn’t know where to put them. In vain I looked in the darkness for the face of the one who spoke to me. A tiny match light lit a candle in the corner of the window. But now I could no longer look at the red eyes of the one who ate the words with his teeth.
The candle, with that little reddish glow, looked to me like the poppies of the meadows.
Poppy! I was looking for good people in it. But now I realized that everything was in vain. My thoughts seemed to burn in the flame of a candle. They burned me, so I didn’t think anymore. “It’s good not to think” – Redeye told me, “you have to keep in mind that what you saw and what you heard, don’t tell the person, otherwise… otherwise… I can only remind you that last night we shot a person of your age, after the hound drove him out of his mind.”
And a skeptical smile grew on the left corner of his lips. “So keep in mind”, – philosopher and once Redeye, – “that silence is the best excuse for your victory”.
The big slap, which he put on my tired shoulders, took me out into the darkness of the street…!
… I become your shadow?!
I remembered the three monkeys painted on matchboxes, which were sold during the fascist occupation. One of them had covered his eyes, the other his ears and the third his mouth. So I must be like this: see nothing, hear nothing, and speak nothing.
No! I will not be a shadow to people.
“Redeye ” met me three more times. The third time he told me: “You are incapable”. And ran away never to see me again. But the silence was hostage to me…!
… This silence sealed the heart. I did not dare to touch anything alive in life, because I was afraid of discovering it with my shadow.
Better away! Away! Away!
The three monkeys come before me.
I don’t see anything, I don’t hear anything, I don’t speak anything.
Away! Away! Away!
Redeye’s slap weighs on my shoulders…!
I still feel like I’m in a cave. With difficulty it seems to me that I reached a narrow gorge. It leaves behind the darkness of a ghastly popular tragedy, which is melting with the fear and mourning of people without a trace in life. Ahead I see a sea of lights, like in my grandmother’s fairy tales.
I want to jump out of the gorge. Maybe I’ll grow wings and fly. So I have some hope. I’d rather hope in the impossible than in the darkness of the cave. Her fear drives me forward…!
…I met many other people in this cave. Here I have tried to prove love as well. And every time I felt it, I became wiser, more hardworking and more honest. Love was for me, maybe, a joke that I met on the way, but I didn’t know how to catch it, maybe, infidelity, but I didn’t know how to let go.
However, I was always calm about the behavior of the girl I loved, even if she became mine, even if she ended up in someone else’s arms (for the first case I was happy, for the second case I was saved from a bad). In general, I have escaped from these evils, but I have never been happy…!
…Perhaps what has happened to me leads me to have such an understanding of life: Live for yourself and let others live as they wish.
Well, I try to express my wishes, thoughts and silent and secret views in my verses…!
Of course, in these verses I have tried to bring to the fore the issue of honor… (Here the text does not slip) as well as my intimate, private and social life, always bearing in mind my worldview.
“The work of art must be in accordance with the worldview of the author, because this increases its artistic value,” says Engelsi. And in order to achieve such a thing, I need to control myself, suppress boredom and anger and feed myself with gas for life and optimism.
This is the truth that happened to me and that torments me. And “the truth must always be repeated, because the lie is always repeated” says Goethe! Memorie.al