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 number
The treatment that ASFALIA did to me and the interrogation by them!
He was expected to come from Ioannina, the Chief of the Greek ASPHALY. It was dinner time. An officer laid on the tables a large plate of chops, spaghetti, french fries, salad, fruit, wine and some other things I did not know what they were! They told me to eat them, but they were all enough food for a squad of soldiers, and I told them I was not feeling well and had no appetite.
– “Hardly, you have to eat them all. “Appetite comes from eating,” they told me.
I did not spoil them and ate a little of all those things that my stomach had never tasted before in my life!
As soon as I finished eating, a black Jeep came and two men with strong physiques wearing black sunglasses got out of it, who made land with everyone and introduced themselves: one was the head of ASFALY for Ioannina, and the other who accompanied him, was the Border Security Commander.
They first asked me what my name was and why I had run away. My answer was very long. I was told that in Albania I had left my mother, three young children and three sisters, that I was persecuted by the communist regime in Tirana, sentenced to ten years in prison, which I had suffered in Camp 303 in Spaç.
To convince them that what I was telling them was all true, I told them that in Spaç prison, I had known many Greek minorities serving their sentences there, giving their names, such as: Vasil Dhimitrudha, Lluka Krisidhi (Bonjaku), Spiro Petricopoulos, Stefan Çavidhi, Dhimitër Muçango, and many others.
They expressed great surprise at how it was possible that in the communist prisons of Albania, there were all those Albanian citizens of Greek nationality from the minority area!
After all that testimony I was told, the ASFALISE officer was convinced that I was not an agent sent from Tirana on a mission. After that I was asked to give me medical help and to protect me from the agents of Tirana, who were set in motion by the Albanian embassy in Athens.
The Greek MP took me under protection from Ambassador Xenophon Nushi and Tirana agents!
Meanwhile, the officer ordered that I be sent immediately to the small Filati Hospital, where the doctors who visited me did all the tests and the nurses treated my bleeding leg wounds. They also put me in serum to clean my poisoned blood and in the room that had two beds, a day later, they brought another patient. He was a man about 50 years old, he seemed to be very reserved.
This good man and his family became my savior and my eternal friend, helping me spiritually. My fear was that Papandreou’s Greek socialist government would not send me back to Albania. This man, whom they called, Spiro Rubi, my lawyer and as an MP who was for the Camadai area, intervened until the government to protect me from the agents of Tirana.
The Greek government informed him that the Albanian ambassador in Athens, Xenophon Nushi, had come to Thesprotia with his agents, hoping to persuade the Greek authorities to return me to Albania. A few days later I was released from the hospital and sent to the Llavrio refugee camp near Athens.
Spiro Rubi gave me his home address and phone number, begging me as a good father to let him know regularly about my health condition and any problems I might have. Thus, “my enemies” became my saviors, and “my brothers” became my enemies!
But I was still not out of danger, as I knew very well that the government of Tirana already under the leadership of Ramiz Alia, who had sworn to “continuity”, and that he would remain loyal to Enver Hoxha, would do the impossible for to physically eliminate me. The communist regime in Tirana was very upset by my escape, because they knew that I would denounce them in the Greek and world press, talking about the camps and prisons in Albania.
Meanwhile, reporters were waiting in Athens and I gave several interviews to Greek newspapers, which, among other things, wrote on the front pages, such as: “Spaç 303”, “In Albania, blood drains”, “On Albanian soil, man for man is wolf ”, and many other articles, which infuriated official Tirana.
Immediately after these writings and my statements in the Greek press, the main leader of Albania, Ramiz Alia, came for a visit to Leskovik, near the border with Greece, in order to fill the minds of the Albanian people, that what was said on television and the Greek press, were not true.
“The slanders and lies of some enemies of the people, traitors who left their families to suffer, serve the Greek chauvinists.” With these words that Ramiz Alia said, he was talking about me and the northern Epirus activist, Ilia Leka, who was fighting to protect the rights of the Greek minority in Albania. Meanwhile, the State Security in Albania, jumped on the attack, through their agents wherever they had a world, to stifle my voice and possibly physically destroy me!
A few days after my escape, the State Security prepared an agent, dumping him in Greece, ostensibly as a fugitive for political reasons. This was a Secret Service soldier on the border with Greece, named E.M. This “fugitive” soldier who sought political asylum in Greece would be in contact with me at the Llavrio Refugee Camp. What instructions did he receive from his masters in Tirana, I do not know the details?!
But if one day the files of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Albania are opened, I can say for sure that the secret mission assigned to that man will be found there! Maybe I’m wrong to come to these conclusions, but the prison experience makes me doubt, because among other things, that guy was very sociable and showed love!
Meanwhile my village, Markati and the whole world, learned of my escape, through the Greek press and television. My cousins made a thousand attempts to get in touch with me by phone.
It was very emotional when I spoke on the phone with Rexhepi and Selfo Hoxha from the USA, who did not believe that they were talking to their cousin, Kaso Hoxha! They were overjoyed but at the same time saddened by the sad news they heard! They advised me not to talk and I do not know why?! Were they frightened by the agents of Tirana, who were everywhere?! Or did they serve these…?!
The tragedy in my uncle’s family, in the USA, by the “runaway soldier”?!
I asked Bilal Xhaferri how he was and Selfos’s answer was three-day! He told me: “Do not ask me about that clown, we will talk when you come”. I asked him how my uncle, Zeqo Kola, was and again his answer was shocking.
He told me: “Zeqo, he is in the hospital, he is one month old and it is not known how long I will live”?! His son-in-law, a boy from Korça, named Ali, was a soldier and recently fled Albania. Skënder Shuaipi, made a guarantee, brought him here and we married Zeqo’s daughter. The first target was Skënder, but he came out, then he came back with his revolver, shot Zeqo, Zeqo’s son, Isufi and his wife, who was pregnant, Havana. “A great tragedy, we will talk when you come here.”
This news saddened me and immediately came to my mind, K. A., an agent from Tirana, returned to Albania. I do not know for what reason, perhaps why he failed the mission, which was in Chicago! In a conversation, he tells me that: Markaqotët, led by Skënder Shuaipi and Bilal Xhaferri, do not have long! K.A. knew something, this loyal agent of the regime, buried his wife, his child, and all those people who helped him have a good life in the free world!
This unspeakable criminal act added to my suspicion of the fugitive soldier, E.M., who was with me in Llavrio! Despite the advice of Selfos and Rexhepi, I did not remain silent, responding to Ramiz Alia, with an interview I did for Greek television. That interview was broadcast in part on Greek radio and television:
My interview on Greek television, against the regime of Enver Hoxha
Dear mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, young men and women.
I am neither an enemy nor a traitor as the executioners of Tirana want to present me. I am the man who raised my voice against slavery, and genocide against the dictatorial regime of Enver Hoxha. I raised my voice to defend your rights and freedoms, of the common and poor people. My father was a simple peasant who earned his living honestly. I am the son of him and of my people for whom, I will fight until I gain freedom, until I break the chains of the wildest slavery that mankind has ever known.
Dear brothers, do you now understand what Enver Hoxha’s socialism means? I understand that you understand, but you do not have the courage to raise your voice. The era of Enver Hoxha has been the era of violence, terror, bloodshed, prisons, moral and political degeneration of generations. Everything is based on the lie where he threw his brother against his brother, where one does not trust the other, where man eats man, not the meat he sells to gain some privilege.
Enver Hoxha’s socialism means being born in a row and dying in a row! The Albanian people have forgotten the word freedom, they do not understand what democracy means, and they live in conditions of slavery. How long will the Albanian people accept such a situation? Why did the new government of Tirana swear to stay loyal to Enver Hoxha?!
Enver Hoxha and all his collaborators are criminals and executioners. They degraded an entire nation and now a generation of losers is growing. He turned Albania into a prison of peoples, surrounding it with a clone of 28 thousand km. square, where the people built with their own hands, prisons and camps.
Dear brothers, the peasant is closely tied to the land and this mentality cannot be removed from him no matter how qualitative changes occur in society. Enver Hoxha with his demagoguery during the War appeared before the people as his savior. But he deceived her very nicely.
Today, the peasant and the worker were left with their fingers in their mouths, locking them inside the four walls of the haur where they work 10-12 hours a day! For 5 kg. bread, where they have to wait for hours in a row to get the ration of food. Many consumer products are missing in the market. The people of the Party (communists) have become young aghallars, people of the most banal pleasures and vices, and they have everything while the people have nothing but rags. A fierce class war is being waged up to the family, where they are inciting enmity to divide the people, exhausting them in physical labor!
It is easier for them to rule than to leave them no time to torment them. Albanian youth is repressed and in love. The party decides everything. A young communist cannot love a young woman with a bad biography, and vice versa. This youth is living in the darkest era, that of a tyrant whose memory they think to keep alive by weaving glory.
This effort is made by the ALP and its people who built their well-being at the expense of the poor people. The common people, disillusioned with the dictator’s policies, are now too late to escape slavery. Enver, in order to maintain his position, began to physically liquidate his comrades and friends of the War, with whom he had contradictions, taking advantage of all the disagreements within the socialist camp.
He broke with Tito, who put him in charge of the party and the government, to ally himself with Stalin, whom the Yugoslavs rejected. Enver Hoxha accused the group of Koci Xoxa, Bedri Spahiu, Teme Sejko, Beqir Balluku, and finally that of Mehmet Shehu and Kadri Hazbiu, blaming them for failures in economics and politics. Only this was a pure communist who wanted the best for the people.
All that was left was the slogan “to rely on our own forces” to break the imperialist-revisionist blockade. This is where the misery of the Albanian people began. He filled the world with propaganda and called on the world proletariat to take the example of us, who were a beacon of light on the shores of the Adriatic, where unemployment did not exist. How can we talk about unemployment, when the entire Albanian people are slaves, and force them to work for two kg? bread a day!
Where there is no tax, what tax will be taken from him when he has only rags left?! Where he knows no crisis except that of hunger! Dokrra that maybe the world eats for truths.
Dear brothers, this is the real face of Enver Hoxha’s socialism, who beautifully violated the Albanian land and people. I am confident that one day everything will change, it takes a little courage to break the chains and get out of the darkness that has plagued your eyes. I wish you this from the bottom of my heart.
Llavrio, 7 August 1985
Mobilization of Tirana agents!
The agents of Tirana, wherever they were in the world, were tasked with drowning out my voice. Enver Hoxha benefited from liberalism in the free world and infiltrated his people in Albanian emigration. I was targeted and this is given by people of the Greek intelligence service. I had to leave the refugee camp in Llavrio. I talked to my friends in Canada who directed me to the despot of Ioannina and the latter to the archbishop of Athens, Seraph who hid me in a monastery called Moni Petraqi. I talked many times on the phone with my friend Spiro Rubi who sheltered me in his house where he stayed for a few weeks. His wish was for me to start a family. He introduced me to his friend’s daughter named Katerina, who…!/Memorie.al