By Sadik Bejko
Memorie.al/ Sherif Merdani passed away on August 29, 2021. 81 years old. He was one of the most beautiful voices of light music in Albania in the ’60s and’ 70s, of the last century. He spent 16 years in prison for singing beautiful songs of Albanian light music and songs by Albano, Tom Jones, etc.
For that, reports were made by people put by the Security. They secretly denounced the thoughts that the Sheriff expressed, in conversations with them, thoughts that were liked by world-renowned authors of light music. He did not like the music with curls and drums of the villages of Albania, etc. These were the “crimes” of the Sheriff for which in 1973, he was sentenced to 8 years in prison.
The sheriff in those years of success was young, handsome, wheat paint on the face with big eyes, in a bright blue. The girls loved it. He loved life. He was pleased that he had been allowed to sing, to be heard on stage, at festivals, on radio and television. The sheriff had no intention of going against the state. Against the order or laws of the time.
The sheriff really did not even think of a clash with the state, but the state was behind him with spies, with party secretaries, with secret meetings until midnight, meetings in Librazhd, in the Writers and Artists League, on Radio and Television , meetings with murderous, secret relations, which went as far as the highest dome of the Party. The state was searching for the heads of artists and writers, declaring them enemies and throwing them, at the nails of heartless officials, into the hands of moldy party members, security guards and judges, who really remembered that with songs, with poetry , with drama their power could be overthrown. The day came for these officials to take revenge on the artists, who were so outspoken and disrespectful to them, because the public loved them and went crazy for them.
With the Sheriff, the state of the time also had a secret animosity, animosity that did not stem from his dislike of shepherds and farmers songs, or from his liking for the Beatles and the most popular musical groups of the ‘70s. Where does this look? They were not satisfied with the sentence of 8 years in prison, accompanied by hard labor, underground in Spaç, which was given to him in 1973. There in prison the young man was sentenced to another 10 years, because he refused to become a spy Insurance.
What was this secret reason?
Sherif Merdani, was originally from a rich family from Korça. With this family background, he could not get a higher education, … but something changed.
With Khrushchev coming to power, the class struggle for the second and third generation of families with “bad biographies” was lifted. Children of owner and trader descent would be allowed to continue university and then be employed in the state administration. From this mitigation of the class war, the children of the Korça families of Fundove, Merdanëve, Hysenbegas, etc. benefited.
Then the Albanian state would regret this political omission. Some of these sons of the former wealthy would be fired because of the origin of their families. Some would set a bad example and go from prison to prison to exile.
F. G. Lorca is mentioned in the narrative of the entire world left as the poet killed and raped by fascism.
I do not want to equate Lorca, he paid for his leftist beliefs, but Albanian communism condemned the elimination of artistic talent poets, painters, writers, singers. Stavri Rafael, Llukë Kaçaj, Sherif Merdani are some of the beautiful voices of the Albanian scenes, that rotted in prisons, with a hatred for them that they should have been punished and young were punished, until they died physically, to remain in prisons. These were condemned with political labels, but were in fact simply artists unsuitable to the tastes of the state for art just that.
In Albania, the phrases “fascist terror”, “fascist campaign”, “black fascism” etc. are mentioned with the sign of maximum negativity. But it does not say “black communism” (Black Book of Communism), “communist terrorism”. .. Anti-communism was used in politics by the ruling former communist clan, against the other communist clan, but in opposition.
I do not know how many examples of such a policy there can be in the world. For yesterday and for today. Here in us (black) communism continues to remain white. Gradually the suckers of large communist families came to power. You still have them today. Some of those who denounced the Sheriff or Lukë Kaçaj were decorated as great Masters, as the Honor of the Nation.
The sheriff and his companions had to look for work to live with the new rulers, who were the sons of the fathers who had punished the sheriff. The post-prison world had changed little.
Long prison, forced labor, blind persecution, this situation of impunity, did what in some of the artists like Sheriff, the nerve was killed to hate evil, to protest against it./Memorie.al