Memorie.al publishes the full article of the Swiss journalist, Claire Hollingworth, who in the autumn of 1969 came disguised as a tourist to Albania and walked for several days from the north to the south of our country. Her article, published in one of the magazines of the agency “Argus Internacional de la Presse” on October 1 of that year, which was highly discrediting and which made a complete radiograph of the communist regime in Albania, was immediately sent to the Ministry of Labor Foreign Affairs in Tirana by our embassy accredited in Bern. And the note of the chief of staff of the secretary of the Central Committee of the ALP, Ilo Kodra, who in the official letter has noted: “Comrade Ramiz saw the writing of that scoundrel and did not make any remarks”
In this article we are publishing the full article of the Swiss magazine “Argus”, entitled “Albania, Little Red China in Europe”. The article in question dated 1.10.1969 makes a complete “radiograph” of the political, economic, and social situation of Albania in the ’60s. The Swiss magazine specifies and at the same time hits hard on the bitter reality of the Albanian communist regime of those years and especially of the social system, which that regime built with so much fuss. This article highlights the fact that in all the comments made by the Swiss journalist of British origin, Claire Hollingworth, the fact of “Brutal use” of the Albanian people by the secret police, otherwise known as the State Security, is mentioned. Another interesting aspect quoted in this article by Claire Hollingworth is undoubtedly the extremely difficult living, difficult working conditions and economic situation in which Albanians lived as well as the incredible way they were coping with all these difficulties. The significant title “Albania, Little Red China in Europe” clearly shows the repressive character of Enver Hoxha’s regime, which was influenced by the Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which had begun in the People’s Republic of China and which was adopted and implemented. with the greatest brutality from the politics of official Tirana throughout Albania. At the same time, the article in question clearly shows the continuous and painful efforts of the Albanian people to adapt with difficulty to the Chineseization of every aspect of the Albanian political, economic, cultural and social life. But as usual in those years, the Albanian government looked with contempt and ignored this article of the Swiss magazine as well as all other articles, labeling them as unreal and untrue, as socialist Albania was pompously considered a “shining beacon in the shores of the Adriatic. This article, published in the Swiss political and satirical pamphlet “Argus”, clearly shows how the communist regime of Enver Hoxha tried at all costs to present Albania in the world as a liberal country, with an amazing economic development, as well as a social paradise for all Albanians. But this article, seen through the eyes of a Western journalist, would be nothing but a very accurate definition of the miserable situation of Albania in those years. This article was monitored in time by the Albanian embassy in Bern, which sent it to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tirana, turning its publication into a “problem” of diplomatic and state importance. But as always, official Tirana had to ignore and overcome these bombastic articles without noise and without fuss, as Albanians should never have heard about the comments made by the western world about Albanian communism. But this article would not be the only one, because throughout the period of the “Cold War”, there would be numerous articles and comments written in various European and world magazines and newspapers in terms of the miserable political and economic situation that Enver Hoxha’s Albania would pass until the final fall of the Albanian communist dictatorial system in 1991. (The subtitles are editorial, but integrally detached from the article in the Swiss magazine, “Argus”)
FULL ARTICLE OF THE SWISS JOURNALIST “ARGUS”
(Translation) Small red China in Europe
“In Albania, where the main job is 100 percent manual labor, where churches and mosques are illegal and children act as secret police informants.
Tirana, the capital of Albania is the only advanced post of China in Europe, in the West, it is a deserted city. There is no traffic and any rare official car is the only movement on the new and wide road, which awaits the old town where it forms the imposing old part opposite the palace of culture, the local communist shrine.
On each wall is written about the works of President Enver Hoxha, Mao Zedong and the glorious Revolution. For lack of entertainment, different groups of people gather here every evening to chat and at the same time listen attentively to the speakers, international news and country news.
Men talk word of mouth, that they are afraid to complain about today’s conditions and talk nostalgically about the past, even in family and friends, because their work, homes, vacations, even the bicycles they dream of buying during the five years, are written in secret police files. Two years ago, beards were banned and every church and mosque were eventually closed. As faces were shaved with bitterness, young people dishonestly and in retaliation raped every grave site and replaced them with war memories, putting the red star on them. Theoretically, beautiful churches and mosques are preserved by the communist state as cultural monuments, but with two exceptions, they are either taken by the army and become barracks and toilets, or completely destroyed.
“Enver was scared in ’67, lest the Russians regain the base”
The ruling Albanian clique panicked when the Russian fleet entered the Mediterranean in 1967 because they believed the Soviet Union would try to retake the Naval Base, they had built in Sazan, an island at the entrance to the port of Vlora — before it happened. the rift between Moscow and Tirana when Enver Hoxha joined Beijing. In fact, there was a fear that the Russians would invade it by force. This caused violence and tyranny to escalate over the past two years, as other members of the Bureau felt that Russian power was a loss of power, privilege, and perhaps of life.
Chinese diplomats, who are less approachable than foreigners than Albanian officials, seem concerned. This for military and psychological reasons, to maintain their sole base in the West. Control by the Chinese at the entrance to the Adriatic, they believe, is a countermeasure to Italy and NATO countries, as it is to Marshall Tito’s Russians. When the Yugoslav leader leaves power, in their view, it will become very strategically important. Moreover, Albania is an important base for the transmission of Mao Zedong’s news and propaganda, for the heart of Europe and Africa, as well as an attractive and suitable terrain with high mountains and beaches for the preparation and training of communist youth. of these regions. When the Chinese decided a year ago to support Hoxha and help him maintain control of Albania, they announced the last five-year plan and presented a comprehensive program of industrialization. They started to build a series of hydropower plants and their exports direct the construction of dams, roads, railway links, radar and radio stations, missile bases and training grounds, for which the Albanian army provides manpower assisted by civilians, who run these projects. Concrete is produced in factories purchased in the Eastern Bloc, the iron rods used and the pipes are of Russian and Polish production, or Czech. The Chinese are lucky that the kerosene wells in Albania produce one million tons of oil and asphalt for the asphalting of new roads.
The mountainous areas and especially in the southern part of the country, deforested by the Italians, are now being completely destroyed by the Chinese. Before this happened, the population had fled the mountainous areas where they had lived for centuries in fortified villages and estates, engaging in banditry or guerrilla warfare.
“Children in school are taught to report everything”
Miles of terraced hills are no longer cultivated; the devastated villages support the fact that the army forces the villagers to work in simple factories. In addition to the 25,000 undercover officers, there is also a group of men and women who work with them in civilian construction and the defense forces, and children are used in a vicious manner to terrorize them, from the age of 5-6, when they go to school for the first time, they are taught to listen and report everything they hear at home and on the street and that is not in favor of President Enver Hoxha or Mao Zedong. They are also taught to recite the banal statements of leaders; just as English children recite religious verses.
The walls of a school I saw were filled with humorous paintings of “Nazi” spies. “Nazi” is used as a word for people in the West who are not communists and who want to photograph factories and tanks. The children are used to putting their hands in front of the camera opera lenses and surrounding the “Nazi” threatening him until the police arrive.
As far as I know, children exaggerate instructions by spitting and throwing broken stones, tomatoes and eggs at any unlucky stranger.National Philately in Hoxha’s hometown, where tourists are allowed to take pictures, I was attended by a group of 50 children.
“Priests with 3-4 foreign languages, brooms, nuns in the laundry”
Communists have something in common with Muslim doctrine, which calls it shameful to photograph human beings, so there is no doubt that all people are afraid to be photographed. The main direction this is 100 percent arm work. Former priests who know 3-4 foreign languages have become brooms, while the nuns with Nursing degrees are found cleaning the boards or in the laundry and one day go as a worker to a sick woman or one of the members of the Politburo.
Men and women cannot change their job, women are forced to work three months after their birth. Farm workers usually live in cities and are brought to work in old Russian-branded cars. Most of the agricultural implements are of old Italian production and 90 percent of the plowing and other work is done with horses, mules and donkeys. The harvesting of the crops is done as 300 years ago, as we have seen in the paintings of Egyptian tombs.
The textile mill is well lit and with fans, but the machines were purchased five years ago in the Soviet Union, East Germany and China. They are just like the machines used in Lancaster in 1920, 1/3 of these machines are wasted due to spare parts and skilled mechanics.
“Foreign books and magazines are not allowed, there are 5 thousand Chinese”
Both secret police officers and those of road control, use motorcycles with the sign no. 1, while less than 2 percent of 1300 workers use bicycles with the mark no. 2. No foreign books or newspapers are allowed in this country, except the Chinese ones, others are not allowed. Listening to foreign radio stations is also prohibited. No Albanian is allowed to talk to foreigners without the presence of an escort and any foreigner who leaves the hotel where he resides, is followed and constantly stopped and told to return. You can talk on the phone with Beijing, but it is forbidden to talk to Italy and Europe. The Chinese who use cars of new Russian production, usually travel in groups of 4-5 people and I believe that in this country there are 4000-5000 Chinese.
It is “strange”, an old woman said to me: “I must now pray for the Russians to liberate me, because I know we have no hope of help from the West.”
(This is the translation of a piece of newspaper).
Tirana on 1.10.1969
NOTE OF ILO KODRA, SECRETARY OF RAMIZ ALISE
The cover letter of these cut newspapers is from the Swiss agency “Argus”, “Argus Internacional de la Presse S.A.”, of the service for foreign newspapers with political, economic, literary, technical, scientific, etc. content.
Attached this agency sends an article published by a scoundrel, who once came as a tourist to our country. The attached article, full of slander, is entitled “In Albania where the main job is 100 percent manual labor, where churches and mosques are illegal and children act as secret police informants.”
Comrade Ramiz saw him and did not notice
By Comrade Ilo on dt. 10/14/1969