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 issue
I did not have the bad luck of my friends who separated women even though they were old and with grown children! I lived very little with my life partner. Misfortune separated us as corpses, but not as hearts. She was only 20 years old when she was left with two young children to raise. She wanted me to propose to her, because that’s the way things were, thinking for her own good. Maybe fate would smile on him again, even though when I said those words, it struck me deep in the heart?!
Do you know how angry she was and shed tears?! Through sobs, she said she had been so happy with me that, if she started life all over again, she would not accept any more luck! From the day I made the proposal, this woman was subjected to exhaustion to raise children and to digest her flesh, to help me too!
The financial opportunities and the long trip did not allow him to bring the children to the meeting to see me. They grew up poor and did not trust their mother, when she was often told that: they also had fathers! I had more than three months in Tirana Hospital Prison. One day while I was wandering between the beds in the room to lead my tired and weak body, hungry and overwhelmed with longing for my mother and children I cursed with all my heart, my killer, suddenly the door opened and the policeman asked me to come out dating!
I wondered how it was possible, as I had not informed the people of the house that I was in the Hospital Prison, lest I disturb them, though I was seriously grieved by the sufferings of the Spaç mine and dungeons. When the iron gate opened, indeed, I saw that my older sister, Dilua, had come. We hugged my sister, as we had not seen each other for years and the five minutes we had available were not enough to see each other, and no longer to be missed!
Before we parted, my sister told me: Dira, my little daughter, who was seven years old, had prayed a lot for them to take her and see her father who did not know her at all. I parted with my sister, waiting for the next meeting. It made me melt into dreams about the past! Before my eyes the most painful and scary scenes passed in front of my mind!
When I was arrested, Dira was not yet six months old, and that June morning in 1973, Luljeta (my eldest daughter) disturbed my sleep with her screams. She woke up terrified from sleep, surely, she would have had a bad dream! He went downstairs crying and looking for me. I got up from the bed where I slept and since I could not restrain myself, I shaved my beloved Luljeta, whom I had never spoken harshly until that day!
She was frightened, she stopped crying immediately, she was shaking with fear of the dream, the sobs did not let her breathe freely and she rubbed her eyes with her hands! She looked at me in amazement and she could not believe her eyes, that I was near her! Meanwhile from the yard, her grandmother came in a hurry, took her in her arms and caressed her to calm her down, asking her what was she crying about?!
I failed to learn what dream my daughter had seen, that at that time, the village tellall, informed me that I had to appear in the office of the People’s Council, and I returned from the yard to put on the shirt. Dira was awake and she was sitting quietly in her cradle. When I got inside, she turned her head away from me and looked at me curiously!
When I put on my shirt, I smiled at her, tickled her under the gills, but she did not react as usual, she was laughing and wanted to play! Her big, bright eyes were fixed on a dot, and her pink lips did not flinch to laugh like the other times! She looked like a doll, with that frozen look! As I was leaving the room, at the door, I turned my head to look at him once more. I smiled at her and she raised her small healthy hands, trying to speak something, uttering some detached sounds and syllables: “Ba…, ba.”, was the first word he had learned. This was the last farewell that Dira gave me, as if she knew that she would not see her father again for seven years in a row!
Meanwhile, on the same day that I was taken out of the “Laboratory Prison”, on April 25, I sent a telegram home, hoping that if they came to meet me, they would find me in the Tirana Prison. I had a week to sleep in this stinky corner of “Kaushi”! In these difficult conditions, everyone takes into account what a sad situation I was in.
On April 29, when we had just finished eating breakfast and waiting to go to the bathroom as usual, where the prisoners had gathered there waiting in line, the police opened the door and he stopped the prisoners from going out for personal needs. He called my name and I answered. He told me to go out on a date. I came out of “Kaushi” in the dark and long corridor of the prison. Emotions did not let me breathe freely! My whole body became icy. Everything I had in mind to tell you faded from my memory!
He entered the meeting room, which was half-divided by two pairs of bars. Meanwhile, Luljeta and her mother were still in the control room, where the police checked everything in detail! When I and the prison warden entered the room, there was a banging on the door. At the door on the other side came a little girl, some six or seven years old, who once looked at me, and at other times! She did not know which of these two men was her father?!
The check continued, as my mother had brought a lot of loot, which did not work for me. For this, I was forced to talk to my mother, telling her that I did not need them and when I needed them, I would ask them to send them to me in packages. At this time, when I was talking to my distant mother, Dira trembled all over!
“This is my father, as long as he talked to my grandmother”, it seems as if she thought in those moments and turned without hesitation from me to talk to me.
But it seems that the father did not turn out as she imagined before!
In front of the girl’s eyes stood a man weakened by suffering and his pale and anemic face, to quench his disgust! His appearance was heartbreaking for the girl. The pity that awoke in the soul of this little girl, when she faced a great misery, suffocated the other feelings in her heart. When I heard her thin voice, like the chirping of a bird, trembling with joy, it seemed to me a miracle! She was looking at me with longing and love and her heart was pounding. For the first time, she felt a shiver of longing and love, for a man she had dreamed of for years. She looked at me intently, and she seemed to be waiting for me to speak to her first. Her gaze was sweet and my gaze was full of longing. When she saw that I was stunned like a statue, she spoke to wake me up from the long dream.
“Daddy,” she stammered and fell silent. He spat as if he had something left in his mouth and said: “You know me…”, she continued shyly!
“No,” I replied belatedly, pretending I did not know who that little girl was.
“I am Dira…”, she said happily, “Your Dira, let me be small in the cradle”, the girl continued with the sincerity of an innocent child.
She reached out to do the ground with me, but the little hand could not meet my hand, no matter how much I extended my arm between the bars! When she saw that despite her best efforts, it was impossible, she laughed and asked me, “Let me come there, I want to kiss you,” she said, looking at the policeman as if she were mercifully asking him to tell her: “Go!” “!
“Sir,” I said to the policeman, “open the iron gate if possible, just for that baby to come and kiss her father.”
“It is not allowed,” the policeman replied, “you should have prayed for a special meeting with the family,” he continued, appearing before this drama unfolding before our eyes!
Dira, without receiving an answer, passed with difficulty through the squares of the bars and jumped on my neck. As this scene unfolded, the mother and Mejdie were left stunned on the other side. They watched and cried! Their faces had taken on an expression of longing, and the tears dripping from the top of their breasts spoke of great pain!
In these great moments, when after seven years the father gave the first kisses and caresses to his daughter, Dira kissed me longingly. The small lips were glued to my cheeks like caterpillars. She had no intention of letting me go, as if they were leaving…!
“O father’s uncle, my little soul,” I said through sobs in a voice muffled by tears. Two tears flowed down my eyes as the girl broke away for a moment and looked at me shyly, wiping my tears with her little hand and calling herself guilty of this scene, she asked me: “What dad, to tooth thing. Aren’t you sick”?! she said, her voice trembling.
She put her hands on my neck again, pressed her face against mine and started kissing me again, saying: “I will kiss you for Lula too, Dad. She could not come by herself, she left me, because I had not seen you “, said Dira and lowered her eyes so as not to see the tears that flow down my chin to the corner of my chin!
I could not speak it anymore, as something seemed to be squeezing my throat and taking my breath away! I could not say anything but sit and swallow my tears! I do not know because I had completely lost consciousness and you were almost in a state of intoxication! Meanwhile there in that room parted with bars in the middle, a terrible silence had fallen! My ears were ringing and my whole body was burning like fever! I do not remember if I met my mother and Maidon!
It seemed to me as if I had been awakened from a dream that had lasted only a few moments, but that I had Dira nearby as if I had remained forever embraced by her! She traveled no matter how far away, and her image had remained in my arms, had remained forever in my long-torn heart…?!/ Memorie.al