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
Conversation in Spaç with Raymond Sejko, the last of the Sejkats
I met Raymond in the middle of 1976, as he had been in Spaç prison for some time. He was more than two months old, but he was in the other zone II group, and I was in the zone III group, so we could not be seen. One Sunday, I was sitting on a bench in the prison yard and I was sitting. There a tall but slightly crooked boy approached me. He was sharp-faced, with a long nose.
“How are you, Kaso?” He said, extending his hand to meet me.
“Thank you, how are you?” I replied, extending my hand.
“Do you know me or not?” He told me, smiling.
– “To be honest, I saw you, but I do not know who you are. I have remained indifferent, and did not give any importance to people. Maybe this is a flaw, but I learned this lesson from the bitter practice of prison. “Because I lost faith in people,” I replied.
“You are right,” Mondi told me.
“Who do I have the honor to talk to?” I asked.
-“I am the son of Teme Sejko”, he told me and lowered his head.
I could not believe my ears, and for a little while I was amazed, watching him intently.
“Do not be discouraged,” I told him, “your father’s blood was not enough to saturate the savagery of the beast of Tirana, but you needed it too,” I told him. Comforting him, I told him he was not the only one unfortunate in this world.
“No Kaso, what God said will be done,” he said.
– “Where does your family live, Mondi”, I asked because I did not know anything about them. With this question I saw that I killed him because it was one of the most difficult questions of his life! Tears welled up in his eyes. After that he sighed, and after the sigh, stuttered. “Now Kaso, I no longer have a family, I am left alone in this world,” he replied, trying to contain himself.
I saw I made a mistake by hurting my heart wounds, but now it was too late. In front of me stood a character of a great family tragedy. Here is what Mondi told me on such a day, – “After our father Kaso was shot, we were deported to Berat. There were three of us in that filthy room, my mom, me, and my little brother, Sokoli. We were small, my mother was not given a job, while we spent many nights without sleep. Mom even went without food for days, but we did not understand because we were small.
They wanted to bring him to his knees to make him servile and spy, and maybe he would go after their intentions. When they saw that we were starving, they gave her a regular job, making mortar and bricks. This job was hard for mom who had never done physical work. As for us, it was a fierce class struggle. We did not play in the streets, because the little ones in the neighborhood had been taught to harass us by saying: “the sons of the enemy of the people”.
I would touch and fight with them, but they were too many and hit us. We came back so ragged and cried while Mom caressed us and advised us not to play in the street. Such a life of suffering continued until we grew up. When we went to work, Sokoli and I lit up life a little. We lived better and ate better. I finished the army, and that same year soldier Sokoli would go. But in 1974, the Internal Branch of Berat arrested Sokol together with his two friends.
They were accused of wanting to burn down the Berat Textile Factory. Very nicely plotted plot. For ten months in a row, they were tortured to admit the charge, the two comrades broke up and admitted it. Courses Sokoli no. They brought them to trial. Sokoli spoke and told his friends to deny the accusation. He testified before a vicious Security Trial, and the torture inflicted on them convinced the people that he was innocent.
Mom and I were seated at the end of the courtroom and we were both crying. The falcon had become no worse after the tortures, but he did not turn a blind eye to the executioners. The trial lasted more than five hearings. At the last hearing, the Prosecutor gave the claim and announced the sentences of the accused.
The first name was: Sokol Sejko, “sentenced to death”! These words fell like shells on me and on my mom. She fainted as I burst into tears. For this reason, I could not help my mother, as everything around me was dark. I neither listened nor watched. I did not even know how many of his friends were convicted.
After the claim was over, the trial panel asked Sokoli to hear his last word. He said these words: “What shall I ask of you when you take me, and what has no one else given me?” The trial panel withdrew to make its decision. Those minutes seemed like months to us, while Mom could not recover because she burst into tears.
My whole body was shaking and I was anxiously awaiting the decision of the trial panel. He started reading the decision: “Sokol Sejko, was sentenced to death”, and his two friends, each with 25 years in prison. Brother stood proud, he did not give himself up in front of his executioners, even though he saw us both crying. The hearing closed and the convicts were given the right to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court within three days.
Police abducted them and put them in cars. They disappeared in a turn towards the Branch. The brother had been waiting for the decision from the High Court for more than 40 days, tied with legs and arms with 80 kg each. iron, not to move from place to place. New Year 1975 was approaching, and Mom went to the Bazaar to buy a chicken. Took and three kg. summer, and when she returned home, she was unspeakably sad.
“I will prepare this chicken for Sokol,” he told me, “and I will bring him wine as well.” “They do not allow such a thing,” I told my mother, “they can accept meat.”
“I will pray”, she told me, which was reduced to 5 lek. “Do as you please,” I told him. New Year’s date dawned. It was cold, the sky was cloudy, but it was not raining. The world rejoiced that day, and we wept. Mom collected the roasted chicken with a newspaper, emptied the bottles into a plastic can, and headed to the Branch dungeons.
He presented himself to the prison guard, and told him that he had brought something to the boy to eat. Through tears and sobs, he begged her to see her son on this marked day. The guard stood close to this mother’s pain, and told her that such a thing was forbidden. Both food and wine. But in order not to kill his mother further spiritually, he took them and took them to Sokol.
“Thank you very much,” she told him. “Let a mother’s son drink this, because this New Year was the last for him,” said the mother, leaving the prison gate. 15 days later, the Prosecution informed me that the decision was implemented before the New Year. The grave was not known! Oh, how horrible, and how horrible that day has been! Mom had fallen over and was crying all day. She shed endless tears, just like any mother would do.
No one came to me for comfort. My mother got sick from crying and I stayed at home for two days to calm her down and make her smile, as she neither ate nor drank! I was forced to go to work the next day and my mom was left alone at home. When I returned from work in the afternoon, I saw a crowd of people standing in front of our palace, where my mother and I lived. A lifeless corpse torn to pieces, I was lying on the asphalt and I initially could not let them know who that unfortunate one was!
Meanwhile, the gaze of the people was directed by me. I immediately realized that something bad had happened to my mother. I opened the crowd and approached the corpse, where could I see…?! My mom made pieces! I cried with all my might and leaned on my mother’s body, shook her, rubbed her, but she did not move…?!
I took her in my arms, my lifeless mother, and climbed her into the room, carefully laying her on her bed, as if to not hurt the wounds that were still bleeding! Some friends had come from behind me and were standing at the bottom of the room. In the meantime, I had lost it completely and did not know what to do. I had become like a fool and so I went out on the balcony of the palace, from where my mother had been thrown, so that I could jump too, but my friends grabbed me by the arms and held me tightly.
I shaved the regime of Enver Hoxha with all the sound force I had. After a few minutes, while I was crying for my mother, the police arrived and immediately arrested me and took me to the Internal Affairs Branch, locking me in a dungeon.
I did not know what happened to my mother’s body, which was thrown from the fifth floor of the building where we lived. I was sentenced to eight years in political prison, with the accusation of “agitation and propaganda”, why did I kill Enver Hoxha and now I am here with you “, Rajmond Sejko closed his story and did not continue, as the prison tellall called us for the appeal of evening, as the clock was ticking 18.00 I parted with Mondi to continue that creepy story another time.
After the arrest of our comrades, the situation in the prison was extremely tense
After the arrest of our comrades, the situation in the prison was extremely tense. In anxiety the prisoners waited to see who had the turn. Raymond, I, Nazmi Veseli, Xhelal Çami, had served more than half of the sentence. Our families were waiting for us to be released.
My health was getting worse and worse. I never wrote to my mother about it, in the few letters I sent her, so as not to upset her any more. My mother was illiterate and could neither read nor write. She was waiting for Luljeta and Nderimja to grow up. Mejdos, I had told my wife she was free from me and watching her life.
I had begged him many times to send those two girls to the Orphanage, for a better life, for those two unfortunates. Mejdua dedicated her life to raising those two girls, not succumbing to Security pressures, and she was not afraid. She together with my sister’s husband, (Dilos) Esat Mullai, came to Spaç to meet me. I told him again that it was not too late for him to abandon me. But she insisted again: “No, that was my destiny and this job is over. “Do not discuss this conversation anymore.” After this meeting I wrote a letter to thank him more.
The letter I wrote to my wife, Mejdos, from Spaç!
Spaç, 15 July 1979
Do not notice me writing infrequently, not that I have forgotten you, but I do not want to hurt you.
Alas for me that I cannot find words, to express the best thanks, for the care you showed when I was sick in the Hospital.
Dear Mejdo, with your desire, your will and your generosity, you became attached to a bankrupt man. After a man who has been given a bad name, who has no friends left in this world.
You and your relatives have suffered so much because of me, and therefore, you have no way of forgetting the unforgivable cause of all these dangers and calamities that befell you. You have no way of forgetting the role I played in the middle.
To know how grateful, how very grateful I am and how sorry I am for you, that you happened so badly to me!
I swear to you dear Mejdo, that I have never thought badly of you, ever, that for me you have always been, the brightest, purest and most beautiful memory of my sad childhood and youth.
I have so much reason and judgment to appreciate, all of this.
Therefore, allow me Mejdo, to send you, my thanks and greetings, the best and warmest of my heart, wishing your health and being strong.
I am filling the last lines of the letter with greetings to my dear mother and wish her health.
Hugs and kisses from afar, Flower and Honor.
I send greetings with longing, for the sisters, Dilo, Vito and Bardha.
I miss them and wish them family health.
Do not forget, without sending greetings from me, to your parents and brothers.
Greetings to everyone who asks.
I hug you with longing,
I remain hopeful that you will send me a letter