Memorie.al publishes an unknown archival document belonging to 1986, where the Albanian Committee for Cultural Relations and Friendship with the Foreign World, chaired by Jorgo Melica, informs the Central Committee of the ALP, regarding the activity of the Albanian Agim Ziba , originally from Struga, who was an immigrant to the US, where from the early 1980s onwards until the fall of the communist regime, for a decade was put in the service of the communist government of Tirana by doing propaganda its distribution of books, magazines and various videotapes with feature films and documentaries, concerts, etc. which was specially produced by the Albanian Radio-Television, which he received from the Albanian diplomatic mission to the UN, or even when he came to Tirana and the directorate of the Albanian Radio-Television was on full alert, fulfilling all the requirements he had . The whole unknown story of Agim Ziba, from the family biography in the village of Livadh in Struga in Macedonia until 1968, the two brothers living in Prishtina, his personal life in emigration, to his activity and mission “patriotic In the US, with people helping him from the Albanian diaspora and various groups of the “Jusf Gërvalla” Society, as well as his fear that he might be killed by the Yugoslavs or the people of his family and his wife, who accused him of because of the work he did for the communist regime in Tirana, they found it difficult to return to Struga… ?!
As in all countries of the communist East, the communist regime of Tirana throughout its existence, had given a special priority to propaganda outside Albania, where through the secret services (State Security), operating in all embassies or diplomatic missions, such as the one at the UN, had recruited various persons from the Albanian diaspora to those countries where they were accredited and used them for their own interests and purposes according to the instructions they received from official Tirana. One of these persons was the Albanian from Struga, Agim Ziba, about whom the document that Memorie.al publishes for the first time speaks, where through the report-information of the Committee for Friendly and Cultural Relations with the Foreign World that was chaired by Jorgo Melica, reveals all his “patriotic activity” in the service of the communist regime in Tirana, as well as his family biography and personal life he led in emigration. What stands out from this document is not only his activity that he carried out for patriotic motives towards the homeland or the mother country (as the Albanians of Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro rightly call Albania), but “the government “Great that he had until the senior leadership of the ALP, who were” ready “every time he came to Albania. For more we know the document in question, which Memorie.al publishes in full so as it is in the archival file that for a long time have been marked “secret” and already declassified.
Jorgo Melica’s letter on the life and activity of Agim Ziba, sent to the Central Committee of the ALP in January 1986
Attached I send you the Information No.15 dated 21.01.1986 “On the stay in our country of the friend from the USA, the Albanian Agim Ziba, prepared by his companion I.A.
Tirana, on 21.1.1986
Committee No.15 Tirana, on 21.1.1986
On the stay in our country of the friend from the USA
Albanian Agim Ziba
Based on the recommendation of our mission in New York, from 25.12.1985 to 14.1.1986 in our country stayed the Albanian from Struga, Agim Ziba, who had been in our country and in 1984 was invited by the Committee on World Relations outer.
Agimi left the village of Livadh in Struga in 1968 after being chased by Yugoslav chauvinists for raising the Albanian flag at school and then walking with us through the city of Struga. Due to his young age of 15, the local authorities released him from prison after two months, taking control of his activity and on the condition that he occasionally report to the country’s police. In these conditions, he is forced to leave his homeland and emigrate to Italy, and from there he goes and settles in the USA, leaving his parents, brothers and sisters in his homeland.
His family is one of the most patriotic families in the Struga area. His father, Niaziu, was a partisan in the VII Assault Brigade and fought together with our partisans for the liberation of Albanian lands in Yugoslavia. He is currently retired, but does not enjoy the right to a pension, as the Yugoslav authorities do not grant him one. Some time ago, while his father was walking on the street, a country Security car hit him and injured both legs, who is hospitalized and a doctor from his tribe, treats him and leaves the hospital. He is currently disabled. Agim’s older brother, Resmiu is the director of the carpet factory in Prishtina. He graduated from high school with a degree in engineering and holds a doctorate. While the other brother works as an engineer in the “Grand Hotel” in Pristina.
Dawn with settling in the US has done various jobs. He initially worked as a cleaner in an American family. Later he worked as a chef in a restaurant in New York and recently, about 4 years ago he was dealing with the sale of video tapes he receives from the mission, among the various Albanians living in America. He finished high school in New York. He is currently taking a course to become a pilot of passenger planes (taxis) for 5-6 people. In this regard, he passed all the practice exams and did very well, leaving only the theoretical side, which he will give in April to gain the right to fly the aircraft. There is a lot of hope that in April this work will be completed and I will be successful.
Agim Ziba has been dealing with the reproduction and distribution of films and music programs that he received from our mission in New York for about 4 years and those that he received from our country when he was in ’84. So far, he explains that he has reproduced and distributed to various Albanians living in the US about 9 thousand or 10 thousand video tapes with Albanian programs. My work, explains Agimi, is one tenth of all the work done there as these video tapes he has distributed have been multiplied by other Albanians living there and their number is much larger, some of them may even they also have an element who fled our country. In addition to this work, Agimi has been able to appear on American TV and 6 television programs for our country, but according to him for these have helped other Albanians living there, such as brothers Sela, Anton Camaj, Gjeto Sinishta and others. After all, to give a program on American TV for 1 hour, you have to pay about $ 1,500, which Agimi himself cannot afford with the income he has or earns from this job.
Agimi explains that: I, who have managed to do this job for Albania, have gone through my country through many great difficulties, both by the Yugoslav authorities and by the people of my family, calling me “Enver Hoxha’s puppy, a traveling puppy of Tirana “, And other epithets of this kind, but I have not given up and will not give up this work that I have started. I see the videotape propaganda for Albania as the fastest, largest and most efficient work among Albanians living in America. I do this work based on the demands and wishes of the Albanians living there. Currently, there is no need for the Albanians there to speak in big words about the achievements and development that Albania has achieved, but to do this with videotapes and even distribute them to them at home is the most important and most important thing. important, as they see for themselves the progress and development that Albania has achieved. I do this work by taking videotapes and distributing them to Albanians everywhere in America by going home on your own. I see that many people of Yugoslavs or their agents do not like such a thing. Looking at the work I do, I think one day I might lose my life putting people to kill me, but I will continue my work. I had various pressures to give up this job I am doing, but I decided to continue until the end. I also had these pressures from the women of the woman there, telling me that “You Agim leave us without going to Struga to see our people, after you deal with this work”. In the work of distributing video tapes I was able to collaborate with Rrok Dedvukaj in Detroit, who is already doing a very good job with the Albanians there, as I have it very far.
The Kosovar people living in America suffer for Albanian films, songs, dances and music and the entire culture of our nation. Although the Yugoslav propaganda continues with all its means to do such a job among the Albanians living there, it is not occupying any prominent place, as the Albanians do not like it. Therefore, on our part, explains Agimi, even more needs to be done and different forms. Currently is not the time to take the rifle and kill Serbs or their agents, but they must be fought with propaganda tools such as videotapes, Albanian songs and dances or by launching into the air the slogan “Kosovo Republic” without anyone realizing that by whom it was issued.
According to Agim Ziba, he has established good relations with American citizens, some of whom he has noticed that he wants to watch Albanian movies, songs and dances. So, he has established a good relationship with a school principal, whom he gets on the phone and he reserves the hall of 1 thousand seats to show the movies or programs he receives from us. So, already, Dawn has no problem the place or the hall to show our films.
During his stay in our country, Agim Ziba expressed the opinion that such work with video tapes should be done in Turkey, but to do it yourself he sees it as very difficult and that there are large costs. Give your opinion and this should be done by us through the embassy or by finding a patriotic Albanian who can do this job, because there for the large number of Albanians will be done a very good job of promoting Albania and its successes.
Speaking about Agimi’s work and presenting the situation in Kosovo, he says: “Agimi and three friends from Struga talked to an American girl and agreed to give her a TV camera to go. in Kosovo filmed the economic situation of Albanians there and interviewed various Albanians. This work went as far as she reached Belgrade, but she did the work we thought, after they understood her purpose “.
Agimi, judging by the work he is doing with the promotion of our film in America, expressed the opinion that for his daughter Vjosa, 3 years old, it would be good to come to Albania to live for some time, either by taking her to kindergarten or keep any family. She explains this with the reason that she is safe here, because I there from the many pressures I have from the Yugoslavs to give up the work I do, may one day disappear from me completely and she will remain an orphan. On the other hand, Agimi explains that he can find a solution for this by sending it to my people in Struga, as the Yugoslavs can accept it, but he does not want such a thing because it will have consequences there or through it. they can pressure me to quit my job or finally and they can eliminate it by poisoning me and I have no way of claiming the right to those who have nothing in common with me.
Currently, the club “Isuf Gërvalla” is in the house of Rrok Nikshi. It works, but not as it should and not well, as the participation in it is small up to 15 or 20 people. It would be better to be in the branch of the Society “Naim Frashëri” because of the name given to the people who participate in it, have problems that are created by the Yugoslavs or their people. This is how the Yugoslavs tell the people who participate: ‘why go to this patriotic club’ and at the same time they create obstacles for you to mourn in Kosovo and see their people. These things have caused a good portion of people to leave the club. Efforts are currently being made to find a new bar for the “Isuf Gërvalla” club, as the current one is bad. Good people have been elected as its chairman, as chairman is Ramiz Llapatinca, vice chairman Gjeto Sinishtaj and his treasurer Shyqo Selimaj, who work well and promise that in the future the work will go better.
For the time of his stay in our country, Agim Ziba prepares a special program which was not fully realized as he had seen the main cities during his visit to our country in 1984 and that he wanted to do a course for the perfection of clarinet, which he did for the time he stayed here. From our side we prepare a program with vision of films and artistic programs on TV and Kinostudio, as well as some meetings in the book enterprise, foreign trade enterprises, etc. Dawn donated to this Committee, about 140 videotapes, while TV donated an album for videotapes and cable TV sets.
Arriving in our country, Agimi wanted to get as many movies and music programs from our country, but from our side you were given about 16 hours of television programs cast on the videotapes he brought and specifically you were given the films “Operation Fire”, “The General of the Dead Army”, the comedy “The Prefect”, the documentaries “A look at an exhibition” and “When a youth song is born”, some cartoons, the international football match between “Dinamo” and “Sporting” Portugal as well as music programs by 24th song festival on Radio TV, concert of the popular group, Tropjan, concert “Dance Albanians” part I and III, concert with songs by Anita Take, Xhevdet Hafizi, Bajram Spahia and Albanian dance. The movie “Face to Face”, which he asked for in high quality to be shown on American TV, he did not get because we did not have a good copy subtitled in English, which we will start as soon as we prepare it. Agimi has talked about this movie on American TV to show it and they have already agreed, but they want it to be of good quality. With the undertaking of the book, Agimi became interested in the distribution of magazines and newspapers from our country to America. When he learned that he had no subscription from Detroit, he said that he would be interested not only in that city, but also in other cities in the future. He said: “The desire of Kosovars and Albanians in America to subscribe to various magazines in our country is great, but they do not know how to solve this problem.” Agimi himself took over this, saying: “I will prepare it and send it to Albania together with the check with dollars or dollars itself. I will do this as a mediator to help Albanians to subscribe and you will see for yourself how many will be subscribed, I cannot say now about their number. Regarding the issue of book subscriptions, Dawn raised the issue that this is now being done very well by Kack Shulman and I can do it, but it will not be good for me. In the future if Jack Shulman leaves this for reasons of age I can take him and continue his work, just like him.
Agim Ziba left quite satisfied with the visit he made to our country. In the visit he made to the grave of sh. Enver, expressed his condolences for this great loss and said: “I should not have come like this and seen sh. Enver here, because this has been the wish of all Kosovars abroad “, but we must now continue the path that Enver has shown us and work as much as possible to fulfill his wishes. In the meeting on TV he got acquainted with the apparatus used by us for the multiple of the tapes sent to him. He promised to look into the possibility of sending a Sony U-matic professional camera, which he said he would send very soon, a VHS camera and some other simple camera, which will help increase the quality of materials that he has received from us./Memorie.al