From Bardhyl Berberi
Memorie.al / On the left side of the hospital road in the neighborhood No. 4 of the city of Pogradec, there is a four-story building where Kamber Xixho lives with his family. Kamberi is a man who has just passed 67 years of his life, but deep in his soul for 40 years there is a big puzzle, he is looking for its clarification, since the official variant of the communist authorities for his brother’s suicide great, Asqeri Xjixha, (when he committed ‘suicide’, he was the second secretary of the Party Committee of the Pogradec district), is not convincing for him! Kamber Xixho wants to confess about the doubts he has about the “suicide” of his brother Asqeri Xixha. He has, privately for almost 40 years, investigated all the facts about his brother’s suicide and about this suicide he has many reservations, as many question marks have accumulated around this event.
Who was Asqeri Xixha?
Born in the village of Lubonjë in the district of Korça in 1934, educated in Geology-Mining, he moved to the district of Pogradec near the Geological Enterprise but, very quickly thanks to his hard work, he climbed the career ladder and at the age of 35 in in 1969, he was appointed Second Secretary of the District Party Committee, which covered the economy. In 1970, he got engaged to a girl from Vlora.
But all of a sudden in the fall of 1971, word spread in the village forest that Asqeri Xhixha was found to have committed suicide with a pistol in his hand. His body is quickly removed from the scene and is not allowed to come home, but the coffin is brought in a police car the next day at the time of burial, directly in the village cemetery, under the pretext that the Labor Party committed suicide of a her senior cadre, condemned him in every circumstance that he could have committed.
Their mother, Fatima Xixho, persistently asks for the coffin to be opened and falls on top of the coffin, but “They” who brought the coffin, in no way allowed it, on the pretext that, during Asqeri’s suicide, his face was damaged.
The testimony of the brother, Kamber Djixho
“The mother managed to open the coffin a little, almost by force, only in the lower part from his feet…! As soon as the funeral ceremony in the cemetery is over, she calls us, her children, and tells us: those were not my son’s legs; there was another body in the coffin. We froze and said that this was a hallucination of the mother from the great pain she had for her brother. But the later years added many mysteries to this suicide, which remained an enigma.
Mr. Kamber, what were the suspicions?
“Only a week before the ‘suicide’ was committed, Asqeriu went to our sister, Zylfie Xixho, whom we had married in Dishnica. After meeting, he stays for a couple of hours thinking at his sister’s house.
– What do you have, she asks?
-“The party has assigned me a very important task, I don’t know if I will succeed…”?!, he answered
The sister said that he was very worried and after hugging him like never before, she gave him a black scarf for his mother to take to the village, in Lubonjë. Within that week, he also goes to our aunt in Tirana and meets her and tells her that he is facing a big test, set by the Party. He was very sad and you could easily see a big worry in his eyes…!
In 1971, the suicide occurred, a mysterious suicide in the village forest, according to a scenario that he had allegedly quarreled with his fiancée and therefore committed suicide. The body immediately leaves the scene and is taken to the cemetery directly to throw the pile of dirt.
In 1984, a close cousin of ours, Novruz Hoxha, near the Tourism Hotel in Saranda, spotted Asqeri among a crowd of tourists. He sees him at a close distance and after rubbing his eyes well and looking at him more carefully, he calls out: Nothing. He turns his head and looks and after putting his lip on the gas, he gets into a car that was there, a “Jeep” type, and starts immediately.
Nevruzi comes urgently to Pogradec, because we had all come to Pogradec, where we worked and lived, and he tells us that he had seen Asqeriu with his own eyes, he had even seen him very close and had noticed that only one mole on his cheek, he it was not, but the mark was clearly visible that it had been removed by some surgical intervention.
Kamberi says that we left for Saranda that night and after traveling all night, the next day we were in the city, we looked for him everywhere in bars and hotels, we even asked for the help of the police in Saranda, but in vain, he had left. Even the reaction of the leaders of the Saranda Police was very indifferent, as they also spoke with the center in Tirana…!
But the peak of all doubts was the year 1987, when we decided to exhume the body of our mother and brother to move it from the cemetery of the village of Lubonje to the cemetery of Pogradec and bury them in Pogradec. It was a bequest from my mother, to bury me in the grave of Asqeri’s son.
All within us, we kept the doubt about the great enigma, that after 16 years, we would discover that enigmatic grave to carry out the exhumation of our brother. At first we opened the grave of brother Asqeri, we knew all the characteristics, the length, but above all what would convince us was a gold tooth that Asqeri had in the front of his mouth”.
(Kamberi tells with emotion that moment when the gravediggers were opening the grave, their hearts were beating hard and the moment comes when the grave is opened).
“First we took the skull, say Kamberi, and looked at the teeth. We put the jaws in a newspaper and the corpse had all its teeth like white beads and not a single tooth was missing.
The gold tooth was nowhere to be seen; in its place were the completely pristine original teeth of the corpse that was in our brother’s place. Also, the shoes were too big around number 44, when Askeriu had a small foot number 40.
However, he adds, it was only the gold tooth that convinced us that another person had been put in the coffin, that’s why they wouldn’t let us open it.
We quietly took the corpse, since it was 1987 and there were consequences, and we reburied it with a broken heart in the Pogradec cemetery, together with our mother. Since that year, we have been worried about where is our brother?! We have started a detailed investigation.
In the years of transition, we have learned, through the former leaders of Geology, that when he was in Geology, a former head of the Department of Internal Affairs in those years, Kadri Ismailati, who often called him to work and disappeared for two or three days…. !
For me, there is no doubt now that my brother is somewhere far from the homeland and is currently 84 years old…! We are waiting for a sign of life from him, as I am convinced that my brother is alive and he was given an important mission by the government of that time in the years of communism…!
But a request of ours with photos some time ago to a TV show about missing people, (we also took the photo), we received a phone call from afar: Hello, who are you? A laid back and very calm voice:
-“I’m Never Xixho”, we were stunned…!
-Are you at all, Xixho?! – Don’t look for me…! The phone call was cut off immediately after a sigh and, indeed, his life has turned into a sigh”, concludes Asqeri’s brother, Kamber Xixho, who will continue to search for him without interruption, recalling a popular expression that says that: “Hope dies last”./Memorie.al