By Entela Resuli
Memorie.al / Often when a certain event happens to us in life, it holds us close to us for a long time, maybe even forever. This is what happened to Ilmi Qazim, who asked to share with us a part of his life story that has to do with an event that happened in the distant year 1967. At that time Ilmi was 22 years old. There were 7 children in the family and they lived in the village of Çepan in Skrapar. One day, for one of the children, Latif, 27 years old, the family received bitter news, from which they would never be separated. According to what was said, he had drowned himself in the Vjosa River. But to this day, the family is still not clear if he really drowned himself, and if so, for what, or… they killed him!
Ilmiu, today 78 years old, tells us this story in detail, which we understand that he has been telling and telling for 56 years, with every friend and friend he meets. His whole life has revolved around finding out why his brother passed away under those circumstances.
Here is what happened according to Ilmi, the youngest son of this family. On May 12, 1967, in their family in the village of Çepan, they announced that their 27-year-old son, Latif Fodulli, an engineer at the Police Military Plant, had been found dead near Tepelena, but had committed suffocation himself and this was called a crime hostile, so they could take his body, or not.
According to Ilmi, his father, Saliu, said: “The government educated him and put him to work, so I don’t want him to be an enemy of the people, so his body should be burned.”
The 75-year-old continues his story, telling us that:
“After a few hours, another group of party members brought him the news that ‘he is not an enemy of the people, so you can take him.’ At the same time, from Poliçan by car and from Çepan on foot with a stretcher, they left for the Tepelena morgue to take the dead body.
From the Internal Affairs Branch of that district, no one was allowed to see the corpse because it had been badly decomposed from staying in the water for about 15 days (April 28 to May 12).
It was closed by gluing, welding, in a tin coffin and was sent on May 13, to the village. There, by order of the First Secretary of the Party of the district of Skrapar, which was given to the doctor of the area, it was also not allowed to open the hermetically sealed arkmort and to see the corpse by the parents and family members.
On May 14, 1967, the funeral took place, attended by all the residents and no employees of the local administration. Socially or “delegated”, a member of the factory’s party committee came…No follow-up words were held.”
Was the truth also buried?
Thus, with the burial of the 27-year-old, many questions were buried that would remain unanswered to this day for the family of the deceased.
They buried the boy they weren’t sure who he was and everything was suspicious, according to them. But this did not prevent the family members from becoming discouraged and stopping their search there. They had a hard time finding peace…!
After several days, months, but even years, the family members made oral and official written requests for the reasons for Latif Fodulli’s death and received only one answer: “The party will solve this issue”.
“Kadri Hazbiu, in the two meetings he had with his older brother, at that time an officer in the border departments, said that: ‘They were better men than Latif and they drowned themselves…! He had seen the world with his own eyes and when he was assigned to work in the Poliçan farm, he got bored and drowned in the river…! Tell the parents to do their best and accept the pension…” – says Ilmiu.
Although, a year later, the family received an answer, which the family members were not satisfied with and continued their search.
“The district prosecutor of Berat at that time, Irakli Puka, in an answer from 1968, the only one we have officially in writing from this body, says: “We have not discovered the reason for Latif’s death, but the parents will receive the pension receive, after completing some documents…”!
Meanwhile, the head of the Republic’s Investigation, Qemal Lame, in a written response sent to Ilmi, Latif’s younger brother after 1980, says that: “We have no other eyewitnesses to the event in question to bring any other variant than that official until now”.
The legal expert doctor, professor Spiro Çipi, in the meeting insisted on by Ilmiu at the end of May 1967, in Tirana, told him that: “The body of the victim that he had examined, according to the order he had received, in the Tepelena morgue, was identified as Latif Fodulli, but the corresponding photos were not allowed to be seen by anyone…”!
The family members surrendered one by one over the years in search of the truth, the only one who stands and continues is Ilmiu.
He has searched all the archives: that of the State Central, that of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, of the Police Plant, of the “7 November” High School, of the Skrapar district, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of the Ministry of Industry and Mining, of the Ministry of Education, the State Archive of Construction, and could only find six documents that show that Latifi was a student in Vlora and Tirana, a student in China, a managing and implementing geological technician in eight industrial and agricultural works in Albania, where the work his and the results have been nothing but excellent.
In his personal suitcase are many of his manuscripts as an artist, writer, poet, playwright, illustrator and a 404-page diary. It is said that his diary kept in Poliçan was taken as material evidence by the former prosecutor of the case…! And no other document was found so far in these state offices of both economic and social systems for these over 50 years. Attempts to find any documents or data from the high schools where he studied in the People’s Republic of China were all unsuccessful…!
What was told about this event…?!
According to Ilmi Qazim, forensics could not “discover” the reason for this enigmatic death. According to him, the family was not given any type of scientifically substantiated written answer. Verbally just that: “Suffocation from a nervous breakdown”! It is also a fact that no family member was persecuted later.
For this concern, Latif’s younger brother, in the future, but especially after 1990, with all the difficulties that arose at every step of his life and work as a soldier and working to get closer to the truth of this puzzle, decided in addition to studying and deciphering even the smallest document from Latif’s manuscripts), to meet all those people who have known him in work and life.
Ilmiu says that, among other things, in 2007, he met an eyewitness of the last hours of the day that Latif passed away.
He confesses that: “Mr. N. Nurçe says: ‘I wanted to meet Latif when I saw him having dinner, because I am also from a distant origin from Çepan, but I left it for the next day, when I was with some friends from Përmet, having dinner together with a bottle of beer each. When I asked him at the hotel the next day in the morning, if the Police engineer had come out, he answered: “Oh, two people came to Latif at two o’clock in the morning and told him: “get up Latif, our car is running away” and he went with them…! We also heard this statement from a well-wisher of our family who happened to meet the hotelier a few days after the incident, and as he said, the hotelier had also disclosed this to the investigators of the case, when they went to Këlcyrë!
And that’s how Ilmi Qazim’s life has passed, all these years, in search of the cause: what happened to his brother 53 years ago.
He also admits that he has often become annoying to his family and relatives, but he has no intention of stopping. Of the brothers, only Ilmi survived. So far he has published 3 books about his brother Latif. The most recent one is entitled “I loved… when they hated me”, are parts of his diary that Ilmiu has kept as the most precious thing he has as a memory.
Even though he is 75 years old today, he has no intention of giving up, neither the publications about neither his brother nor the efforts to find the reason for Latif Fodulli’s death. Memorie.al