By Reshat Kripa
The sixth part
-“People who have never known dictatorship and tyranny find it easy to give in to the rhetoric about freedom, forgetting the simple and terrible reality of oppressing the mind where it exists consciously”.-
Giovani Sartori: “Once again for the theory of democracy”.
Memorie.al/ Robert Krasta, had made it a habit that on every anniversary of his parents, he would go to the cemetery and place a bunch of flowers on their grave. He would look at the picture stamped on the porcelain and start a conversation with them. He had been doing this habit for a long time. The conversation seemed to soothe his soul. He told them about everything that had happened in the family. Sometimes, when he found difficulty in something, he asked them for help, and it seemed to him that they answered him. Perhaps this could be some guess of his own, yet he believed it.
Continues from the previous issue
– However, I will stay here and wait for him until he comes. It landed on a concrete curb near the entrance to the Branch. A policeman approached him and spoke to him in a soft voice:
– Mother! Don’t hang around. He doesn’t come for a few days. He went to a meeting at the Ministry. The mother looked at him with a warning on her face. He seemed like a good guy. – Do you have a mother, son?
– Yes, my mother and she look like you. He sits at the window all day and waits for me to come back, because this job of ours also has risks.
– Do you see it? Mothers are made to suffer all their lives worrying about their sons. My heart is broken. They kidnapped my best son, like some criminal. My son is innocent.
– Don’t worry mom, if he was like that, he will probably come out soon.
– Thank you, my son, for the kind words!
He got up and started to leave thinking. He immediately thought of going to the Party Committee, to meet the First Secretary, whom he knew.
It was a man in his fifties, a former partisan who had fought in the battalion commanded by her husband. He thought that such a thing would help him. He went there and presented the request to the secretary, who was at the gate. He took down the name and spoke to someone on the phone. The mother noticed that there was something wrong with that conversation. Secretary got up, closed the window of the counter so that his mother wouldn’t hear and when he finished he said:
– It’s not here. It went with service.
– How is it not here? Has everyone fled this town? Who governs then?
– I know how to tell them.
Mother left and sat in a nearby Cafe-Bar, overlooking the entrance of the Party Committee. He remembered the scene many years ago when he had asked to meet with Enver Hoxha. Even then they had told him that it was not. Apparently this was a popular way of conveyance. But her determination had made her meet him. He would do the same today. He would wait until after work to find out if he had been told the truth.
– What will you get, no? – said the waiter.
– A cup of coffee.
The waiter brought her coffee and she was drinking it slowly. Meanwhile, a man entered and since the few tables were full of people, he addressed mother Gjylo:
– Can I also sit down and drink a coffee?
The mother motioned for him to sit down.
– Boy, we also made me a coffee, as you know, – said the newcomer.
Apparently, he was a regular customer of that bar. Both drank their coffees without speaking. Finally he said:
– Where did we get my friend?
– From the city.
– I see you very upset. What’s wrong with you? I told you that maybe it can help you.
The mother looked at him with caution. Who was this person who had opened up to him so quickly? Was it some provocateur sent by the State Security?!
– All the judges of the world gather and do not solve my problems.
– Why? Is there anything that cannot be solved in this world?
– Such is my situation.
– God, he doesn’t understand you at all. What mountain has fallen on you so that you can’t get up?
– It is a mountain so high that I cannot overcome it.
– Don’t let yourself go, my wife.
– Last night I got the worst blow.
– What shot?
– They stole the light of my eyes and threw it into hell.
– I told you, in hell.
– In prison?
– I do not know. That’s why I’m here today.
– Who is the light of your eyes?
– My son, who else? My farmer, Agron Canaj.
The old man was thinking. This last name reminded him of a wartime story.
– Canaj…! Canaj…! This last name reminds me of an old friend. What do you have to do with Bexhet Canajn?
Mother Gjyla looked at the unknown.
– It was my husband.
The old man looked at him in surprise.
– For faith! – He said, hitting his forehead with his hand. – I just leaked! How did I not know you? Thirty years have passed since that dark day. I am Syrjau, the one who brought the bodies of Bexhet and Sabri.
– Syrjau? How is it possible? But how was he transformed like this, black man?
– Yes, that’s me. Do you remember that black day when I brought the bodies of Bexhet and Sabri? I was a young man, imbued with a sense of patriotism and ready to give my life for it. But God did not want me to be killed. He wanted the best. He wanted Bexheti and Sabri. They were much better than me.
Fate had ordained that I should suffer. How I wish I had had their luck. At least I would not look at this enmity that has been opened between blood brothers. I’m sorry to talk to you like this, but my heart hurts. She is the one who says these words. I did twenty years in prison. Take a good look. I’m only fifty years old, but I look seventy. Prison, you left me in this state.
Syrjau was silent. Mother Gjyla remembered the moment when he came to their house, to bring the corpse of her husband, killed in battle. He was a young man and quite handsome. But now he had in front of him a man, prematurely old, a man who had lost everything. Who had put him in this condition?! Mother Gjyla could not answer this question.
– Why did they punish you?
– You know, I was part of the nationalist gang. After the war, we were put on the losing side and we had to pay for it with our lives. So my father was shot, while I was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison, of which I served twenty. But let’s leave this conversation for now. Tell me, why have you imprisoned your son?
– How do I know, poor thing? He was arrested last night. I have come to see the First Secretary. He was friends with Bexheti. He will surely wait for me and explain everything to me.
– I would like it to be as you say, but I don’t believe it. You have now become a reactionary family. Exactly, to these families, everyone leaves.
Mother Gjyla looked out the window. Without leaving the building of the Party Committee the secretary. He got up suddenly and in the blink of an eye he came forward.
– Friend Ali, please, I have come to discuss something with you.
– Friend Gjyla, I’m sorry, but I can’t. Now I have an important meeting, so I’m in a hurry. Go inside and present your problem to the second secretary.
– I think we should discuss that problem together. You were Bexheti’s closest friend and not his second secretary.
– I’m sorry but I cannot.
– Thank you for your consideration. When I came here, I thought you would find some time to talk. Your friends lied to me; they told me you were in service. Now you don’t have time. Thank you again though. Keep calm. I won’t bother you anymore.
He turned his arms, leaving the First Secretary stunned by the courage with which the woman had spoken to him. Until that day, no one had dared to oppose him, and now, here was this woman slapping his disgust in his face. What was the force that drove him to do such an act? It was the sudden disappointment and love of a mother for her son. The First Secretary, a fanatical clerk, was unable to understand this.
Mother Gjyla entered the club again and addressed Syrjau:
– You were right; it wasn’t even worth talking to.
– Don’t be upset. You have to become strong. Other waves await you.
– Goodbye, I’m leaving on my own.
– For anything you need, I will be ready to help you.
Mother Gjyla left, making a sign with her hand. And what help could he give to the tall man, who did not know how to cope with his own life. However, he said the right thing. It showed his spirit. Two drops of tears flowed from his eyes. He took out the handkerchief and wiped them. At that moment, she believed she had lost her son.
The cell where Agron was locked up was a dungeon, no bigger than a chicken coop. A heavy iron gate was the only communication with the corridor. There was no window. The cell could be ventilated by the space left by the gate at its end, about a finger, from which a ray of light entered. When Agron entered, the door was closed and he was left in the dark. He could not see anything. He began to walk more slowly, like a sleepy man.
He crashed into a wall. He took two steps to the right and hit the wall. He turned back and again the wall. From this he realized that his cell should not be larger than 2 X 1.5. He felt a heavy smell pierce his nostrils. It smelled of musk, mixed with that of ammonia. Well, the smell of moss came from humidity, but the smell of ammonia, what was he looking for there? Surely someone must have peed. Maybe some other unfortunate, like him. But why?
Didn’t they take them out to go to the bathroom? He looked for a place to sit, but he didn’t find one. He leaned against the wall and waited. Little by little he began to distinguish the contours of the cell. It was as much as he had predicted. There was nothing inside, not a bed and not even a chair to sit on. There were only two concrete couches in the corners of the cell, which he had not been able to see before. He sat down on one of them and began to think:
“Certainly, the confinement in this cell was done in order to warn me of the consequences. They want me to denounce my friends. This is a kind of pressure. Keep Agro! Your manhood will show here. I will request a meeting with the mayor and ask him the reason for this treatment. Even if I was guilty, I should have been punished as much as I deserved and I should not have been treated like this. This is barbarism. Only in Nazi prisons were people treated this way.”
You remembered last night. It was an evening of joy. Irida’s birthday had made their hearts happy. Wasn’t this joy that killed him? No, no, there was no way. How could his daughter’s joy kill him, alone? She remembered her daughter’s words at the time of her arrest:
– Dad, why did they tie you up? Don’t take dad!
He felt a pain in his soul. Would Ms. Irida be able to withstand this blow? How would they treat him at school? Would they discriminate against him? Such a thing pierced his heart. When he thought of the consequences she could have, he felt his heart drop. Mother, could she bear this pain? She suffered from high blood pressure. Agron suffered a cerebral hemorrhage.
Yes Lumtua, how would he cope with the situation? How would they live on only her salary and mother’s pension? Three women without any support. All these thoughts were running around in his head. He was not good at answering them. In that miserable state, in which he was, he was more worried about the future of his loved ones. Finally he collected it and said to himself:
– Still! Now you have to think about how to act. You should weigh each answer carefully. Investigators are masters of their craft. They get the words out with a hook. You need to be careful with them. After we cross this river, we’ll see and do it later.
These words seemed to calm his soul. He began to see things with a more realistic eye. After all, this too would pass and everything would be fine. He was innocent and I had nothing to fear. He heard the keys rattling in the gate. Enter Myfiti, the cell guard.
– Come and take care of your personal needs, – he said in a dry and monotone voice.
The needy were nearby, at the end of the corridor. Inside it was also a faucet. Agron fulfilled his needs and went out.
– Where is the sink? – He asked.
Myfiti laughed out loud
– Would you like a sink too, sir! – said with a mocking voice, do you also want warm water? Wash at the tap when needed.
He went back in, washed his hands and threw a few handfuls of water into his eyes. Then he took out his handkerchief and wiped himself. When he entered the cell, he said to the guard: – I want to meet the head of the Branch. Memorie.al