By Marcel Hila
Memorie.al / Sokol Mula’s uncle, Kadri Mula, had been on the run for years. Lived in America. Deli Mula’s family was sent into exile. Then after three years he was released. The children of Kadri’s brothers did not go to higher education, even though they excelled in their studies. They were from the village of N. Because of this biography, together with his uncle’s son, Dritan, Urim was sent as a soldier to Xenio’s department. They made bunkers. The distant uncle, Kadriu, of work and reading, there, he made, let’s say, a ‘career’: an important figure of the “Alhqipja Dykrenare” organization. He published, spoke on the “Voice of America” Radio and kept in touch with important leaders of the political diaspora, everywhere.
One day, the ward officer, the commander, called and told both of them, Urim and Dritan that they could go home on a three-day leave. They were surprised, because they had not asked for it. He filled out the papers and started. The young people were surprised. They now had to go to the trucking agency, find a car and drive away. This joy fell as if from the sky. They started. It was not far, a few kilometers.
They were young, “eating” the road. They had just taken a turn, when two men, dressed and undressed, appeared in front of the two soldiers.
“You, enter the car”! – They ordered them. An ambulance was parked next to the canal, on the side of the road. Both cousins were frightened. Even the sight of those two people, who spoke in a threatening tone, terrorized them.
They rode. Inside there were thick, loose curtains that did not allow light to enter. The vehicle started. The young people did not know where they started. He panicked. They traveled like this for about an hour. Then, the ambulance stopped.
“Get down”! – They ordered them. The boys came down. They saw themselves in a yard. They had never been here before. Where were they? They put them in two different rooms that each had a bed, a table, but no windows. Lighting was provided by a ceiling lamp. The door closed. After about two hours, which never passed, someone took Urim.
They were taken somewhere, to a furnished environment, with armchairs, with a large table. The office had light coming in from the windows. He, as if frightened, was not recovering.
“Hey, boy, how are you”? – did one, who seemed to be important, but who was not introduced.
-“Good”! – The fakir answered with shyness.
-“What will you eat”?
-“E? Nothing! But tell me where I am and why you brought me here”?!
The two men did not show. They started pretending to joke, but suddenly they became gloomy and sullen. Sometimes they were joking and sometimes they were serious and threatening. They did not answer his question. The boy was terrified. He wanted to know where he was. Even the captors, deciphering the anxiety in his eyes, because the eyeball orbits were restless, as well as from the uncontrolled movements, realized that he was experiencing anxiety.
-“Calm down”! – said the one who seemed to be the most important, because he posed and tried to use an authoritative way of communication.
-“Listen! You are here because the Party wants you. We know you well. It’s true that you are outclassed, as a family you were in exile, but the Party also thinks about you, educates you, protects you, and … you also have to answer to it, when it asks you or entrusts you with a task”.
The congratulation was overwhelming. He listened, but he did not know how to catch the essence of the words of the one who spoke to him with a little threat inside.
-“Do you love the party? – the question came to him, how to bring him to himself.
– “Yes”! – He answered instinctively and completely confused.
– “So, very good. You are here because an important task awaits you. The party believes that you can do it, well even…”.
Urim was clearly still in shock.
– “Don’t be afraid. You will have our help for everything”.
– And the bombshell question: – “Do you have an uncle in America?”
“Yes”! – answered automatically, without thinking twice Congratulations.
– “Kadri Mulaj, your uncle, is a member of an important organization there … you, that is, we, send you there, and you, being next to him and … support and…”!
– Urimi continued not to understand anything. The handsome man continued: “Being his nephew and standing next to him, you also become important.”
-“What should I do”? – The question came out and he gave them money.
-“You? Nothing! Besides, you will participate in the meetings of the organization, in discussions, because… they hold the meetings in closed rooms, where very few people participate. The documents you will draft will be made in two copies. For example, the minutes of the meetings, the one that shows what was discussed and who discussed it… – (and the authoritarian demon was looking at Ngulazi) – hand over one copy to the Party… we have our people there. Give it to them. They come and look for you… you will recognize them, it’s not difficult at all…”!
The deserted soldier was standing frozen, speechless, silent, and full of fear. He was horrified to think that state security had people operating freely in America and surveilling his uncle. Urimi had not had the chance to know his grandmother, but from the discussions at home, he had formed a very good idea about her.
-“These are masquerades”! – came to mind. – ‘I want to be my aunt’s spy? Did you lower yourself this far? No, no, work that is not done. It’s not even a question.”
– “Huh?” – The question of one of them came to him like a hammer – “do you accept”?
-“You” – said the other – “you will sign these papers and in order to gain our credibility, you will be a witness to your cousin, the one who came here with him”.
– “As if he did agitation and propaganda. He will go to prison and do a few years, while you arrive straight to America”!
– “Be a witness to my cousin”?!
– “Yes, and the paths of life open up and go to America…”!
– “No, work that cannot be done”! – Urim answered firmly.
The two men became wild, enraged, blackened. One took the situation seriously and started with convincing methods:
-“Why do not you accept”?!
– “How do I accept you?” – Spoke bravely Urim – ‘I betray you uncle? It can’t be done! To witness to my cousin for things he did not do? It doesn’t even cross my mind.”
That serious man, who was competent and perhaps important, but who didn’t present himself, said: “Think carefully, because we don’t pray to whom. Think. You have a chance, you go to America, but – and he paused, – if you didn’t accept, prison awaits you”.
A feeling of anxiety and terror came over the young man. He reacted innocently: “I didn’t do anything, why should I go to prison”?
-“We know that. But go to your room and think. Answer tomorrow. Choose prison or America”.
They took him to the room. The front door was opened, the cousin’s voice was heard, full of fear, he also asked questions, but did not receive an answer. They took him to the room where Urim had been a little while ago.
Urimi had a thought. Should the cousin be a witness? Work that was not done. Big shame. They grew up together! Scandal. It’s not even a question. The night was long, endless, never ending…!
The next morning they took him upstairs. It was these two. At first they frowned, and then they became serious.
-“Have you changed your mind or not?”
– “No, work that cannot be done”! – the bunker soldier spoke decisively.
– “Look, your cousin agrees to be your witness and go to America…”!
It seemed to Sokol an incredible fiction. “You are seriously lying!” – he thought.
-“Will you go to prison or to America? We have solved it! It is you who is not deciding properly”.
When they said this, Urim thought it was a lie. “So even my cousin didn’t accept”! – he thought.
– “No, I cannot do such a thing to my cousin or uncle. Do as you like”!
-“Look, go one more time and think, then, tomorrow we will talk for the last time! Do you understand? When you arrive by car in Qafë i Bari, then you will realize that you have missed your chance! America is losing. Go think”!
They took him back to the room. A great commotion seized him. To play the role of the good nephew and betray your uncle? Or to be a traitor and destroy his cousin’s life? What about the family? Did he find out that he had agreed to enter this dirty job? America lured him badly, with all its tempting power. The fear of Qafë Bari slaughtered him. All this was brought to his mind, he was confused, he was hit…!
The door opened. They were taking it again. This should be the last.
– “Hey” – they said – “do you have any thoughts”?
– “I can’t do this to my aunt or my cousin. Do what you want!
Two others received the Desert Wish. A closed car drove him several times somewhere, long and then,… then they put the bars. They took him to Kukës. There, three witnesses appeared that he had committed the crime of agitation and propaganda. Among them is his cousin, Dritani. They sentenced him to seven years in prison. He heard the decision from the mouth of the judge. Then, one day, a car took him to Qafë Bari prison.
– “Congratulations Mulaj” – shouted the prison teller.
– “The people of the house have come.”
The greeting came out. He walked to the place where the family meetings were held.
Without his mother, father and little brother. They asked him. Then he also asked about the other people in the family, about the sisters and uncles. Even for cousins. He also asked about Dritan, who made him feel ashamed, he became a witness. It wasn’t a game. But he wanted to know how his work ended. He was left with a puzzle: Did he end up in prison like him or not?
-“How is Dritani”?
With a hand signal, his father indicated that he had escaped. It had arrived in America.
– “Yes, Hamdija has received a letter saying that she is there safe and sound”! Memorie.al