From Shpendi Topollaj
Memorie.al / An old officer of the Navy at the Pashaliman Naval Base, told the young officers, who had gathered around him that afternoon in their free time, while discussing love, a topic that is a bit foreign in the army .
– “They look like some strange things sometimes. If you tell someone that once on the island of Sazan where I served, there was an inhabited village with about forty houses, they will hardly believe it. But he existed and his name was Sebep. A great curiosity, a sailor from Shkodra, every time he was given the opportunity, he would go out and see the ruins left under some wild figs. The rabbits would pass by him, without being afraid at all, because they were used to us, and he would sit in a shadow and think, until his mind was filled and he would return to his friends. When they asked him what the hell he wanted there, that he was not even an archaeologist, he answered: – I am an archaeologist of love. I sit there wondering if the people of this village fell in love. How did they meet? Where did they meet? What sacrifices they made for love. That I myself have a boyfriend, that you know that I am engaged and when I miss him, I don’t know what I would do just to meet him once. Our service as sailors is a bit long. A word of mouth four years, I took it, but it seems four centuries to me. You have no way of understanding it… so be surprised when you see me thinking for a long time”.
And Peter’s eyes almost filled with tears, because that was the boy’s name. But the problem was that, just like Peter, he missed that girl too. She had left one day and arrived in Vlora.
From the Post Office, through the Navy headquarters, although it was not allowed, she announced that they should tell Peter that his fiancee had arrived and was waiting for him at the Wharf. The operator, his friend from Lezha, asked her to pick him up once more in half an hour, to talk to Pjetri and he would give him an answer.
Then, as he left another at the switchboard, he ran to those ruins and gave Peter the good news. He couldn’t believe it and his heart started beating hard. In the meantime, he began to think and was upset when he remembered that, no matter how busy he was, they couldn’t give him permission at that hour, that he had no way to go, since the supply tug only left the next morning. Seeing that it was useless to ask for permission, he decided to swim away.
For the nimble, he didn’t have his friend, but keep in mind that it’s a full 9.8 miles to Vlora. “I will do what I will,” he said, “and tomorrow afternoon I will return with the tug that will bring supplies of water and food.” They condemned me, let them condemn me. I’m isolated because I’m isolated here on the island. So it’s worth it.”
He spoke to his fiancée and told her to wait for him for a few hours, as he will come to her, dead or alive. He showed what he was going to do to that friend and left without wasting time. He went to the gas station, undressed and wrapped his clothes in a plastic wrap, smeared himself with grease.
He threw Dengun in uniform on his back and then, without wasting time, gave him a run from the shore, not wanting to know about the long distance. He entered the water and began to swim. He crossed the Mexo channel and sometimes swimming and sometimes relaxing a little, he made it. You are sailors yourself, and you know what it means to swim all that distance.
After eight hours, tired and exhausted, he arrived at the shore. She continued to wait for him at the flower garden where he had told her and was surprised to see Peter who looked as if he had come out of hell.
He cleaned himself as well as Peter could and got dressed. They spent the whole night outside and the next day they walked around town, where after they had lunch, she walked him to the wharf where the tug was to leave. When his friends saw him, they were happy and said that the alarm had been raised on the island, as they knew he was drowned.
It is understood that that friend had kept the order and had not said a word to them. Then he also felt guilty, since he was strictly forbidden to connect the soldiers with anyone who could ask them on the phone.
Arriving after an hour at the ward, Pjetri was taken to the commander Pandi Opari, a wonderful man, but who had completely lost him due to the sailor’s sudden disappearance. Peter gave his explanations, but they were insufficient for them to forgive him, so the commander gave him twenty days of disciplinary arrest. At the end of the twenty days, the guard officer took him out of the isolation room and took him back to Commander Pandi.
– Have you learned, Peter? – He asked sharply.
– Why? – Pjetri said to the respondent.
– So: do you regret running away from military service without permission?
– Comrade Commander! Do you love the truth?
– Speak, Peter!
– I knew I was going to jail, but I’m not sorry. I gave a proof of love and loyalty and I am proud of that.
Pandi listened to him until the end, then got up from the table, hugged Peter and handed him a piece of paper and said:
– That’s why I’m giving you a month’s leave. Go stay with your fiancée because you both deserve it. You know how to protect your love, so you are being rewarded. That love wants bravery and sacrifice”.
When the officer finished telling, Agimi, a young, tall, powerful and very handsome officer, gave his opinion without being asked by anyone:
– Those from the department worried in vain. They were to be alarmed, if Peter were to swim to Italy.
This fell like a bomb among that group of officers. It was 1975 and the Plenary Sessions of the Central Committee of the PPSh, for the condemnation of the hostile activity of the “putschists” in the Army, had not finished yet. Therefore, such hints sounded very bad. Right then and there, no one said anything to Agimi.
In fact, no one should have taken it from him as if he had said it on purpose. He was an officer’s son, who was not only an old partisan, but also one of the first 200 communists.
Tanker Murat Agaraj was known everywhere in the Army as an honest and hardworking man. His dream was to make his two sons Agim and Iliri officers, to serve the Motherland, and this dream came true. Not only Agimi, but also the youngest, had completed their studies at the Navy School. Agimi served here in submarine No. 3, while Iliri, who was appointed commander of the “torpedo boat”, at the Shengjin base.
Since school, Agimi had played basketball with the “Flamurtari” team. He stood out as a sportsman with great values and as such, he had won the love of all the people of Vlonia. Smart and cultured, since he read a lot, he was at first puzzled by the strict rules of the Army.
He wanted a girl and ran away when his mind was full, when he was not on duty and every time the alarm was given, he would arrive first, having arranged to be notified at once.
One of his friends, or fans, would take him back on the motorcycle and bring him back at the right time. Only once, apparently because he was very tired, the submarine commander, Jaku, with two others, during the inspection, caught him sleeping on duty.
The submarine was sailing and he was assigned to the spare periscope of the fighting cabin. This was a serious offense and could not be taken lightly, as the consequences could be serious.
This is how the surveillance system is organized in submarines during periscope depth navigation with ‘PDNU’, which means Underwater Diesel Operation. This mode of navigation, which did not go more than ten meters deep, was preferred to save energy, to charge the batteries and to ventilate the internal environments of the submarine.
The dead corner left by the Central post is covered by this second one. So the responsibility is very big, that anything can happen. Dawn was not excused.
He manfully accepted the mistake even when this issue was raised in the collective. But his friends protected him. Even Jaku was satisfied with that, as he knew that it made no sense to punish such an officer. From that day on, they became even more connected. Jaku, was content only by not putting him in the service every now and then.
So Agimi sat in his cabin and read all day. And he listened to music on the radio, on the station he liked. But he still felt insulted. When they came ashore after five days, they learned that they were assigned as a crew to destroy the sunken Italian ship, which during the war with Greece, had served for artillery.
Jaku defined the tasks, since the destruction of the ship of almost 50 meters in length would be carried out with a torpedo. Strict measures were taken and after ensuring the right parameters, the ship was spotted from a distance of about 1,000 meters, directly from the Izvor spillway. The accuracy of the shot was not even in doubt.
But… it had happened that a sailor, during cleaning, had moved the scale of the azimuth circle on the periscope by half a degree. When the command “Fire” was given, the torpedo moved normally, first landed, then took the right direction, but everyone gasped when they saw that it was missing the hull of the sunken ship by eight meters.
The officers almost lost heart, when they saw that it continued to slide towards the coast, where the Chief of the General Staff himself, with the command of the Fleet, was following the action with binoculars. The torpedo, which was of the “Gas – steam 53-39” type, was not one of those acoustic ones that follow the target according to the noise it makes.
She walked until she got to the mud and when she couldn’t anymore, she stopped the gyroscope and stopped. It was lucky that it didn’t crack, that must have been a mistake. It is not known why, maybe because there was no damage, but those from the ministry behaved gently, saying that these are similar things.
But now a no less problem arose: who would be the man who would dismantle the torpedo?! Agimi immediately volunteered. And after him, Koço Lubonja and Thoma Rubia. The three with great courage and coolness entered this danger. They were sweating profusely, but they didn’t give up.
They worked patiently and made it possible to avoid the great danger, since the torpedo has not a little, but almost two quintals of explosives, very powerful. All three of these officers were congratulated by their comrades as if they were heroes. It didn’t take long and everyone was speechless when they were told that Agim Agaraj had been arrested.
“There is no way,” argued the majority. – Why should he be arrested? Not only him, but also his brother, someone said. Murat’s sons? Communists of the first hours? There is no way! Yes, there are many possibilities, since they wanted to escape. And you know what? With the torpedo boat commanded by Iliri. They wanted to run away from Shengjin.
But don’t you remember that he once said that that soldier could very well have fled to Italy? Well, he had it in mind for a while. He called himself a great sportsman because here he didn’t have the opportunity to show his talent to the end, as they put him in services. He did not like socialism. He wanted the West…! Decadent music was also heard here in the ward. Even in submarines”.
A few months later the trial took place. It was presided over by a military court which sentenced those young men to eight years in prison. It is understood that Murat did not get the job in 1941. Agimin was sent to Ballsh at first. Then to Bari’s Neck. In Ballsh, it was something different than they used to play volleyball or any other sport, but here it was bad, really bad.
It was understandable that Agimi, who could not stand the rigidity of military rules, would become a problem for the command here in prison. That’s why it was never found out why that wonderful boy, just a week before serving his sentence and getting out of prison, died…!
They said the cause was tetanus. But come and find out now, why did the one who had said quite innocently, that that sailor from Shkodra, could run away to Italy, and he himself and his brother, had no problem going there with four torpedoes, if he had it in the plan. That boy who could not find his friend, who sometimes ran away to his girlfriend. Memorie.al