By Dr. Sadik Bejko
Memorie.al / The story below is related to a fog, to the fact of why, for what fault in 1973, I was ordered to leave my job at the Albanian Radio-Television, Tirana, to go work as a miner in the Memaliaj mine. Officially, I was told (it was also said in public) that, when I was a teacher in Tepelena in 1963, I forged a school certificate. Did I falsify or did I not falsify any receipt, this fact has remained somewhat vague and I need to clarify it finally. Did this issue of a forged receipt in 1963 serve as an elaborate pretext?!
Sometimes that issue of a forged receipt reminds me of that tale of a man who for years had hidden a snake with him (and why didn’t he know he had it), until one day the snake bit him! You have nothing to do with this. You have been bitten. The hidden snake left its poison and… Ran away…!
It is a treacherous dining!
A man, Bajram Brahimaj, from my village, from my neighborhood, was provided with a certificate of the seven-year school of Buz, Tepelena district, in 1963. He had not been a student of that school for a single day; therefore, he had not completed it at all the three-year schooling cycle, after primary school.
This Eid was not enough.
He continued the Pedagogical school in Gjirokastër by correspondence and managed to take the third year exams. His villagers, with their eyes wide open, did not like this Bajram idiocy; they did not like that he was taking high school without finishing the seventh grade. The denunciation letters were sent up… to the party and the government.
Then it was a favorable climate for letters, free espionage, from the people. (Mainly anonymous ones, since “Comrade Enver” himself had said publicly in a congress or plenum, that he started the working day with letters from the people)
The denunciation of forgery against Bajram B. was also based on the fact that Asim Brahimi, his brother, that year had been a teacher in Buz, in the school where the fake certificate was issued. This brother, now after ten years, in 1973, had become an important man. He had reached the rank of secretary of the Party Committee in the district of Tepelena, where he lived with his teacher wife and children.
Both brothers, when the forgery was discovered, pleaded guilty. Asim was removed from all party functions. They took him as a farm worker. They took away Bajram’s forged certificate, forbade him to continue high school… and let him work as a farmer in the village.
But why did I get involved in this village dirt…?!
At that time, in 1973, I was the editor of song lyrics at Albanian Radio – Television. I didn’t know what was happening behind my back in Tepelena.
But my signature was also on that fake receipt. That’s all it took. Those from Tepelena decided that I must have been a participant in the forgery, that I was also an undoubted forger. Meanwhile, no one tells me anything. After they had decided that I was a forger, they reported this to Prime Minister Mehmet Shehu. And the Prime Minister ordered that I go to work in the mine. The prime minister of a country issues an order in the wind, after no verification???
It looks like a bad legend, but it is completely true. Without notifying me, without judging me, they found me guilty and gave me the sentence.
A snake was eating me secretly…!
Why was my signature on that receipt? In 1963, I was appointed “Delegate of the Education section of the Tepelene district, in the 7-year school of the Municipality of Buzi”, delegated for the period when the two state exams, Language and Mathematics, would be held there.
This was then the practice: a teacher from another school assisted to observe the progress of the two language and mathematics exams, oral and written, which at that time were considered state exams.
I worked at the Izvor School, a school that did not yet have a seventh grade, that is, that did not hold exams. I called it an honor when I was appointed a delegate of the education section to observe the exams in Buz.
When the exams were over, I asked for the receipts for signature. The signature of the delegate was put on all the minutes where the results of the language and mathematics exams were, but also on the school records of those who finished 7 years that year. (Years later this education became eight years).
I signed the receipts, ended that school year, and started the holidays. That’s all I kept (and still remember today) from that story as a section delegate at Buz School.
In 1973, when I was told that I had forged a receipt…for B.B., it hit me hard. How did we do it and not know it?! And these Brahimaj brothers who have benefited from me a receipt, how come they have not come alive in so many years? I’ve done them a favor… a favor that could one day endanger me, and they don’t even know about it? They don’t know if I am alive or not in these over ten years? No New Year’s card, they didn’t remember to send me one?!
But they had nothing to thank me for. I was not part of that forgery. I had done them no favors. I knew nothing about that forgery. Now that the forgery was cracked, at least they should protect me. But it didn’t happen like that? They said that I also helped them in the forgery. How…???!!!
I went home in Tepelena to Asim Brahim, my childhood friend, my seven-year school and high school friend. Protect me, I told him. I know nothing about forgery. How did it happen? When did I do them such a favor that you never knew?
At the very least, you would have made me a lunch. Remind me with a phone call; with a letter…! You have not come alive to me for over ten years, and now you tell me the forgery we made together. Shame…!
He chewed…we did it, he said…!
Your snake eats you…hidden!
Grandma told me: don’t fight and don’t mess with those two bad guys. They have done evil. There is nothing to do anymore. God sometimes takes revenge.
I did not believe the prophecies of the old women then.
After a few years, I was caught by the former director of the Buz School, Spiro Naka from Gjirokastra. He tells me angrily: you and Hasim B. falsified our receipt and you wanted to give it to me.
I didn’t answer him back. He was the director. The certificate was officially issued with his authority as the head of the school. The receipt was filled in by hand, by the teacher in charge of the school (Asim Brahimaj). This teacher used to throw her report card and grades in the amza, in the school’s basic register. The receipt had the number of the student and the signatures and seal of the Buz School that issued it.
I am a teacher in Izvor, how did I become a forger in just three or four days as a delegate at that school…?! Did the delegate forge a receipt and throw it at the school housemasters?
As the prosecutor of that time in Tepelena said, prosecutor Th. Tutulani, “this one didn’t have the guts to hang on…it fell down by itself…”!
Without evidence, without the firm’s expertise, without confronting those who had the writing and signatures on the receipt, I was arbitrarily declared a forger…!
The employee of Tepelena, surnamed Gërbi, one with a head as yellow as a linden flower… showed me the receipt and said: “Here, you did it”. What have I done? “Is your signature there? So you are the forger.”
All of them, the offices, the state, had already decided that I was a forger. As if I screamed to the sky: no, I’m not.
No, I don’t accept it. They said: You are.
What was the value of my denial?
I told the prosecutor of Tepelena: I want you to prove that I am a forger or not. I got angry. “I will put it in the bank of the accusation,” he told me. “You have the burden of proof. And play ass, if you wanted. I will declare guilty”. That’s what I want, I told him: we announced. “You’re crazy”, he screamed? “You are completely crazy! You don’t understand that you have no business with me. A forgery of a receipt is punishable by up to three years. Ten years have passed. You are clean. And if you did, it’s already three times over. You are not caught by any law. Go to the office there.”
And he showed me the Party Committee. “That office has business with you. Don’t scratch it with me. Except”!
This was a strong prosecutor, surnamed Tutulani. From Berat. And he let out his mouth hard, back and forth. But, in short, this was the problem: “The law does not punish you, but the Prime Minister has an order for you. And you will go to the mine for falsifying a receipt… Carry out the order, and then ask for the right where you want…!
Years have passed. History, covered by time, emerges from under its dust and sometimes hurts. My two childhood friends B. Brahimi, the one who received the receipt and his brother, Asim, who helped him, still owe me an explanation. How was the receipt? Then they introduced it to me, but they never explained it to me afterwards. We met so many times after the fall of the dictatorship, and as if nothing had happened! Really, nothing happened between us?!
Or do men still have an open account between us? They put something on my back that cost me, and… Hide. An explanation of this world is not left as a hostage to be shot in the next world…!
Prosecutor Tutulani, indirectly then told me that the evil came from Him above, from “Olympus” that with, or without fault, shot with lightning.
What about the house snake that ate you secretly…?!
Evil was fueled not only by ‘Olympia’, but also by envy, and the small nameless wickedness of those around us, and the rest of us down here. Memorie.al