By Reshat Kripa
The ninth 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 willful oppression where it always exists”.
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.
– Why did you leave so soon? – said the waiter.
They did not speak, but were nodded by the two investigators. Meanwhile, the bandits continued to shake the brandy glasses one after the other.
– Let’s drink it a favor for our next prey!
The glasses were emptied into the mouths of two gluttons. Finally, they decided to leave. He paid the money and left, swinging left and right and holding each other.
– Did you hear what they said? – said the waiter to the bartender when they left. – Let’s drink a treat for the next game! Who will be the unfortunate one who will fall into their hands?
– Listen, don’t open your mouth again because you’ll get yourself in the neck. Let them say and do what they want. We are not able to stop them. Let’s look at our work and be silent. This is our task.
A group of young people entered the cafe and they were silent.
– I believe you rested? – Demiri told him, when he called Agron after three days in the office – I’m ready. Start and speak.
– Talk? And what can I say?
– I think I read the accusation the first time. Now I want your confirmation for you and your associates.
– I’m sorry, fellow investigator, but I think you have the wrong address. That accusation is not about me.
– God the investigator, – corrected Demiri.
– Ah, I’m sorry! But as far as I know the expression god is bourgeois and we are all against the bourgeoisie.
– I’m warning you. Answer my questions and don’t bore me with words.
– Then, here I am telling you, I have nothing to tell you.
– Right? What if I document it?
– I would like that too.
– OK then.
He opened the desk drawer and took out two handwritten letters.
– I believe you know the writing of these two letters.
He put it in front of his eyes. Above them, Agroni read written in capital letters:
In one he recognized the writing of the Prophet. He knew that writing well because he had seen it in the messy receipts that he submitted and that Agron found full of mistakes. In the other, it was the writing of Ibrahim. He also knew his writing as he had seen it in the reports he sent to the directorate for technical problems.
– I don’t know him, – he answered, not wanting to let her know that he knew who they were.
He had learned this from the short conversation with Rustem, on the rainy day in August.
– Then listen:
“I, the undersigned, Resul Idriz Sulejmani, born in 1935, with the duty of normist in the Electric Company of the city, with full conscience, declare the following:
Being a worthy son of my people and driven by the teachings of the Party and Comrade Enver Hoxha, seeing that some individuals, disguised under the guise of a revolutionary, are trying to sabotage the selfless work that is taking place in our country to build socialist society, I accuse Comrade Agron Canaj that, together with his two friends, Stefan Gjoka and Gjergji Panon, they are preparing to blow up the new turbine that will soon be installed in the hydropower plant. They do such an action in order to sabotage the work of the hydropower plant and to exercise terrorism among the company’s employees.
I heard such a thing from the conversation that these people had with each other and where I had approached by chance without catching their eyes. My friend Ibrahim Mehmeti, who happened to be with me in those moments, is also a witness to this.
I have made this deposit entirely of my own free will, without the slightest coercion. I am ready to declare it whenever it is needed by the competent bodies.
With respect: Rasul Suleimani”.
Demir closed it and took the other letter. It also had almost the same content as the first one, except that the names of Ylli Nivica, Gazmend Shpuza and Pëparim Seferit were added to it, all three employees of the company, the first two economists and the third financier. At the end of the statement was Ibrahim’s signature.
– Now what are you going to tell us? – said to Agron.
– Don’t remember that I will fall so easily into your trap? Don’t try to involve me in such fabricated tricks.
– I am warning you that, I will start using other methods, which will make you whistle.
– I want to meet the mayor.
– Your mother’s president? He refuses to talk to enemies of the people like you.
– Then you become as soon as possible what you think.
Demir rang the bell. Policeman Myfiti entered the office.
– Take it and take care of me. You know how to handle it yourself. I leave it in trust.
Myfit put handcuffs on him, took him by the arm and dragged him into a basement cell. He tied it to the hooks that were placed on the wall. He was left hanging by his hands and feet.
– You will stay like this until you accept.
He left, closing the door. Agron had not realized how much time had passed when he began to feel the pain in his wrists and ankles, precisely in those places where he had been tied and where all the weight of his body rested. Suddenly the spotlight came on and blinded his eyes. He closed them quickly. However, the brightness of the light caused it to seep into his eyes. This state lasted almost half an hour.
The searchlight went out and darkness covered everything. It wasn’t long before he lit up again. This continued at certain intervals. It was one torture after another. Finally, he felt his strength leave him. His head hung down and he felt as if he was flying somewhere. It seemed to him that he was in another world. In a world where fires were the sole rulers of that land. He could feel the burning, but he couldn’t find the option to leave. It seemed to him that the fire was consuming him more and more. A muffled moan began to escape from his chest.
Suddenly he felt a pain in his toenail, as if someone had pierced it. He let out a scream, opened his eyes and saw Myfit piercing his fingertips with a needle.
– Will you talk? – he spoke to him.
Agron felt a deep disgust for him. He gathered what little strength he had left and tried to kick him. But he forgot that his legs were tied. Myfit understood his purpose.
– Are you going to shoot me? I’ll show you the fun.
He took a whip and began to hit him with all the strength of his arm. The whip crackled over his body. A deep groan was heard after each blow.
– Are you going to shoot me? – repeated Myfiti.
The whip crackled harder. Streaks of blood began to flow from his tracks.
Agron’s head hung and the moaning stopped.
– Died? – Myfiti asked worriedly. – No, no he continues to breathe.
He solved it and left. After a while he returned together with Demir. He looked at Agron and after touching him with his hand, he noticed that he was breathing hard.
– You shouldn’t have crossed the border, – he told Myfit in a low voice. – Do you know what we will suffer if something finds this? We still haven’t received the deposit. Take it, and go to cell number seven.
Myfit lifted him up with difficulty, and thus, half-awakened, pushed him into the cell where he had been before. Isufi had the service there.
– Be careful! For everything, inform friend Demir, – he told him.
Isufi approached the victim and was looking at him. It was very hard for him. They had made it worse. It seemed to him that he too was responsible for what happened. He had a good heart. He could not bear to see such tortures. Several times he had decided to resign, but he thought he would be misunderstood and it could end badly. He laid him on the bed, covered him with a blanket and spoke to him in a soft voice:
– Rest in peace! They will not do such torture anymore. Sleep and you will see that tomorrow you will wake up much better.
Agron opened his eyes, looked at him gratefully and wanted to thank him. But he couldn’t. The words could not come out. Isufi understood.
– Still! – he said. – There is no need to talk. I told you, you’ll feel better tomorrow.
And so, it happened. The next day Agron woke up in a better state. But he still felt pain in his wrists and ankles, as well as in the marks left by the whip. However, over time he started to recover. His wounds were closing and this was thanks to Isuf’s care, who looked at him from time to time. They were no longer questioning him. This calmed him down more. He thought that there was nothing left but to ask for forgiveness and release him.
But it didn’t happen like that. After they noticed that he had taken care of himself, the second ordeal of terrible torture began on him. They put freshly boiled eggs under his armpits, burned him with lit cigarettes until finally they used the last method of torture, that of electric current. The shaking was terrible. He didn’t say a word though. No matter how hard they tried to force him to admit guilt, he did not give up.
– How will we act? – asked Ilia who happened to be there in those moments.
– We will implement the other plan, the one we discussed, – answered Demiri.
– Let’s not risk it?
– And who will find out? We will find the moment when there are no people. For example, on a holiday. Let’s celebrate the liberation day properly.
They left laughing out loud.
November 29, 1974, the thirtieth anniversary of the liberation of the homeland. Everywhere the eye could see banners and flags. Partisan marches and songs could be heard everywhere. Magnificent rallies were held in the squares. All the citizens were covered in the festive robe. They were dressed in their best clothes. Chairman Petriti and some other officials had gone to the capital, where a grand military parade had taken place. In the Internal Affairs Branch, there was a small number of staff left. The guard officer that evening was investigator Demiri.
He was standing in his office. He glanced at the clock from time to time. It seemed as if the minutes did not pass. His eyes shone like those of hyenas when they stalk their prey. It brought to mind the most monstrous things. These gave him pleasure. From time to time, he laughed to himself. When the clock was approaching eleven, Ilia came.
– Take Selim and leave. Be careful that he does not understand anything, – said Demiri
Selimi was the driver of “Gaz”.
– Demir, don’t you think such an action is dangerous? – answered Ilia doubtfully
– If you don’t want to, you can withdraw. There are others who can have fun in your place.
– Tell me, what will they do here?
– We will convince them to force Agron to deposit.
– How will we force them?
– I’ll tell you when you come back.
– Well, well, I don’t like these mysteries of yours.
– I’m sure they will like it a lot. You will see.
Ilia thought for a while and then decided to go.
– Go out wherever you go – he said and left.
Demir began to rub his hands together with wild pleasure.
– Fool, you don’t understand that luck appears once in a lifetime and you don’t know how to use it, aha, wash your hands. As the Roman said: The dice were thrown!
The bell rang and Myfiti appeared in the office, who stood ready.
– Take the defendant Agro and tie him in the special room. Then go to the cells. Isufi stood at the outer gate. When I tell you to come back.
– As the investigator orders!
The special room was specially built to torture the prisoners. As in the dungeon, where Agron was initially placed, here too there were four ganja on the wall, where the victim was tied. Then the most terrible tortures continued. The room was in a separate compartment where there were two other rooms. Prisoners who were supposed to be tortured were kept there. This compartment was isolated from the rest of the dungeons so that no matter how much those being tortured screamed, nothing could be heard.
Meanwhile, Ilia had arrived at Agron’s apartment. He knocked on the gate. Mother Gjylo’s voice was heard:
– Who is it?
– Open! We come from the Department of Internal Affairs.
The gate opened and Ilia entered.
– I want to meet Happiness.
– Agroni asks for it. The mayor sent me for this purpose.
At this time, Lumtua also came out with her daughter.
– Agroni wants to meet you and the girl.
Lucky, he thought. It seemed strange to him that now, almost in the middle of the night, Agroni asked him for a meeting. She had asked several times to meet him on the sunny day and had not been allowed. Mother Gjylën as well. How was it possible for such a thing to be accomplished now at night?
– But now it’s night. We can come tomorrow morning.
– No, you don’t have to come today. Tomorrow morning, he will be sent to Tirana, to the prison hospital.
– What’s with the mother’s son? – asked worried mother Gjyla.
– He will go for a check-up, as he has had a stomach ache for the last few days
– Yes, he suffered from an ulcer, – Lumtua continued.
– This is precisely why the chairman, since you have asked for it so many times, decided to allow you tonight, which is also peace.
– One minute until we get dressed, – said Lumtua and after taking Irida, went to the room.
– I will come too, – said mother Gjyla and ran to get dressed.
– I’m sorry, mother, but I only have orders for those two. It can’t act otherwise than they take my ear off.
Meanwhile, Lumtua and the girl were dressed.
– We are ready, let’s go.
Ilia accompanied them to Demir’s office. He looked at them as if he would devour them with his eyes. Irida felt fear and grabbed her mother’s arm tightly. The sight of the inquisitor, smiling cynically, horrified them.
– We have called you to help us get your husband to confess what he has done. For this I guarantee you that there will be facilities for him and for you. Otherwise…
Demir left the floor in the middle. Lumtua looked at him in amazement. Ilia had told him something else.
– And this friend told us that we were going to meet Agron?
– He said that word in order not to disturb his mother. However, you will meet Agron now, but don’t forget the words I told you. I order you not to speak a word on the way to him. Memorie.al