Memorie.al publishes the unknown story of the flourishing of usury in the period of the Zog Monarchy in the early 30s, where in some cities and villages of Albania, such as Tirana, Kavaja, Korça, many owners of land, shops, workshops and factories, or even ordinary people, out of a great desire to get rich as soon as possible, lost everything they had, leaving them hostage to the usurers, as they had no money to pay high interest rates. This phenomenon, known as the “epidemic of usury”, caused a great shock in the political class of that time, as a result of large protests from various districts of the country, as well as the press of the time, such as the newspaper “ARBNIA” with the well-known publisher and publicist, Nebil Çika, who unreservedly supported the common people, the government of that time was forced to draft a moratorium on the postponement of debts to usurers. But this moratorium was not approved by Parliament, where only 13 deputies voted for it!
During the years of the Zog Monarchy, or more precisely in the mid-1930s, the usury epidemic broke out and flourished in our country with a dizzying speed. At that time, many merchants, owners of houses, shops, workshops and factories, or even ordinary people, out of a great desire to get rich as soon as possible, lost everything they had, leaving them hostage to usurers, as they had no money to pay high interest rates. This phenomenon, ie the epidemic of usury, caused a great shock in the political class of that time, as a result of large protests from different districts of the country, as well as the press of the time that unreservedly supported the common people, the government of at that time he was forced to draft a moratorium on the postponement of debts to usurers. But this moratorium was not approved by Parliament, where only 13 deputies voted for it. But why did this happen and what were the reasons that forced the deputies of that time not to vote for that draft law of the government? What were the reactions and great dissatisfaction that were caused in many districts of the country, which through protests and letters sent to King Zog, asked him to dissolve the Parliament, as those deputies no longer represented the interests of the people, but simply their personal interests, accusing those MPs of being the biggest usurers. All these were reflected in detail by the press of that time, where some of those articles published by the well-known publisher and publicist, Nebil Çika in the newspaper “ARBNIA”, Memorie.al are brought below in this article, not being made no change.
“ARBNIA” newspaper: Deputies rejected the Moratorium
(In yesterday’s session, only 13 deputies were with the people!)
I do not even know where to start working. All sorts of thoughts come to my mind. Great turmoil. I cannot explain to myself why the vast majority of MPs rejected the Government’s draft for the Moratorium. Logic is silent on this issue. Especially when I know that some of the deputies who voted against the moratorium, have been and are with spirit, members of the moratorium. Mister! But let us try to unravel this mystery, to discover the truth. We are facing a story that is not very old: years ago, these same deputies who form our Parliament, passed a law which gave debtors one year to not pay their debts. Why did they vote for this law? Because it was found that the debtors were unable to pay their debts due to the circumstances that existed. Logic makes us think so. When the deputies voted for this law, they thought – as Eshref Frashëri showed yesterday – that after a year the affairs of the economy and trade can be fixed, so that the debtors are able to pay their debts. A year has passed since then. It was found that the economic and trade situation not only did not improve, but rather deteriorated. The government, therefore, considering the numerous prayers made by the debtors, made a project and proposed to the Parliament that the given deadline be extended for the weather as well. He added only one thing to the draft: he demanded that repurchase sales be called, even these, as mortgages. The majority of deputies rejected the Government bill, i.e. did not want the payment deadline set by Parliament for years to be extended for another year. Why did he refuse? This is where the logic ends. Did the circumstances that led to years of giving a one-year term change? Did the situation improve a bit? Then, that is, the majority of deputies opposed themselves. With their vote yesterday, they showed the good they did to the desolate debtors for years, this year they did not want to do it to them. Why did they do it years ago and not this year? Why did their spirit change? Here is the node. Why did most MPs become allies of usurers this year? Why for years these MPs were supporters of debtors? Do you think that for years they were afraid of Mr. Musa Juka and Abdurrahim Dibra? Are you saying that this year they were afraid of the same people, who this year are not only not in the “Government”, but are also against the “Government”? From where we will take the issue, yesterday’s issue of the majority of deputies does not turn in their favor. On the contrary, their behavior yesterday shows that they – by grace or by inadvertence – are at the same time in favor of the usurers who drink the blood of the people and against the Government that came to power by the will of the King. Only 13 deputies have been with the people and have respected the will of His N. M., the King. Quite paradoxical this work, Albanian: quite crazy. They are against the Government, we said, because otherwise it is not explained how they rejected a term which for years they themselves gave to the debtors. The circumstances, as we said above, are the same? And since the circumstances have not changed at all from years until this year, then it is understood that the deputies of those years have inadvertently voted to give the deadline.
Two wise deputies, we learned that yesterday morning, went to the Prime Minister and told him that Mr. Koço Kotta has secured a majority to be against the moratorium and that in favor of this moratorium, there are only 14 or 15 deputies. And they proposed to him to take back the project. Mr. Mehdi Frashëri did not accept the proposal. He did very well. Why not “diploma”. He is honest. He probably said in his mind: Let the deputies not vote for the bill. Let the people understand what MPs are dealing with! “And the people – who know things well – understand once again what MPs are dealing with! Now two questions: a) What do the people need these MPs, and a it is possible that the new Government, the friend of the people, can rely on their cooperation b) What about the plight of the people with the rejection of the moratorium? We will answer only the second question: Let the people sleep peacefully. If the deputies do not want the best for them – who are allies of the usurers – and if they do not give him the moratorium that he waited impatiently, he does not care. There is someone who gives them this moratorium. Just a little patience … (Nebil Çika)
Major dissatisfaction with the non-approval of the moratorium
Old Korça protests against the deputies who do not protect the interests of the people. (A representation of villagers in the offices of ARBNISË)
“The situation is not alarming, as Mr. Prime Minister said, and there is no risk that thousands of assets will be sold …” This statement was made in Parliament by one of the deputies of Korça, when he was defending the thesis of usurers, and those who do not they had studied the issue, perhaps they had formed the opinion that both the Prime Minister and “ARBNIA” had exaggerated the facts and presented the situation not as it was in reality. This opinion also seemed justifiable, because the deputies of Korça were the ones who strictly opposed the government project for the relief of the people and on the other hand, the prime minister, the same district, the district of Korça, had brought it as an example to prove the miserable situation of Albanian majority. But less than five days later, the people of the Korça region, especially the villages, categorically denied the claims of their deputies and categorically declared that they acted not in the interest of the people, but in the interest of and the villagers of Korça, wholeheartedly declare to the government and the people that: “Deputies who do not know how to protect the vital interests of the people, do not deserve at all to be considered as representatives of the people and therefore freeze their mandate and representation that they have given “.
Korça protests: the people against the deputies
As we announced a few days ago, after the rejection by the Parliament of the government measure, which aimed to protect the people against the usurers, the whole region of Korça, even the smallest village, gathered through their elders. in Korça and handed a prayer for the Prime Minister to the Prefect. With this prayer, the people of Korça, after describing their miserable situation, which has forced the State to give them corn for free to save them from misery, emphasize that their deputies did not take into account the interests of the majority when opposed the government measure, and added: “It is to be noticed, from the deputies of Korça who have opposed the government project, some are usurers who have issued money with high interest rates based on acts that appear directly on their name or to the friends of their gender; the deputies who, in order to speculate at the expense of the poor and needy people, bought large quantities of milk from the general companies of Electricity in Korça at low prices and locked it in a warehouse to sell it at higher prices that the present one — after their greedy eye has never been satiated — and some who have become the tool of usurers in the hope of ensuring that the people are ignorant and must act as the capitalists desire. j their behavior cannot be justified in that way, especially in these times when the general desire and will of all the people of Albania has been and is the allocation of a reasonable deadline for the payment of the seas (debt installments), – as if it is proved by the various prayers addressed to the Chamber of Deputies and the Royal Government, which have been uttered by Your Excellency on the occasion of supporting the government project. With the rejection by the Parliament of the government project, the government which has in its program the salvation of the people, has the main task to take the necessary steps for the dissolution of the Parliament, which now and then can no longer represent the people and cannot be an interpreter of his feelings and will, so as not to give the fatal opportunity (to our former representatives), to sacrifice your people take away his wealth and give it to a few usurers as he has asked a former minister deputy and some of the deputies of Korça and thus oppress us. We as a poor people, but loyal until the moment of death to sacrifice life for the King of the Homeland, as we have proven every time the opportunity arises, we want our government, for the sake of saving the people from misery, to take a such an urgent measure for a Parliament to come into force to represent the opinion of the people. This is the voice of the people. On this occasion we add that after the deputies came out against the government project for reasons that are very easily understood do not want to protect the interests and rights of the people, that people who have honored them without any merit with their vote, we stood up (u’a we remove the mandate), the mandate and the representation they are using on behalf of the people until today “.
And Kavaja protests
But, it is not only Korça, it is the whole of Albania that has risen to its feet after the rejection of the government measure by the Parliament. And what is to be noted, in particular, is that it is not only the citizens, but the villagers, that is, the common people. The villagers, the base of our state, have risen to their feet against the 50 usurers and against the majority of the deputies who preferred to defend the usurers at the expense of the Albanian people. Yesterday a representative of the Kavaja region came to us, with a letter signed by the elders of the city of Kavaja and the villages: Bago, Kalush, Sefere, Tillaj, Harizaj, Synej, Ballutaj, Agonas, Shardushe, Çete Leshtej-Çollak, Gërmaj, Petrovë, Zhabjak, Habilaj, Hajdare, Patke, Sterbek, Luzi i Vogël, Luz i Madh, Domen, Kryemëdhaj, Kryeluzaj, Mamël, Helmës, Kryevidh, Gulemas, Lekaj, Kanaparaj, and Shtovri. They described to us in miserable words their miserable condition and told us that the villagers are unable to respond to the high interest rates they pay and that they cannot pay any money for their debts. This is how the wish of Mr. Lame Kareco will be realized, and their property will be taken from some usurers for nothing. And the people of Kavaja beg us to raise our voice for the salvation of the people. In particular, we were asked to point out that the poor people are waiting for their salvation from His N. M., the King, who is the only one who knows the plight of the poor.
Letter of the people of Tirana to King Zog
More than 330 families from the capital seek rescue from N.M. of Him, the King. “We have no confidence in the deputies,” they say in their telegram. More than 330 of the most famous families of the capital, by means of a telegram, beg His Majesty, the King, to save his people from the bloodthirsty usurers. Among the firms that appear in the telegram, we see the names of people who have a history, and have tried both in the fight for national independence and in the modernization and development of this country. These families declare to the King of Albanians that the people have no faith in our deputies and therefore he turns to His Majesty, His Great King, with the conviction that only in Him will he find the true protector of his interests “. After Berat, Vlora, Korça, Elbasan, Tirana comes today and gives them And so it is not so incompetent for those who respond in this way, it is not even a small majority who declare in this way, only that the deputies represent nothing but their personal interests and those It’s the whole of the Albanian people, they are the peasants, the farmers, they are the landowners, they are the merchants, they are most of the country. to copy golden pages of national history. What about the others … The others are the ones who buy villas in Korça and write microscopic amounts in the acts, in Swiss francs and lira, sterling, why … this is allowed by the laws in force. What does the government do? What does the government think in the face of this situation?
The text of the telegram of the capitals
Nalt Majesty. We took the liberty to describe to Your Excellency this telegram with full conviction that you will have the kindness to study it and that you will not fail to give Your Highness orders to settle our case, and which is also the most vital issue of all the people of Your Majesty. We find it superfluous to make history of our case. The fact is that today we are in debt with colossal interest rates and our existence depends on the mercy of some “usurers” who have decided to snatch our wealth for nothing and make us their slaves. The Government of the High Majesty, noticing this truth, hastens to propose to the Parliament a measure, which to some extent alleviated our difficult situation. Well, most of the MPs, while boasting that they represent the people and interpret the wishes of the majority of them, did not accept this measure, perhaps because they find it more favorable for the Kingdom of Way, as they stated, that the wealth goes into the hands of bloodthirsty usurers… The Albanian people have always based their lives on the ability of their King. He expects his salvation from his sovereign. There is no trust in the Deputies who dare to claim that it is better for the wealth to go into the hands of the oppressors, and therefore it is brought straight to his Great King. He is convinced that only in Him will he find the protection of his interests. To the citizens of the capital, who have been given many opportunities to appreciate the desire that Your Majesty nurtures for the people, we assure you that the Deputies lie when they say that the interest of the country begs them not to become a moratorium. The deputies do not protect the interests of the country, but their personal interests and those of the 50 usurers who speculate at the expense of the people, at the expense of Your Majesty. The citizens of the capital petition you to save your people by ordering the immediate cessation of executions and then the human cure of their disease. We are convinced that you will deign to consider our prayer and that, Your Majesty, who has saved the Albanian people from external enemies, will also save them from internal enemies “. / Memorie.al