By Hyqmet Zane
– The rare testimony of Shkëlqim Shaban Adem: “We are not asking for anything, we just want a grave for my father killed by the State Security”!-
Memorie.al / Shkëlqim Ademi, the son of Shabani who was killed by the State Security in the investigation of the so-called “enemy group of Teme Sejko”, feels unsettled that Albanian justice has not returned to the country the massacre that was done to the boys of Chameria who came to Albania before World War II and were educated here, fought for the homeland as anti-fascists here and one day, they were called “enemies of the people”, because that’s what the mind told a man like Enver Hoxha, who received the black mark of the bloody dictator.
Although almost 65 years have passed since the beginning of another tragedy for the Cham population, after the genocide of Napoleon Zerva in 1944 in Cham, this community had to experience a tragedy in Albania as well. As if that anti-Albanian genocide of the Greeks was not enough, the one that took place in Albania was the most tragic, because it was carried out by the very governors of the communist dictatorship state, with Albanian members.
This is how the son of Shaban Adem, a brave man who would not live long after the fabricated arrest, tells about this so-called “hostile group”. “My father, Shaban Ademi, at the age of 38, was arrested together with over 200 other Cham Albanians, as a member of Teme Sejko’s ‘conspiratorial group’.
My father had fought from a young age with a gun in his hand in the “Chameria” detachment against the Italian-German invaders, for the liberation of the country and as a reward; they put him in prison and shot him. But the system did not even spare his 65-year-old uncle, the shepherd with sheep, Adem Osmani”.
Living in the USA, where he has found some peace at this young age with his family, Shkëlqimi says: “I, his son, remember with deep sadness that black Thursday of July 28, 1960. I was not even 9 years old when I came home and saw a large group of policemen, both in and out of uniform, rushing like rabid beasts into our house, breaking the doors and windows of the rooms, with unprecedented ferocity and pushing by force my elderly grandfather, Refatin.
They searched all the rooms for what they said were compromising materials and took everything. My father was forced into the “Jeep” (car) of Internal Affairs, but he objected, saying to the head of the Branch, Shim Kolli, ‘Get into the ‘Jeep’, get a dog, because I don’t have done something’.
These are the words of a Cham citizen who happened to be nearby. They put my father in a cell and kept him for a year doing the most inhumane tortures on his body and where provocateurs of all kinds were involved. According to his defense lawyer, only these words came out of his mouth, telling the investigators: “I have not done anything bad to the people and the homeland.” This was the truth since he fought from an early age as a partisan, and later served as a tireless public servant in the Elbasan District”.
It is well known that after a year of torture, the criminals sentenced Shaban Adem in a military court behind closed doors, because they knew that he would discredit the vampires of the Slavic-communist ideology, for the ominous plan they had organized. Unlike several other detainees who accepted false charges and were publicly tried, Shabani denied every charge.
Having lived for many years in Chicago, USA, Shkëlqim Ademi was one of the five children of Shaban Ademi, who recalls: “In May 1992, I met Ihsan Budo in Tirana, a brave, intelligent and courageous man . He was one of the main leaders of the Anti-Fascist War, during the capitulation of Fascist Italy, in the city of Saranda, with whom we were co-sufferers in exile in Kurbnesh of Mirdita.
He told me that; Mejit Kokalari had defended his father in his trial in July 1961. The next day I went to his house; the lawyer opened the door for me and after I told him who I was, he compared me to my father and started to cry. He immediately spoke to his wife, saying: ‘Look who has arrived, the son of Shaban Adem, about whom I have told you about the courage he showed when I was his defense lawyer, in the summer of 1961’.
We both entered his room and he began to tell me the story of my father longingly. – ‘Your father was a tall, tall man, etc.’ Mejit Kokalari had an extraordinary memory and spoke as if he had seen his father before his eyes. – ‘Your father, although his hands were tied behind his back and he was accompanied by 5-6 policemen, showed a legendary courage that I, as a defense lawyer, had not seen in court sessions for many years.
Before the president of the military court, Mit’hat Goskova, announced the indictment, Shabani told La Fonten’s fable, “The Lamb and the Wolf”, with great calmness. As his lawyer, I was amazed by his composure and precise recitation of the fable. During the entire judicial process, the defendant Shaban Ademi, objecting, did not accept any charges.
But even after the judge declared the death sentence, he asked me: “Lawyer, where did we leave the conversation?” – And continued to show the half-left conversation. Mejiti continued to speak further, telling me that even after 31 years, his courage and composure, which you had never seen in his career, had not left his mind. Meanwhile, the teary-eyed lawyer finished talking about my father’s monstrous trial. The false accusations were that; in cooperation with Greek intelligence and the 6th American Fleet, the Chams wanted to destroy the homeland, etc., as well as fabrications and tricks from the State Security, part of an anti-Albanian government of almost 50 years”!
It must be admitted that the suffering of the Ademi family, as well as other families, does not end with the shooting of Shaban Ademi and others, such as Taho Sejko, who disappeared since the investigator did not accept that these two became collaborators in the scenario of State Security, did not end even with the shooting of Teme Sejko and Tahir Demi, as well as 11 accused of that group or with the imprisonment of dozens of others, but continues with the non-denouncing of the authors of the script, as well as with the suffering of the families Chams, wherever they lived.
The sufferings and persecutions of the Cham community took a new, typical form, according to the Greek scenario offered by the Grecophiles within the Political Bureau of the time, which Enver Hoxha listened to very attentively and implemented very meticulously. If Shaban Ademi was a brave and unyielding man, who was so young at that time, one cannot forget that brave and loyal gesture that he made when they handcuffed Tahir Demi, chairman of the Executive Committee of Elbasan at that time for 8 years and he took out his revolver to shoot Shim Kolla, the head of the Department of Internal Affairs, but he was quickly caught by the head’s companions.
Regarding this event, Shkëlqimi further recalls: “Immediately after my father was shot, on October 21, 1961, the state removed us from the existing house and they ‘take us for the climate’ to Kurbnesh in Mirdita, at a temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius, in a barrack with boards and sheets, where we slept 8 people. 5 children (three sisters and two brothers), mother, grandfather Refat, and Grandmother Fatima.
From this hut, every morning we took out a pile of snow, where even Migjeni would be surprised. On a frosty day in December of that year, the President of the Internal Branch of Rrëshen comes, up in Mineire (as the place was called) and in our eyes, fiercely threatens my old grandfather, the heartbroken Refat, saying: “You are the father of the traitor”?!
Not long after, the venerable grandfather, Refati, died from the grief of losing his only son. We buried him in the village of Zajs, Kurbnesh, where his grave has not yet been found. We were starving. We shared a small ration of white cheese among 9 people, as we survived only on the salary of my older brother, 14 years old, who worked in the copper mine”.
Maybe there is more than that, but the destruction that the dictator Enver Hoxha did to the Cham families, during the entire period of his rule of almost half a century, is the biggest and the most irresponsible that deserves memory and punishment. After several years of exile in the hell of Mirdita, the Ademi family comes back to Elbasan in 1 room (2 m. by 2 m.). Here, too, the grandmother died from the grief of losing her son.
Shaban Adem’s family had this fate, like many other Chams, in prisons and exiles, discriminations of the “unfaithful Cham” type, and others like these, for 30 years in a row. We went through all these sufferings. But even after the fall of the old dictatorship, the reins of power in Albania were taken by the sons of the former communist members of the Political Bureau, Gramoz Ruçi, Skënder Gjinush and others.
With all the bitterness he feels for the loss of many lives in that period, Shkëlqimi explains: “Even after 55 years, I always picture and remember it and I am proud of the sublime sacrifice that our father made for the good of Albania.
He was an exemplary parent, a man who loved and respected his aged parents, an honest citizen, a servant who left no one unhelpful, a rare altruistic man, and many other positive qualities he had, for him which other people had to talk about, and not me, far from my modesty.
We, the children of this unlucky parent, have searched and are constantly searching for our father’s remains, up to the highest organs, but in vain. The files are still closed. They tell us, we will find them, we will give them to you and other things like this”.
Today, only the “Cham conspirator” group has not been fully rehabilitated and acquitted by the judicial and executive bodies. “We,” Shkëlqimi says, “we are not looking for favors, decorations and wealth, but for the remains of our honorable father, since we loved him and we still miss him after so many years.” But we are powerless to protect it. How long will this game continue with our population, with our province of Chameria”?! – is the question asked by the remaining son of Shaban Adem.
“We,” he adds, “have our good lands still occupied, we see them through television documentaries, but we cannot step on them, we cannot touch them, we cannot smell the cherry blossoms…! Where should we seek our justice”?! – is the unanswered question asked by Shkëlqim Ademi, the son of the late Shaban Ademi, who himself has suffered beyond words, even today far from Albania and with orphaned dreams. Memorie.al