nr. 61 / 25 qershor 2004



Durrës and the inhuman slaughter

It would have been very interesting if we knew how a bright-minded like Voltaire, who defined the history of his time as a view of misery and crimes, would describe the dark time of the Second World War, if he would experience it, when the greatest diabolic persons of the entire humanity, named with the detestable names like Hitler, Gables, Himler, Gering, Ajhman and demon, practiced the horrendous concentration-camps, where within areas surrounded by barbed wires, watchdogs and towers equipped with “Shars” machine-guns, would be significant the statement of Walter Scott in a famous roman, where he said: “Te survivors envied those to whom death spared the great misery that was to come”. I was browsing the book “Sacrificed and survived”, of the co-authors, Dr. Sali Hidri and the dynamic activist Tatjana Bali, dedicated to those who, as if they were followers of Likurg’s philosophy, thought that “I wouldn’t prefer life instead of freedom”, what caused them interment in those extermination camps, I reminded a story from the life of Saint Augustine, who, when asked “What was God doing before he created heaven and earth”, answered: “At that time he created hell to send there those who make such questions”. Yet, if the hell, God created, wasn’t seen by any living people, the ill-famed Nazi-Fascist hell of Bukenwald, Mathausen, Auschwitz, Zaksenhauzen, Dakao, to Pristine, was experienced by millions of men, women, elder and children, who turned into skeletons, just because they couldn’t agree with the barbaric invaders, Hunan of the modern times, or just because of the race they belonged to. Until May 9, 1945, all the fantasy of Dante described in a masterpiece so shivering only reading it, became a shameful and heartless reality. Copying his “Hell” until the uniform of the preamble, the wretched with dressing that remind zebras, discriminated, were equalized with guinea-pigs used for the cruelest experiments, tortured, shot, killed in the gas-rooms, burned in crematoriums, thrown in common burial ground with bulldozers, just as the horrors described by Ana Frank in her diary, Erich Maria Remark, in his roman, Peter Weiss, in “Investigation”, etc. As convinced that none doubts of the crimes in concentration-camps, the authors of the book in voice have focused their attention on those sons and daughters of the city of Durrës, who were interned mainly after November 20, 1943. The reprisal in Durrës wasn’t just casual. The people of this city opposed the invaders with guns since April 7, 1939, becoming so very the first city in Europe openly set against the Fascists. After the invasion of the nation by the Italian-German regiments, the volcano of the rebellion and the peoples’ struggle exploded all over Albania, as well as in Durrës. A cold reasoning would agree that the traitor Osman Velja wasn’t wrong when he led those three selection phases of the “dangerous elements” to be interned, within the operation “Outing around the Harbour”, that involved measures preventing any possible landing of the allies in the Balkans. The authors of this book, without spreading much in political-military considerations, very concisely and clearly give a background of where everything occurred. About the composition of this book, they say: “The book is composed by the biography of each of the martyrs, mainly those Sacrificed in the Nazi concentration-camps, grouped in relation to the camps (Pristine, Zemun, Mathausen), so making the first part of the book. In the second part, entitled “The Survived”, have been enclosed those who escaped the Nazi hell of the camps and entered the life after Liberation, and who died through the years, as well as those few who are alive still today. The third part of the book is composed of Memories with the inhuman images of those camps… where the life of their friends was extinguished and those, as witnesses of that hell, brought back the sufferings they faced by the Nazi beast”.

      Looking at the biography of each one of the interned, whom the Municipality of Durrës, honored two years ago with the title of “Gratitude by the City”, one can notice that all of them were very young, at the age of the beautiful dreams. Their destiny, however: Here the Nazis shot 104 youth on October 23, 1944, amongst whom Kristaq Boshnjaku. The lawyer Sulo Bogdo, in whose house was edited the “Bashkimi” newspaper, was shot on September 1944. And further more, Adli Alushi, Andon Naçi, Ahmet Ramzoti, Dhimitër Kulla, Dhimitër Mali, Ibrahim Xhatufa, Janaq Sotja, Jorgji Ziu, Milto Kulja, Minella Goga, Prokop Sorra, Ramazan Myrto, Riza Sukja, Teodor Bratja, and Vasil Misa were sent at the camp of Zemun, where they died one by one. Afterwards there are listed those who ended their lives in Mathausen: Abdulla Tabaku, Ali Biduli, Asti Gogoli, Besim Mliku, Dhimitër Konduri, Enver Velja, Ilia Dhimo, Hazis Shkupi, Hysen Shtufi, Kostandin Simaku, Kozma Nushi (Public Hero), Naun Thanasi, Sami Kariqi, Sofokli Dhimitriadhi, Sulejamn Dakoli, Sulejman Puskja, Taqo Dimo, Telat Noga, Teofik Skilja, Vasil Gjata, Vaskë Dushku, Xhemal Kasa. The way they died is almost unrevealed in the book, yet their death at around twenty years old each, almost at the same time and same place, is the evidence of what occurred. I mentioned all of these martyrs as homage to them, for folks were regardful to the statement of Homer, that: “Nothing could be more precious than giving the life for the nation”. Nevertheless, I cannot lay aside those who escaped death by chance and lived amongst us, like Vangjeli Gjoni, Fotini Dushku, Kozma Prifti, Ymer Jakovia, Ksanthipi Kalavaci, Stefan Konduri, Asti Gjika, Halit Struga, Polikseni Lula, Niko Nishku, Laz Çaushi, Leonidha Heba, Mihal Marto, Dr. Lluka Dhimitri, Dr. Mihal Konomi, and Liri Xhunga, who left back a book of memories for her friends in the concentration-camps, giving genuinely the spiritual state of the prisoners going toward sure death: “We walked and thought. We thought about the nation, the struggle of partisans, and the struggle of anti-Fascist people against Nazism. Our odiousness was increasing. We thought about our relatives, far away. We thought about the friends we left back in Thessalonica: about Fato, about Sofia, about Dhoksia, about those innocent Greek women and about that mother who was forcedly separated from her daughter. We thought about all that slaughter we’d seen by the way to Ravezbruk”. Today, there’s only Lefteri Shima and Prof. Koço Bihiku from the camp of Pristine and Mustafa Elezi and the sage and modest Enver Plepi from the camp of Mathausen, who are still alive, just as if they were to witness to the world that we Albanian justify the right to have the deserved place along with other civilized people, not only by our precious qualities, but also by unparalleled sacrifices and valuable contribution to the final victory crowned with the now symbolic lifting of the flag on Rajshtag, by the two Russian soldiers.

      The ethic code detains me, but after reading this book, I can’t help but saying that: My grandfather died very young and my mother was brought up by her uncle, Beqir Sulo Agalliu, rewarded “For distinguished patriotic activity”, along with his brother Mehmet. Both those marvelous men were interned by the Germans in the concentration-camps where Beqir died likewise many others, and Mehmet returned back in Albania, for he jumped down from the train that was transporting them from a camp to another, yet he died while I was about seven years old, for he was with tuberculosis since he was in the camp. He never told about what he suffered in the camps of Germany, but after closing his eyes, in the first page of a notebook he had written a statement from “The crime of Sylvester Bonary” by Anatoly Franc, which says: “Pain is unavoidable for life is full of misery; I would teach the serenity that makes us rise above every misery giving beauty even to pain itself”.

      I suppose this was the goal of the authors of the book dedicated to the interned in the Nazi concentration-camps, a goal worthily reached by the co-authors Dr. Sali Hidri and Tatjana Bali.

Shpendi Topollaj


Elbasan: Property conflict forces Gëzim Balla to leave his birth-place

Revenge and old as well as new rancor have returned to be a tragedy for the Albanian society, because of the passivity of the law. Albania is and will keep on being a victim of hypothesis wrapped in mystery. The politics that produces conflicts seems stronger toward the will of any social group or association with the primarily goal to erase conflicts and strengthen the laws of the State.

      It is tragic today when property conflicts are the cause of murders even brutal. There are almost daily cases. The passivity of law, divergences of politics with the community, unrighteousness toward individuals who inherit richness, intentional nebulosity of the politics aggravating every day more the source of crimes, have caused to grow the reaction of the civil society, the “Mjaft” movement, intellectuals and community, and the Parliament and the Government are openly accused as a threat for the future of Albania.

      These conflicts are growing deeper in the rural areas, where illegal property usurpation is a fearful reality. On January 20, 2003, in the village Labinot Mal of Elbasan, the citizen Hysë Duka, that had usurped illegally the property of the citizen Sherif Balla, had started a tragic conflict. As a result, Sherif Balla went as far as to kill Hysë Duka. The family Duka is now ready to take revenge on the family Balla. There were made efforts twice to kill for revenge Gëzim Balla, the adopted son of Sherif, who is his uncle indeed. Gëzim Balla, who is innocent, fortunately escaped the bullets twice and was forced to leave Elbasan and live hidden in a village nearby the northern district of Shkodra, by some friends of Sherif. Such dark images are being unfolded very often in these last times in Albania, while many individuals, even families, are forced to leave their birth-place, in order to escape from opened conflicts, which could be closed only when revenge is taken.

Vasel Gilaj, Lekë Pepushaj


The intellectuals and the State

The political roughness has reached high levels, but also corruption did grow, as well as the organized crime, trafficking, for the intellectuals first are being hit without mercy by the State, that is being accused by the civil society as linked to the crime. Ferdinand Zogu is an intellectual who studied in the High Pedagogical Institute of Shkodra and worked for three years in the Municipality. As a member and activist of the Democratic Party, he faced revenge, for he reported corruption, giving concrete names. As he was fired from work, he reported this to the prosecution on March 5, 2003 and sent a plaint to the Albanian Prime Minister’s Seat, for his firing was unrighteous. Based on a document we have, on September 20, 2003, he reported to the police that he received death threats. Nevertheless, when the intellectual potential is hardly overcome, the criminals choose other ways. Ferdinand Zogu was also imprisoned on October 16, 2003 until January 20, 2004, and a sick-leave says he suffered headache and insomnia because of ill-treatments, and since February 2, 2004 until February 17, 2004, he was hospitalized with the diagnose post-traumatic. These are bad examples penalizing the intellectuals who dare to report the demagogy of the corrupted State.

Albert Vataj


Flash memories and the broken flashes

In the destroying run the Albanian politics was started, it resembles a furious river running out of its bed. It runs fast taking away whosoever dares to think about placing a blind against the fatal overturn.

      Nano “commands” to imprison the journalists like Mero Baze. The first lady, Xhoana, wants the petrel of the free speech in Albania, the editor and journalist Nikollë Lesi, “naked”, “undressed” of his immunity as a deputy. There is rumor that Rexhina, the ex-wife of Nano, on the other side, will enter in diplomacy as Vice-ambassador and normally then be against the free thought. God forbids that she might pretend to be a second lady of this country, for there it would be a scandal even for the world cinematography, for the film “Clone” and the actor Ali would grow pale toward the stories with sultan, sheikh, harem…

      The bad governing of these last seven years has got such an image that even militants of the party on power are skeptical if it might come out anything offering effectiveness, in no political element, except if the bandage Nano-Meta would be dissolved and the opposition might miss the days involving in this messed game, while the sensitiveness, consciousness and need suggest and demand actions to heal some of the many wounds of the Albanians. No sick could be healed with the nostalgic memories of the time when he was sound. Even the opposition cannot offer as an alternative the model of the years 1992-1997. The mule is useful and good in a rural road, but it looks so unsightly by the roads of Paris, London, Rome… Today we are in the century of internet and have 14 years of “struggle” and loss against Stalinism, with Nanos, Rexhinas, Xhoanas

      Nano, the principal of this country “bloats” as if he the occident supports him and doesn’t care about anyone. He is applying, indeed, some kind of invisibility. He might have had some experience occidental in appearance, yet such experiences weren’t seen. This might not be his fault, but even because the Albanian politics isn’t motivated yet for such a way. The politics sometimes offered by the opposition and social organizations, like the movement “Mjaft” (“Stop”), or those opening another way, like public debates, analysis, opinions, were not yet able to make the community conscious about asking for concrete touch, like Saint Thomas, yet not on the body, but in the social life and the political moral. The evil in the life of every people cannot come differently, but as a deposition produced during the years reproduced by politicians. The chairman of this politics, Fatos Nano, looks like daring to think this people isn’t mentally able to have an episodic, diary, biographic or autobiographic memory about the happenings that might be indispensable to memorize in details. Perhaps he might be interested in a flash memory, like for example: Remember today what Nano said yesterday, even though he is “throwing stones” against flashes, to break them, hitting the social relationships. Wherever the social relationships are wounded, appear symptoms of damage of that social function leading it in many ways at the same time, making it confuse, influencing the reduction of the action ability. In these cases, that society is afraid of its steps.

      The phobias of Nano are “handsome” however. The sense of fear of the discontent, which except the opposition and about 70% of Albanians that disdained voting in the local elections of October 12, of the last year, that carried Nano, cannot avoid the unwanted help from out of the party. So it is needed a little Gjinush, a little Milo, a little Zog that has no flags to fly even in the royal court of his house. Nano is so using, besides the obstruction once used by Enver against medias, even interferences, intrusion and impacts composing political hypnosis to avoid extreme discoloring of Albania, at least in the map.

      Such brutal actions toward media, by the chairman of the Government, seem to aim at stopping the control of the emotions of the society, prevent the sharpening of the conscience and disallow the separation of the voters from those that want the voter only to join against those 87% of Albanians who vote against or abstain. Nevertheless, all then are limited in their freedom, actions, economy, space…

      A principal of this conditioning is even the politics with a King, with the hefty Leka. The message of His Majesty, coming from the royal court on the mountains, seemingly raised the consistency of behavior with medicinal of his majesty Nano first, to tell Albanians: Love me, otherwise, if the King gets you, you’re over”.

      In a few words, such an action gives the impression to be a tactic to stop the alienation and increase of weakness that have brought Nano down, indeed, since he took out the “sword” and “placed” obstruction to the free speech.

Sokol Pepushaj, Albert Vataj


Montenegro is encouraging Albanians to leave their ethnic land. Shaqir Rukaj from Kodrabudan is one of the victims of this chauvinist repression.

The Albanians in Montenegro feel scared in their ethnic land. The chauvinist politics of Serbia and Montenegro has reduced the number of Albanians, actually 6% of the population, or 45.000 inhabitants from 620.000 all over the country. Albanians live in the area of Tuz, a few in the city of Bar and about 25.000 in Ulcin and around. Their rights and freedom is continuously being disregarded while the whole politics aims their assimilation or to force them leave their ethnic land. The citizen Shaqir Rasim Rukaj from Kodrabudan, 4 km from Tuz, is a victim of this repressive politics. He was born on August 2, 1967, and had a normal life along with his family until 1998. He was married to Lindita Sadikaj from the village Tuz and as a fruit of their love they had a little daughter named Argenta.

      The crisis in Kosovo and the massive expulsion of the Albanians from their land destroyed the family Rukaj. A family from Presheva, Zeqir Sylaj and other seven people found shelter in Kodrabudan, in the family of Shaqir Rukaj for a few months. Since then threats from the Serb and Montenegrin secret services begun against Rasim and Rasim, his only son, to force them cast out the family Sylaj from Presheva, against the Albanian custom of welcoming. Shaqir, an Albanian patriot, instead of casting out that family from Kosovo, takes part in organizing protests held on those days in Tuz against the Serb aggression in Kosovo. The police of Podgorica arrested him for encouraging ethnic hatred, and was imprisoned in the prison of Shpuza. After coming out of the prison, Shaqir was called by the Military Court of Podgorica as he had refused the obligatory enrollment. After the family from Presheva left, the life of Shaqir and his family was even more in danger. The secret services had on their target all those who helped the Kosovo’s Albanians and encouraged national hatred. Nevertheless Shaqir couldn’t be forgiven for avoiding enrollment. Having this increasing pressure along with the danger coming from the secret services, Shaqir, Lindita and their daughter Argenta left their birthplace and went somewhere abroad. His parents, Rasim and Bafte followed the same way, while none knows their address. The Military Court of Podgorica, presided by Major Dragan Vukadinoviq, based on the Article 318, about the war time and the danger of aggression from NATO forces, condemns in the absence, the citizen of Montenegro, Shaqir Rukaj, for avoiding enrollment. Condemned 20 months, wanted by the secret services as encouraging the national hatred, Rasim Rukaj and his family will never return in their birthplace. Today, the little ground floor house in Kodrabudan is silent, closed, waiting for them. The chairman of the democratic union of the Albanians in Montenegro, Dr. Ferhat Dinosha says that hundred others had the same destiny of Shaqir and Rasim Rukaj, for Montenegrins want the Albanian land without Albanians.

Rifat Ymeri