Open Letter to Lawmakers of the Parliament of Albania
By By Sami Repishti
Albanian Daily News
Published February 5, 2016

My name is Sami Repishti, a free citizen of the United States of America, of Albanian origin of which I am proud of. I escaped from Albania in August 1959 (after serving ten years of jail time) for disagreeing with the principles and practice of the government of the former Labor Party of Albania. I was obliged to leave homeland but I preserved and nourished love for ‘Mother Albania’ given to me by my two parents who paid the highest price: my father fell victim to the Italian fascist terror and my mother was sent to the notorious communist camp of Tepelena along with my sister and little brother. But Albania, victim of three dictatorships of the 20th century always remains ‘the sacred place’ for me.

It is this spirit that made me take the initiative to address the Members of the Parliament of the Republic of Albania and express my endless concern for a sudden and unforgivable development. In the Albanian program of the Voice of America on January 25, 2016 I heard the President of Albania, Bujar Nishani express his concern on a possible and deeply wrong orientation towards the closure of different files and cases by the institutions of Albanian ‘justice’…

“The files of communism crimes have not been opened and judged for 71 years. The law on the disclosure of files, although incomplete, has not started to be implemented yet. The law on the opening of files cannot be and will never be complete without the lustration law.” He added that “… the investigation and punishment of communism crimes are closely linked to the national safety of Albanians in the strategic context.”

President Nishani also spoke about “unacceptable provocations”: “I consider unacceptable the tendency of the so-called experts of justice to include an article in the Constitution of Albania that bans once and for all the investigation of the crimes of communism,” he declared.

“From this region and land of martyrs I call on the responsible Members of the Parliament of Albania to refuse support and approval of such article in the Constitution of Albania.” Unbelievable! Honestly unbelievable! Who is afraid of investigation and punishment of communist crimes in Albania? In the Parliament of the Republic of Albania in 1992, when the then Speaker asked the lawmakers to stand up and hold one minute of silence in sign of respect for the many victims of communism in Albania no Socialist lawmaker stood up.

I can never forget the image of this scene, primitive as well as offensive. In 1996, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted the Resolution no. 1096: “Measures to eradicate the legacy of communist- totalitarian systems.” This ‘resolution’ was not even made public in Albania and the then media didn’t consider its publication reasonable.

In 2006, once again, the Council of Europe adopted the Resolution no. 1481: “Indispensability for the international punishment of crimes of communist- totalitarian regimes.” In regards to this, the Parliament of Albania approved the “Resolution on the punishment of crimes committed by the communist regime in Albania.” Socialist MPs abandoned the session without voting. In 2010, a delegation from the UN asked Albania to punish communism crimes in the country. The news was not published by an Albanian information means. On December 14, 2010 there was a request from former communist countries for an International Court to punish communist crimes. Only Albania didn’t sign the ‘request’. Albania truly is the ‘land of wonders’! even August 23 appointed by Resolution of the European Parliament as the day of Commemoration of Victims of Deportation, Massacres, acts considered as “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity”, comes and goes every year without any commemorative ceremony of official character. 

The dead victims hold the eternal silence, while the victims who still live have lost their ability of expression, denunciation, and condemnation of the crime and criminal due to the great sufferance…

The alarm bell that the President of the Republic rang symbolically in the commemoration of the 71st anniversary of the “rise of Malesi e Madhe” is extremely worrying! The recognition and exposure of committed crimes, and the respect for the innocent victims of these crimes, are two sides of the same coin: the nature and weight of our responsibility as witnesses of this deeply human and fundamentally national tragedy is an existential problem for all honest people, a problem that has a political, personal and religious character. Here we are dealing with “…state terrorism of Albanian brand” (B. Shehu). Regardless of the efforts of incurable “propagandists”, who won’t accept this fact which is as clear as sunlight, and do not show any interest in testifying the destructive consequences of that bloody regime that we experience even today, it has to be admitted that the rate of communist crimes has reached the point in which they can be defined as “crimes against humanity” punishable by international law.

These efforts of “propagandists” only aim at removing the attention of Albanian people from the past as long as possible… until they are forgotten. With such development our consciences will remain tarnished. As a result our integration in the Free World as free citizens, which we aim, will become impossible. This development should serve even for the exposure of an aspect of our country at a certain time!

How is it possible that we have allowed ourselves as Albanian society to reach to this point? How is it possible that the politics of our country is so degenerated as to accept such “propositions”? How is it possible that Albanian youth, especially those educated in the country and abroad, has still not found the necessary strength to act against an atmosphere where the evil is not punished as it deserves?

The rate of insolence that characterizes the “tendency” to include in the Constitution of Albania an “article that bans once and for all the investigation into crimes of communism” overcomes any moral and legal limit. First of all, who is he or she that has the right to ‘forgive the wrong’ done by anyone, when he or she was not victim of the communist crime? Who is he or she that has the moral authority to forgive and decide on behalf of thousands of people executed through fake trials or no trial at all, on behalf of over 26,000 political prisoners, on behalf of more than 50,000 old people, women and children exiled and interned for 45 years in a row in the most difficult areas of the country, where the children of the children of former political personalities who opposed the communist regime, simple fugitives and innocent citizens were closed?

Who is he or she that can ‘forgive’ without considering hundreds of thousands of expropriated citizens of the “Republic”, youngsters who were denied education, former owners whose houses were arbitrarily seized and an entire population that lived with rationed bread and daily deficiency of food for long decades, walking dead in the squares of the city and roads of the village, scared to the core by the constant threats of the “Mother Party” and notorious legions of the State Security?

Secondly, how is it possible that an “article of the Constitution” is approved in a system where the Constitution is the fundamental law of the country and the essence of this law is the protection of the life and freedom of citizens? Thus, deny the right of the free citizen to investigate, to complain, to denounce the crime and seek justice from state institutions for the committed crime? Such a tendency is absurd in its shape and perverse in substance!

***

The development of events in the “Socialist camp” after Second World War L2B has proved that being a former persecuted person is not a guarantee that you won’t persecute others. Many of the international communist leaders have passed through persecutions and with their “victory” they persecuted others by using violence, they filled prisons and established the regime of terror.

A new privileged class has come to power and has been kept through violence, but it has failed to create a new society that treats all citizens with dignity, planting this way the seed of self-destruction! The concept ‘dictatorship first, then the vital needs’ is a concept that corrupts the human nature. The ‘nostalgic people’ in every former communist country, who have become rich arbitrarily now, will continue to keep a tense state with conflicts, injustice, corruption and misery… and … possibly with new dictators! And this is enough for our country never to rise, with a civil society aware of its role: a human, tolerant and, above all, not a violent society. The concept of the citizen includes the conscious participation in the social and political life of the country; participation is the main obstacle in the fight against dictatorship and totalitarian ideologies. 

Conscious participation fights bad rulers and their paid servants, fights the atmosphere in which they deceive themselves, and does not allow the repetition of the past. If the past had in its essence a tragic element, its repetition in us would only be a fatal comedy! Hope is all that is left! “Could they steal the “hope” while we stay indifferent,” wrote a bright mind recently.

He continues: “Could they deceive us while we don’t worry about it? How are we going to get out of this situation? How are we going to remove the abnormality of politics? How can we give back to people the hope for the future? I think that it is now time to make a new effort to bring the change…” (A. Starova) This is awareness raising, the first step of the solution.

A man must be conscious and convinced of the righteousness of the cause he defends, before becoming active, which is the second step. The warning of the President of the Republic is very worrying! If this “bad dream” is proved true it will be one of the greatest shames in our national history. It would be an indelible stain to all of us of anti-communist resistance.

Even the dead people would protest from their tombs against this monumental injustice. Now, what is left from the pro- communist attack is the request to arrest us again, all of us, “for the errors of the past” and fill the prisons once again with the victims of the tragic past! Do we live in the world of absurd? Truly we are not able to perceive such monstrousness!  (Daily Panorama, February 3, 2016)





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