Luljeta Kuqi on her view of the world outside Albania during communism
2012-05-12 (Saturday) § Leave a comment
Here’s another interview snippet from my recent visit to Albania. This is my former host mom, Luljeta Kuqi, talking about her understanding of the world outside Albania during the communist isolation of the country. It’s in Albanian, but an English translation is below.
L: Because at that time the Voice of America was on the radio. He [Enver Hoxha, Albanian dictator] got rid of the station. He didn’t allow it. My father – I remember when I was little – he turned on the radio and held it up to his ear like this, and told us “shhh”.
K: Only your father?
L: Only our father. We didn’t know. We minded our own business.
K: What impression did you have of – you as children – of the countries – of the world outside Albania at that time? Or did you not have any –
L: We had been raised under the idea that outside of Albania everyone was an enemy. They would kill us, they would kidnap us, they would come here, they would do this and that. The enemy would come, he would go here and there. So we felt hatred even earlier on, because we didn’t know anything. Because that’s what Enver Hoxha taught us, that’s what he said. Fascist Italy. Fascist Italy. We – the Italians, the Italians would come, they would kill us, they would kidnap us. What would the Italians have wanted here, killing us, what for?
K: Did you think people were all poor outside of Albania?
L: Yes, that’s what they said, that they were worse off than us. Because we didn’t know anything. Whoever tried to cross the border, whoever wanted to cross the border, if he was caught he would be killed. He [Hoxha] didn’t allow it, because he said “He’ll talk to others and tell them how it is out there.” A very harsh regime, Kenji. Fifty years.
K: Fifty years.
L: Fifty years, very harsh. When Enver Hoxha died, everyone cried.
K: They cried sincerely?
L: They cried sincerely. Everyone cried. “What are we going to do? Italy will come, they’ll kill us. The Germans will come, the Greeks will come. They’ll come, they’ll kill us,” because Enver told us –
K: You thought of him as a protector.
L: Yes, he was our commandant, our protector. That’s how it was.
L: Se atëherë jepesh edhe Zëri i Amerikës në radio. Ai e hiqte stacionin. Nuk të linte. Babai im – e mbaj mend kur isha e vogël – e niste radio dhe e mbante kështu tek veshi, edhe na thoshte neve “shhh”.
K: Vetëm babai?
L: Vetëm babai. Ne nuk e dishim. Ne rrinim.
K: Çfarë përshtypje kishit për – ju si fëmijë – për vend – për botën jashtë Shqipërisë atëherë? Apo s’kishit ndonjë –
L: Ne ishim rritur në një frymë që jashtë Shqipërisë janë të gjithë armiq. Do të na vrasin, do të na mbajnë, do të vijnë këtu, do bëjnë aty. Erdhi armiku, do dali këtej, do dali andej. Kështu që kishim një urrejtje më përpara, se nuk e dinim. Se kështu mësonte Enver Hoxha, kështu thoshte. Italia fashiste. Italia fashiste. Neve – italianët, do vijnë italianët, do na vrasin, do na mbajnë. Çfarë doshin italianët këtu, ne vrisnin neve, për çfarë?
K: A mendonit që njerëzit ishin të varfër të gjithë jashtë Shqipërisë?
L: Po, ashtu thonin, që do ishin më keq nga ne. Se nuk dishim. Kush tentonte të kalonte kufirin, kush donte të kalonte kufirin, ai po ta kapte do ta vriste. Nuk e linte, se thoshte “Flet me të tjerët dhe u tregon që kështu-kështu është andej.” Shumë regjim i rreptë, Kenxh. Pesëdhjetë vjet.
K: Pesëdhjetë vjet.
L: Pesëdhjetë vjet, shumë i rreptë. Kur ka vdek Enver Hoxha, të gjithë qanin.
K: Sinçerisht qanin?
L: Sinçerisht qanin. Të gjithë qanin. “Qysh do bëjmë ne? Do na vijë Italia, do na vrasin. Do na vijë Gjermani, do na vijë Greku. Do vishin, do na vrisshin neve,” se Enveri na –
K: E kishit si mbrojtës.
L: Po, Enverin e kishim komandant, e kishim mbrojtës. Kështu ishte.