Tuesday, 26 June 2007

TEARING UP THE PAST





By Fatmir Terziu
The documentary was transmitted in the time when Albania lost another big friend, China. While watching the documentary we heard " We build the Socialism with our forces" over a hundred times. What were those forces? It was laughable. Everything was rationed and poverty had occupied the entire country. The man in the documentary a goatherd and member of Communist Party of Albania had beaten the record of the amount of milk a goat made and had been selected, as an example of how all Albanians should be. Latter we heard that he was sent to prison because of his false declaration about the milk amount.

Iwas 13 years and almost two months old on September 13 1977. It was a day on which Albanian government had announced that VAT on electricity was to go up from 7% to 12%. A warrant had been issued for the arrest of new group "traitors" in Albania. The Central Comity of Enver Hodja's PPSH had pledged to continue in socialist way without support from outside countries, "especially from the capitalists and revisionists" as Hodja said. None of which weighed very heavily on my mind as I settled down with my family to watch the black and white television after main news at eight. It was a Tuesday night during the school term, so normally I would have been getting ready for bed at this time. This getting ready for bed had another reason; the lights had to be turned off at the time, because the costs of electricity had increased. But there was a special programme showing this evening, something none of us wanted to miss. It was called "With blood boiling" (Me gjak te ndezur"), and although we had never heard of the man presenting it, it was the only Albanian National Television during that time and there was no doubt in our minds that it constituted essential viewing. It was a documentary about a goatherd from Tropoja a city in Northern Albania; the place where the Albanian Communist leader Enver Hodja visited in the 1960's after Albania had lost its friendship with Russia. The documentary was transmitted in the time when Albania lost another big friend, China. While watching the documentary we heard " We build the Socialism with our forces" over a hundred times. What were those forces? It was laughable. Everything was rationed and poverty had occupied the entire country. The man in the documentary a goatherd and member of Communist Party of Albania had beaten the record of the amount of milk a goat made and had been selected, as an example of how all Albanians should be. Latter we heard that he was sent to prison because of his false declaration about the milk amount. A secret police force found out that he added water to the milk and when he had become a member of Hodja's Party nobody inspected him. What did we expect from this programme? We expected to be frightened, I imagine to have been scared from the forces of Hodja's regime and to forget the poverty and other problems of the nation. 
At the same time my neighbour had turned his TV off and was listening to music from The Beatles from his radio with a low volume. But as low as the volume was, it the silence of the night the music travelled to my ears. Without knowing it I had fallen asleep with The Beatles song on my mind…


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