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THE ARUMANIAN QUESTION:  LESSONS OF A BLOODY HISTORY

By Spiro Shetuni

 Mastermind of the systematic persecution of the Arumanian population of Albania was himself the leader of the Communist Party of this country:  the communist dictator, Enver Hoxha (1908-85).  The bloody sharp sword of social-political system of communist dictatorship—the Secret Service of the Albanian Communist State (Ministry of Internal Affairs, together with the Branches of Internal Affairs)--oppressed, persecuted, imprisoned, and killed a tremendous number of Arumanians to implement exactly the directives of the central leadership of the country. 

A DEEP PROTEST

            In light of irrefutable evidence, it can be accepted without the slightest doubt, the history of Arumanian population of Albania, during the second half of the twentieth century, is certainly a history washed with blood. The bloody sharp sword of social-political system of communist dictatorship—the Secret Service of the Albanian Communist State (Ministry of Internal Affairs, together with the Branches of Internal Affairs)--exercised an unprecedented genocide against Arumanians in general and against pilgrim/cattleman Arumanians in particular, bringing catastrophic consequences in their lives.

            Therefore, as a representative of the Arumanian population, through the six-part series, My people:  The Arumanians (Denver, Colorado:  Outskirts Press, Inc., 2015), I protest, protest, protest!  I want to express openly, among other things, my deep protest against the Communist Party of Albania, for the systematic persecution it exercised on my Arumanian brothers during such a historic period!

            I am absolutely sure that, in this deep protest, I am joined by hundreds and thousands of Arumanians, who, directly or indirectly, suffered under the communist hell!  I am absolutely sure that, in this deep protest, I am joined by all Arumanians of the countries of the Balkan Peninsula and the entire Southeastern Europe!  I am absolutely sure that, in this deep protest, I am joined by all Arumanians of the globe! 

THE TRUTH AND THE LIE

               The pilgrim/cattleman Arumanians of Albania feel it as a duty to make known to the people of the countries of the Balkan Peninsula and the entire Southeastern Europe, as well as to all civilized peoples of the world, that the true causes of their persecution during the reign of the social-political system of communist dictatorship (1944-91), were not accusations, such as:

  •    “Hostile activities to violently overthrow the Communist Government of Albania, in cooperation with the Greek State’s Secret Service!”

  •    “Hostile activities to harm as much as possible the Albanian Communist State’s economy, especially the livestock of the country!”

  •    “Hostile activities to discredit leading figures of the Communist Party of Albania and the Albanian Communist Government!”

  •    “Hostile activities to create disbelief, shaking, panic on the path of ‘building of socialism!’''

  •    “Hostile activities, whose main aim was the overthrow of the political and social system of the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ in Albania!”

                    The real causes of persecution of pilgrim/cattleman Arumanians of Albania, during the reign of social-political system of dictatorship (1944-91), were simply objective factors, such as:

  •    the Arumanian origin, ancestry, ethnicity--nationality;

  •    the Arumanian language;

  •    the Orthodox Christian religion;

  •    the free movement of Arumanians:  because of their lifestyle and their basic profession, prior to November 29, 1944, they moved freely, from Greece (northern and central regions:  Epirus, Northern Pindus, Macedonia, Thessaly) to Albania
        (western, central, and southern regions), etc., and vice-versa.

                  To be able to express myself in another way, the main cause of persecution of Aumanians was simply their Arumanian origin, ancestry, ethnicity--nationality!  The unprecedented genocide that was inflicted on Arumanians stemmed simply in this matter! 

CONSEQUENCES OF PERSECUTION

             As I have noted in previous chapters, the consequences of persecution of pilgrim/cattleman Arumanians of Albania, during the reign of social-political system of communist dictatorship (1944-91), was dramatic from every point of view:  physical, psychological, economic, political, social, etc.  It seemed as if the hopes of imprisoned Arumanians for a free life did no exist anymore!  Or, to be able to express myself in a different way, it seemed as if the life, dreams, their future, had ceased once and for all!  Meanwhile, persecution was bringing dramatic consequences for family members of imprisoned Arumanians and members of the tribes, to whom they belonged.  Let me just mention a few of them, such as:

  •   the dreadful weeping of mothers for their handcuffed sons!

  •   the hot tears of fathers for their sons newly arrested!

  •   the long shrieks of children for their parents leaving homes!

  •   the infinite sadness of women for their husbands already separated from families!

  •   the deep mourning of all members of the families:  sisters and brothers!

  •   the great anxiety crossing all people of the tribes which belonged to political prisoners:  relatives, near or distant!

  •   the untold psychological suffering caused by the destruction of engagements, marriages, and families for purely political reasons!

  •   the extreme fear the communist dictatorial system was planting!

  •   the deep economic misery caused by it, etc., etc.!
     

 EVIL TACTICAL PERSECUTION

       Albania's Communist Government, roughly in the middle of 1978, began to introduce a satanic persecution tactic against the Arumanian population.  After this year, at least some Arumanians, were not punished for allegedly “Developing hostile activities to violently overthrow the Communist Government of Albania, in cooperation with the Greek State’s Secret Service!”  They were sentenced only because supposedly were developing “Agitation and propaganda against the political and social system of the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ in Albania.”  Obviously, the Communist Government of Albania was forced to use such a tactic, because the Government of the Republic of Rumania spoke openly on defense of the honest and innocent Arumanians.  (A clue as important as this has come only through oral stories of Arumanian prisoners!)

       Thus, the bloody sharp sword of social-political system of communist dictatorship—the Secret Service of the Albanian Communist State (Ministry of Internal Affairs, together with the Branches of Internal Affairs)--after severely persecuted the Arumanians for decades, roughly in the middle of 1978, surprisingly, began to look, at least at some Arumanians, as a hostile category relatively less dangerous than the main category of their ethnic community!  The truth of the matter is that, historically, all Arumanians, without exception, were punished for allegedly developing “Hostile activities whose main aim was the overthrow of the political and social system of the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ in Albania!”  So, from a political point of view, they belonged to a single category, which was considered too dangerous for the existence of political and social system in power.  Within the context set forth above, many meditations arise, some of which perhaps could be formulated as follows:

  •   What was happening, perhaps, in the history of Arumanian population of Albania?!

  •   How was it possible, perhaps, that now, at least a number of Arumanians, was included into a hostile category relatively less dangerous than the main category of their ethnic community?!

  •   Will, perhaps, hereinafter, the official political stance toward the Arumanians substantially change?!

  •   Had, perhaps, the communist black clouds begun slowly to leave Albanian heaven where God and history had brought Arumanians?

  •   Did, perhaps, the mountains of Albania, such as:  Polis, Lenie, Tomorr, Rungajë, Dry Mountain, Gramoz, Çajup, Nemërçkë, etc., where Arumanians grazed their cattle during the summer, get tired of communist half-century big frost, which had taken its toll on them?!

  •   Did, perhaps, the fields of Dumre, Myzeqe, Konispol, etc., where Arumanians grazed their cattle during the winter, not tolerate anymore the communist half-century dense fog?!

 However, the facts imply that nothing important was happening in the history of the Arumanian population of Albania.  The above phenomenon—the view, of at least of some Arumanians, as a hostile category less dangerous than the main category of their ethnic community--did not constitute a new strategy of persecution, but only a devilish tactic of persecution of the Arumanian population.  Four years later, the imprisoned Arumanians did not benefit at all from the broad amnesty of November, 1982!  They all, again, continued to serve their too long sentences in dreadful prisons of the communist regime!  The hatred of the social-political system of communist dictatorship toward the Arumanians was very deep!  But, obviously, nor fear of this system by the Arumanians, was not less deep! 

HISTORY OF THE ARUMANIAN POPULATION CAN AND SHOULD BE WRITTEN, IN THE FIRST PLACE, BY THE ARUMANIANS THEMSELVES

               Regarding the history of Arumanian population of Albania, the question is that, unprecedented genocide committed against her, during the reign of social-political system of communist dictatorship (1944-91), can be brought to the surface completely.  Systematic wild persecution can and should become an important object of study, by both the Arumanians who have experienced it in general, and also by Arumanian intellectuals in particular.  Arumanian population’s history can and should be written, firstly, by the Arumanians themselves.

  We, Arumanians, let us yet become more aware that it is necessary to write on prominent figures of our ethnic community in all its complexity:  figures of all main ethnic groups:  pilgrim/cattleman or sedentary;  figures of all historical periods:  past and present;  figures of all areas of life:  educational, scientific, social, political, cultural, and artistic.  It is important that, without wasting time, immediately, as soon as possible, for each Arumanian personality, be written books:  books with documents, books with memoirs, books with extensive historical and social analysis, etc.  Just so they will be made known to generations of society:  present and future!  Just so they will be perpetuated forever!  Just so they will better illuminate our path to the future!  

  In this context, with regard to the pilgrim/cattleman Arumanians, it would be a forgetfulness guilt that the dust cover the names of persecuted Arumanian tribes, names of killed Arumanians, names of Arumanians who died dramatically in jail, etc.  I think it is an urgent issue to be explored, among others:

  •   Arumanian tribes, which were severely persecuted, which were deported, which were expelled;

  •   Wealthy Arumanians, who were forcibly dispossessed, who were discredited as ‘kulaks,’ who were imprisoned, who died dramatically in prison, or were shot;

  •   Arumanians, ordinary or personalities, who were discredited as ‘kulaks,’ who were imprisoned, who died dramatically in prison, or were shot, etc., etc.

             To illuminate in centuries as pearls, let be written with golden letters, then, among others:

  •    the names of the pilgrim/cattleman Arumanian tribes, which were persecuted simply, both because of nationality, and because of their economically rich situatian, such as:

            o   Basho (Mareta) Tribe:       4 members sentenced
            o
   Dodi Tribe:                        4 members sentenced
            o
   Gërco Tribe:                      4 members sentenced
            o
   Gramozi Tribe:                  4 members sentenced
            o   Jano Tribe:                        9 members sentenced
            o   Jica Tribe:                         5 members sentenced
            o   Kapurani Tribe:                 7 members sentenced
            o   Marko Tribe:                     6 members sentenced
            o   Mejdiu Tribe:                     6 members sentenced
            o   Poçi Tribe:                         4 members sentenced
            o   Siveri Tribe:                       5 members sentenced
            o   Shupuli Tribe:                    6 members sentenced
            o   Zguri Tribe:                       5 members sentenced
            o   Zharkalliu Tribe:               11 members  sentenced

  •   the names of the pilgrim/cattleman Arumanians, who were killed simply because of their nationality, such as:

·                 o   Basho, Nikolla Janaq
            o
   Fara, Theodhori
            o
   Cukali, Jorgji Kosta
            o
   Goçi, Nikolla Janaq
            o
   Hito, Niko
            o
   Jica, Vasil Janaq
            o
   Kapurani, Ilia Miho
            o
   Kapurani, Mihal Janaq
            o
   Liço, Janaq
            o
   Mejdiu, Nasho Dhimitër
            o
   Naçe, Apostol Ndina
            o
   Spaho, Pandi
            o
   Zoga, Jani Koço

  •   the names of the pilgrim/cattleman Arumanians, who died dramatically in jail simply because of their nationality, such as:


            o   Gorica, Jeras Janaq
            o
   Gramozi, Vangjel Kosta
            o
   Jano, Nasho Foto
            o
   Jano, Ndina Janaq
            o
   Jano, Rako Fotoo   Marko, Kristo Sotir
            o
   Mejdiu, Arqile Pano
            o
   Mejdiu, Vasil Janaq
            o
   Niça, Leonidha Janaq
            o
   Poçi, Koço Vangjel
            o
   Siveri, Pano Tashul
            o
   Tarusha, Ilia Kosta
            o
   Tasho, Andon Thoma
            o
   Zharkalliu, Vasillaq Nasho

  •   the names of the pilgrim/cattleman or sedentary Arumanians, who were killed during the National Liberation Anti-fascist War of Albania (1939-44), or fell in the line of duty, such as:

            o   Kushi, Vojo (1918-42):  Legendary commander of guerrilla units during the first years of the National Liberation Anti-fascist War (1939-44), who, along with three other partisans, fell heroically in clashes with Italian fascist forces, on October 7, 1942, at a place called 'Red Hill' (Tirana).  Hero of Homeland.
            o   Poçi, Anthony Jorgji (1926-44):  Legendary partisan of the National Liberation Anti-fascist War (1939-44), who fell heroically in the village of Lazarat (Gjirokastra), in clashes with numerous enemy forces.  Martyr of Homeland.
            o   Spiru, Nako (1918-47):  Prominent leader during both the National Liberation Anti-fascist War (1939-44), and the early years of the post-liberation period, who was killed just for certain political purposes by Secret Service of Albanian Communist State, on November 20, 1947.  Honor of Homeland.
            o   Trasha, Vasil (1926-58):  Legendary aviator, who fell in the line of duty on March 23, 1958, while flying over the hills of the village of Fier-Shegan (Lushnje).  Martyr of Homeland.
            o   Tutulani Kristaq (1919-43):  Legendary partisan of the National Liberation Anti-fascist War (1939-44), who was brutally executed by Italian fascists in the village of Gosë (Kavaja), on July 6, 1943.  Hero of Homeland.
            o   Tutulani Margarita (1924-43):  Legendary partisan of the National Liberation Anti-fascist War (1939-44), who was brutally executed by Italian fascists in the village of Gosë (Kavaja), on July 6, 1943.  Hero of Homeland.

  •    the names of the pilgrim/cattleman or sedentary Arumanians, who have given an outstanding contribution to the benefit of the Homeland, such as:

            o   Kote, Spiro (1926-):  Officer of the Military Naval Fleet, who, on June 1, 1947, did not let the motovedeta ‘Mujo Ulqinaku’ be robbed by three traitors.  Hero of Homeland.
            o   Moisiu, Spiro (1900-81):  Commander General of the Army during the National Liberation Anti-fascist War (June 1943-November 1944).

A WISH BEFORE DEATH

              I, before I die, I want to learn the answer of some questions so critical for the half-century history of Arumanian population of Albania.  They probably could be formulated as follows:

  •   Please, for God's sake, can someone tell me as to where are the remains of many legendary Arumanians shot?!  Can someone tell me as to where are the lifeless bodies of many legendary Arumanians, who died dramatically in jail?!  In what obscure places are they thrown?!

  •   Please, for God's sake, can anyone find me the remains of legendary Arumanians shot?!  Can anyone find me the lifeless bodies of legendary Arumanians, who died dramatically in jail?!  Can anyone identify them to me?!  Can anyone bring them as soon as possible to the graveyard?!

      The aim is to make the legendary martyred Arumanians a magnificent burial, as they deserve it!  In this way, families and their relatives will feel a kind of rest and tranquility!  Also, the Arumanian ethnic community of Albania would feel more secure in its path to the future! Only by learning from the half-century bloody history, it will not allow the persecutions of the past to be repeated in the future!

 ARUMANIANS IN IMPORTANT PARTY AND STATE POSITIONS

However, for the sake of truth, we should not forget that, the landscape of the Arumanian ethnic community of Albania, during the second half of the twentieth century, a period that roughly coincides with the reign of social-political system of communist dictatorship in this country (1944-91), is not simply a picture with two colors:  black and white, oppressor and oppressed.  It is a gray panorama:  the facts show that, during the second half of the twentieth century, a number of Arumanians managed to occupy important party and state positions, such as:

  •   secretaries of Communist Party committees of various districts of the country;

  •   members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Albania;

  •   members of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Albania;

  •   secretaries of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Albania;

  •   chairmen of executive committees of various districts of the country;

  •   ministers of various departments of the Communist Government of Albania, etc.

In this context, can arise at least three main opinions: Firstly, the top party and state positions, Arumanians did not get at all as representatives of their ethnic community, which historically had never the status of a legally recognized ethnic minority, but just as loyal servants of the social-political system in power.  Therefore, historically, they behavied toward their Arumanian brothers simply as representatives of this system.
            Secondly, the higher the party and state positions of Arumanins were, so far less was their interest toward the Arumanian ethnic community:  it seemed as if they could accept everything, but their Arumanian origin, ancestry, ethnicity--nationality.  Therefore, historically, they did nothing useful in favor of their Arumanian brothers.  (In 1991, when the social-political system of communist dictatorship was collapsing in Albania, a former deputy minister of the Secret Service of Albanian Communist State, as suddenly as surprisingly, said:   “Today, I declare that I am an Arumanian!”  Immoral as he was, having benefited posing as Muslim Albanian for fifty years, now he wanted to take advantage again stating that he was an Orthodox Christian Arumanian!)
            Thirdly, did the Arumanians who were in party and state senior positions not see that Arumanian population of Albania was systematically persecuted?!  Did they not see that their Arumanian brothers were being arrested constantly one after another?!  Why then either they did not dare to discredit the social-political system in power?!  Why then either they did not raise their voice in defense of their Arumanian brothers?!
            Let us hope that, in the future, Arumanians which will occupy party and state high positions, will behave in a different way:  as individuals who care deeply about the history, life, and culture of their Arumanian community.
            ***
            No government on the face of earth has and can  have as its monopoly the right!  Has and can have as its monopoly the truth!  Has and can have as its monopoly the wisdom!  Likewise, the universal human rights of the Arumanian people are not and can not be a gift of a particular government!  They are only the God-given gift!   Basic issues, such as:  the survival of Arumanian nation;  its progress and continuous development from every point of view;  his full equality in every aspect with other Balkan nations, etc., depend, primarily, from the thoughts and actions of Arumanian community itself!
            God bless the Arumanians of countries of the Balkan Peninsula and the entire Southeastern Europe, wherever they are, wherever they live and work!
            God bless my people!


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