Spaç Prison, ‘A sobering reminder of the sacrifices made by those who fought for freedom and against tyranny’

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times October 23, 2015 22:02

Spaç Prison, ‘A sobering reminder of the sacrifices made by those who fought for freedom and against tyranny’

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  • * Ambassador Donald Lu heads the U.S. Embassy in Tirana. He shared the text and photos of his visit on the embassy’s Facebook page.  

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* Ambassador Donald Lu heads the U.S. Embassy in Tirana. He shared the text and photos of his visit on the embassy’s Facebook page.

By Donald Lu*

My colleagues and I visited Spaç today and were struck by the irony of the story of human brutality at this prison juxtaposed against the beauty of the rugged mountain landscape of this area.

A visit to the prison at Spaç is a sobering reminder of the sacrifices made by those who fought for freedom and against tyranny, and all too often died in that pursuit. We were fortunate to have three experts tell us the stories of those who lived and died here — Gjet Gjoni, our local guide, and Nedi Petri and Jonathan Eaton of the NGO Cultural Heritage without Borders.

Yesterday, I had the honor of meeting Fabian Kati, who was a political prisoner at Spaç in the mid-1980’s . Mr. Kati has devoted his life to making sure we do not forget the tragedy at Spaç. He, together with other former prisoners at Spaç, is working to establish a museum in the former communist prison so that these important stories will be shared with future generations. He has also produced documentary films and written books about those who perished and survived this brutal ordeal.

My own great-grandmother died in a communist prison in China. She was arrested while helping other families escape from China during the Maoist Revolution in 1947. Today, I remember my great-grandmother ,thousands of Albanians, and countless others from around the world who fought for the freedoms that today we all enjoy.

On our Embassy grounds there is a magnolia tree, planted by our community. Beneath this tree, there’s a plaque, engraved with a quote by Maya Angelou that reads, “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

I encourage young Albanians to visit Spaç and to hear the stories of those brave Albanians who survived and perished in this place. Soon it will be your responsibility to retell these stories to your children.

* Ambassador Donald Lu heads the U.S. Embassy in Tirana. He shared the text and photos of his visit on the embassy’s Facebook page.  

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times October 23, 2015 22:02