Parliament commemorates MPs executed in 1947

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times October 13, 2017 07:03

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  • The event was part of efforts in Albania attempting to address the crimes of the communist regime

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Gentiana Sula, head of the Authority for Information on the Documents of Sigurimi, speaks in parliament. (@GentaSula/Twitter)

Gentiana Sula, head of the Authority for Information on the Documents of Sigurimi, speaks in parliament. (@GentaSula/Twitter)

TIRANA, Oct. 10 – Albania’s parliament held Tuesday a memorial session in honor of the 70th anniversary of the execution of 14 opposition lawmakers by the country’s communist regime — a session that saw the descendants of the victims address parliament together with current MPs and representatives of the international community.

The authority in charge of opening the files of the former communist secret police, Sigurimi, organised the event in cooperation with parliamentary officials, and its head, Gentiana Sula, said the forum offered an opportunity for family members and the public to get full knowledge on what happened to the MPs 70 years ago.

Family members read some of the files in parliament, providing chilling accounts of torture and violence that ultimately lead to the execution of many intellectuals for the sole reasons that they had attempted to create an organised opposition in parliament against the communist regime, which was then still entrenching itself in Albania.

The event was part of a larger trend of Albania attempting to address the crimes of the communist regime, 27 years after it fell.

Brian J. Williams, UN Resident Co-ordinator in Albania, told parliament the findings of a recent UN mission on enforced disappearances show Albania has still to come to terms with the gross and systematic violations of human rights committed by the country’s communist dictatorship.

“The past remains omnipresent and the wounds remain deep,” he said.

Current positive initiatives aimed at good governance, institution building, and the rule of law, cannot and will not reach their full potential if restrained by the bulk of the country’s painful past, Williams added.

The Head of the OSCE Presence in Albania, Ambassador Bernd Borchardt, told parliament he was proud to witness a historic moment in which todays lawmakers condemn the crimes of the previous regime.

“Knowledge and dialogue about the past play a crucial role in a liberating transition, they help re-establishing a country’s identity,” Borchardt said. “This parliament can discuss and decide whether Albania wants more of these transitional accounts which connect normatively the country’s past with its future. There are many more options to continue and to intensify this dialogue.”

Germany in particular, due to its past experiences with totalitarian regimes, has tried to lend a helping hand to Albania as it tries to shed light on the crimes of the communist regime.

The country’s ambassador, Susanne Schütz, told the special session of the parliament the Albania must deal with the past in a transparent way as this was needed to consolidate democracy.

As part of that process, she said, the law on the opening of the former Sigurimi files must be properly enforced.

Prime Minister Edi Rama said the session honoured the lives of the executed MPs, many whom held social-democratic views and simply wanted a democracy to take root in Albania, rather than a communist dictatorship.

Rama added that under his government, the law on opening the Sigurimi files was passed, a decisive move to detach from that past through daring to shed light on it.

Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha told the special memorial session that more needs to be done to come to terms with Albania’s dark past.

“We must find and identify the remains of all victims of communism, honour martyrs of Albanian pluralism, expose communism crimes and the tragic story of how an entire nation fell under communism’s claws,” Basha said.

He added that some of the people that had trained and held positions during communists were still actively involved in the Albanian politics, parliament and government today, and this was something he saw as shameful.

He said his party would also introduce legislation to ban all communist symbols.


Tirana Times
By Tirana Times October 13, 2017 07:03