A collection of communism survivors’ memories comes in a publication

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times October 26, 2018 10:52

A collection of communism survivors’ memories comes in a publication

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  • A memoir of multiple volumes is being published by the Authority for Information on Documents about State Security, on the recollections of internment camps survivors from the communist regime. The memoir will serve to educate people on the regime’s shady history, and perhaps better understand freedom and adapt it to current terms.

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TIRANA, Oct. 22- A collected memoir on multiple volumes on the remembrances of communism survivors from internment camps is being published. This book comes in regard of memory and freedom ratio. Freedom can exist when everyone is free, that is why we have to search for the truth everywhere in order to build new trusting relationships with one-another.

What we can remember and what we choose as our ideals define what we will become. However, we cannot always rely on memories, but they help in our understanding of what we shall do today. ‘’Albania is small to view, but also to mourn,’’ is a typed phrase from Tepelena camp survivor Gjele Gjikola, which would explain the current political and metaphysical situation in Albania.

The memoir is filled with painful personal stories of concentration camp survivors from the communist regime. However, they incite a societal dialogue about the past, which even though uneasy, it could only happen through this sort of documentation.

‘’My story, is a moral obligation to my parents, myself, for you children, for my fellow sufferers and for society,’’ says another survivor.

Facing the truth is what brings society healing and reestablishes balance. This facing also implies peeping on the fates of the innocent and honoring the sacrifices of those who made it with human dignity, by knowing their experiences, through their voices.

This memoir comes as a work initiated from the Authority for Information on Documents about State Security (AIDSS), under observation of its director Gentiana Sula. The stories come from ‘’Even walls have ears’’, which is a platform about the confessions gathered from AIDSS. The authority gives its support for scientific research by looking on State Security archives and educating people thought the stories gathered from unheard voices. The platform is part of the bigger project ‘’We recall to heal and prevent’’ created by AIDSS, in collaboration with UNDP Albania and the Italian government. The first volume is about recollections from the Tepelena internment camp from 1949-1953, and more volumes will follow with recollections from other camps, but also from the regional citizens and their coexistence with the camp and internees.

Dr. professor Gjergj Sinani in the introduction of the book stresses that the power division, press freedom, acknowledging the private property and its lawful protection, and the development of a civic society, are some of the tools that can be effectively used to achieve the aforementioned goals. In function of these goals is also the discovery and acquisition of confessions from people who survived the violence and terror of the communist totalitarianism, those who sacrificed their lives and youth, as for their own ideas and acts, or as due to kinship. Acknowledging the life’s cavalry, their resistance in the camps, and their publication is important as it brings more light to the reality as it was lived by so many, but which remained hidden and misrepresented by those in power during communism.

This would have a transformative impact in the human consciousness, and it would also add more discussion in the history. Sinani wishes for the dialogue to be conducted around the influence of the 45-year-long regime on the mentality and current governmental instruments, and to draw lines on the reciprocal distinctions and impacts.

What’s the difference between history and memory, and is the latter reliable? What can the historian do, and how has politics abused on specific phrases to justify communist crimes and cover their faults?

‘’There are so many other questions that can’t be empirically answered to, but that require deep knowledge of historical processes, knowing the human values and the proper method to build the most accurate and best dialogue, analysis and evaluation,’’ writes Sinani in the foreword.

History and memory are two different domains for him. Everyone has their memory, bad or happy. Memory preserves traces of the past, internalized and merged with our identity. In an individual level there are never two identical memories. But it can also be collective, created by many people, however, memory is always under the influence of the present on which it is being created.


Tirana Times
By Tirana Times October 26, 2018 10:52