The Dictator’s Son And The Orphan Blame

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By Jonila Godole | Albanian Daily News, 3 July 20

The children of dictators don’t have it easy. They carry on their backs the arsenal of crimes committed by their parents; the trauma of the degrading of the father’s myth, from God to the criminal, as well as the moral dilemmas.

When you read the biography of Svetlana Alliluyeva, Stalin’s daughter, you are confronted with a person who spent her whole life on the run to escape her biography and the shadow of her father. After Stalin’s death, Svetlana changed her name to Lana Peters and left the Soviet Union. She died in solitude and mental confusion at the age of 85 in an asylum in Wisconsin. Zoia Ceausescu recounted the obsession of her mother, Elena, and the psychological violence she inflicted on her children by setting Securitate officers,after them, wherever they would go.

In Albania we have had only the testimony, from the son of the former PM Shehu, writer Bashkim Shehu, who not only distanced himself from the crimes of his family during the dictatorship, but to this day continues to write on the criminal life and dehumanization that regime committed. In such an environment such as the Albanian one, where there was no serious confrontation of the justice with the communism crimes, the distancing of someone from the crimes of one’s father requires courage. And this case remains secluded, as many others chose to stay silent, and in some cases even glorify the period.

The latest case of this glorification is the letter of the dictator’s son, addressed to the head of government and foreign missions on a procedural issue related to the demolition of the Hoxha family’s apartment. In the multitude of other denunciations by Albanian citizens in these 30 years, this case would have been overlooked if it wouldn’t have been for the name of the individual. He is the reflection where we can see the functionality of the democratic system, but also the ugliness of the moral system we have established.

From the letter we see that its sender is well acquainted with all the notions of human tights, but to date has never mentioned their violation during the 45 years of communism. The irony is that legally, he may even be entitled to his request, but, morally, to seek to exploit the democratic system to preserve the relics of a dictator is shameless! The question is not whether the child of a criminal is guilty or not, because the responsibilities are individual. However, just as crime remains a crime, as our every action is subject to moral judgment.

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There should have been a discussion on the guilt and the guilty in Albania right after the fall of the dictatorship. Through a sense of consensus between the ones who left power and the ones who took it, “the political blame” was shared between the people and the Labour Party. Part of the confrontation farce would be the famous trials against the regime leaders in 1992-1996, which would be released in 1999, with the coming of the SP in power. Their accusations would change every year, from genocide and crimes against humanity, to abuse of funds, turning the initial positive effort into something ridiculous.

The judging the “political blame” of the winners who took power in 1990 under the table would mark our entire culture of memory for three decades: lack of lustration; lack of decommunization; efforts to rehabilitate the figure of dictator Hoxha through biographies of close associates and festive activities with his portraits; rehabilitation of political leaders in the government of the last dictator, Alia; rehabilitation of former directors of prisons and internment camps; keeping alive the spirit of class hatred and its constant fulling through public discourse and propaganda, etc.

Thus, it takes courage to apologize and forgive. Let’s be clear, even if the dictator’s son or the entire Albanian society apologized to the victims of communism. This apology wouldn’t be enough for those who have been suffering for 70 years. The financial compensation for the unjust years of imprisonment for the representatives of the nomenclature was a second murder of the victims of communism, who still have not found justice and have not been compensated for the years of imprisonment and their persecution.

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