Title: Ridënimi (Resentence)
Author: Fatos Lubonja
Place of publication: Tiranë
Year of Publication: 1996
Genre: Documentary novel
© all rights reserved to the author : firstname.lastname@example.org
The plot: This book portrays life in Albania during the communist era. The author spent many years in one of the most infamous prisons of that time, in Spaç. He spent those years in an a typical way, without anger, rancour and tears. The book’s documentary narration is a report of the fact that the communist dictatorship in Albania was the harshest among those of the countries of the Eastern Bloc. It shows the compulsory labour camps, the investigative offices and those of the mental persecution, the prisons, the mines, and other places of physical and mental sufferings. Lubonja writes how the chances of coming out of that prison were equal to those of dying inside it.
I returned to my cell under the impression that the confrontation had been a formality, while my denial entirely disregarded. I then kept pondering the fact that the three scoundrels who came and slandered me so shamelessly were young men, physically strong, had the support of their families and a certain educational and cultural level. I couldn’t fully grasp the flaw in their personalities that allowed them to defame someone like that. The lack of shame, but what was that? Probably the lack of a moral memory, a condition similar to that of an animal, which pursues the momentary profit; apparently, man was closer to that, when at a young age.
But then I thought of many people their age who were proud and idealistic, who did the hardest jobs in the mine, without fearing the galleries or the police and even had the tendency to challenge them both. And then I thought about some old men in the camp that were as wicked as these three, if not more. It seemed to me that the difference laid in the relationship people had with authority, regardless of the age. It was those that who weakened and submitted to the shadow of authority that were now serving this purpose. But even this argument didn’t hold. There were other prisoners in the camp who were tame and submissive, but they did not become involved in such filthy matters. Grigor’s kind was at the same time aggressive and shameless to the point of making it a crime as well as servile and submissive again to the point of making it a crime.
However, I had noticed one thing: the older this kind of people got, the less aggressive they became, adding more and more slyness and secrecy to their wicked business.
The extract is translated from the Albanian by Manjola Nasi