Slouching Toward Democracy

Albania, fifty miles across the Adriatic Sea from Italy, has the same beautiful coastline as Montenegro and Croatia to its north and Greece to its south. The 3.3 million citizens of this small, mountainous country roughly the size of Maryland suffered longer and more silently under communism than those of any other European nation. Economically backward, militarily insignificant, and politically isolated, Albania slipped out of sight during the cold war. For forty-five years, from 1944 to 1989, it remained closed, as remote to its European neighbors as a mountaintop Himalayan kingdom. Few people knew, or cared, about the brutality of its leaders or the persecution of its people.

Enver Hoxha, Albania’s despot from 1944 until his death in 1985, was a Communist partisan who led the resistance against the Italian and German forces that occupied Albania during World War II; he established one of the first of the postwar Communist regimes in Europe. He took power in an undeveloped, largely Muslim country that had long been dominated by outside powers: the Ottoman Turks, who exerted political control for hundreds of years, and, more recently, the Italians, who after World War I were a major economic influence during the monarchy of King Zog—a monarchy that ended when the Italian army invaded in 1939.

Hoxha remained an orthodox Communist throughout his life, becoming more independent and isolationist in his policies through the years. He sided with Stalin in the Soviet Union’s 1948 break with Tito, then broke with Moscow’s post-Stalin leaders in 1961, and supported Mao Zedong in the Soviet-China split. Albania withdrew from the Warsaw Pact in 1968, and was the only country in Europe that did not sign the 1975 Helsinki Final Act. After Mao’s death in 1976, Hoxha broke with China.

Hoxha took from Stalin and from Mao the harshest features of their repressive systems. His handpicked successor, Ramiz Alia, continued those policies after Hoxha’s death, and began to modify them only after 1989 when the revolutionary turmoil that brought down communism elsewhere in Europe gradually began to filter into Albania. In April 1990 Alia expressed interest in signing the Helsinki Final Act, thereby modifying Albania’s longstanding reclusive policies. A few restrictive laws were rescinded, such as the “crime” of religious propaganda, or limited in their application, as was the case with “agitation and propaganda against the state,” but not in time to prevent protest demonstrations by students and attempts by thousands of Albanians to flee the country. By the end of 1990 Alia gave in to public pressure and agreed to release political prisoners, to allow opposition political parties to be formed, and to hold multiparty elections in 1991. A year later, in parliamentary elections that were held on March 22, 1992, the opposition Democratic Party of Sali Berisha, a medical doctor, won the majority of seats in the parliament. Alia resigned, and Dr. Berisha became president. In September Alia was charged with unlawfully taking public funds; he is now under house arrest and awaiting trial.

On the surface, Albania is not unlike some other new democracies in the Balkans and Central Europe. Several political parties are represented in the 140-seat parliament, the two largest being the majority Democratic Party, which controls ninety-two seats, and the Socialist Party, which replaced the banned Labor (Communist) Party and holds thirty-eight parliamentary seats. A group of intellectuals, dissatisfied with President Berisha’s policies, recently left the Democratic Party and formed a new Democratic Alliance outside parliament. Several nongovernmental groups have been formed in Albania, among them a Helsinki Committee, demanding that the rights guaranteed by the Helsinki accords be protected, a group representing former political prisoners, and a women’s organization.

But despite these signs of pluralism, the government’s ability to sustain democracy seems shaky, especially because of the staggering weight of the Communist past and because the country has come to an economic standstill, existing mainly on foreign aid and the money and clothes that Albanian émigrés send from abroad.

Hoxha’s regime was extremely cruel. He boasted that Albania was the world’s first atheist state, and banned religion there. (Previously 70 percent of Albanians had been Muslim, 20 percent Eastern Orthodox, and 10 percent Roman Catholic.) He also banned foreign travel and private ownership of cars. He kept files on all Albanian citizens, which followed them from workplace to workplace throughout their lives. These files remain sealed to this day. He banned the independent practice of law: none of the many thousands who were tried and sentenced before 1990, either as political dissidents or as common criminals, had a defense lawyer at the trial. Some were sentenced without any trial, while others were summarily executed or disappeared.

Under Hoxha, many thousands of Albanians were imprisoned on political grounds or because of their class background; no one is certain of the total number. Sentences were outrageously long: thirty- or forty-year prison terms were not uncommon. People arrested were treated with exceptional cruelty, both in prison, where additional sentences were frequently tacked on just when prisoners were about to be released, and in internal exile, which invariably followed their imprisonment, and where they were forced to work in the fields under conditions approaching slavery.

The families of those imprisoned also suffered internal exile: not only wives and husbands, mothers, fathers, and children, but sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces—all were sent into remote regions or otherwise made to suffer for a relative’s “crimes,” a punishment that continued from generation to generation. With the end of dictatorship, political prisoners and their families are returning from exile—gaunt and ravaged men and women who are now demanding restitution for the injustices of the past from a government that is sympathetic to their complaints but too poor to help them.

Flying into Tirana airport on my first visit to Albania this November, * I saw a vast expanse of undeveloped beach merging into a broad, flat plain of scratchy farmland ringed by mountains. The plain stretches inland, some thirty miles or so, to the capital city of Tirana, where the mountains serve as a constant backdrop, unreachable for lack of roads. As we landed, we saw cows grazing along the bumpy runway, which was made up of large concrete paving blocks and had been built, I later learned, by gangs of prisoners. A soldier guarding the runway with an automatic rifle, no more than a boy, waved eagerly to the plane; only a few flights arrive each day. The airfield was full of people who had come to meet the plane and were milling around in noisy excitement. We were soon driving along the winding road to Tirana, past donkeys and horse-carts, lopsided haystacks, and wandering sheep. Women were listlessly working the fields with primitive hoes. Our interpreter, a teacher of English at the university, described her shock and sense of betrayal when she went to Paris for the first time in 1989 and saw the quality and variety of goods that were available in a market economy. “In two months in France I bought more than in all the fifteen years of my marriage,” she told me.

Wherever I looked—in the fields, on the mountain slopes, along the road, in the city—the landscape was dotted with cement bunkers, the size and shape of small igloos, which face in every direction with no apparent logic. The bunkers, most of which look as if they would hold two soldiers, were built as a defense against a hypothetical invader, who, of course, never came. I was told that there are 700,000 of these bunkers throughout Albania, some high in the mountains and that their construction began after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Their very existence must have contributed to the collective pathology of paranoia that Enver Hoxha sought to foster.

Surrounded by mountains, Tirana has a pleasant, temperate climate in which tropical palms and northern conifers grow side by side, and there are several wide, tree-lined boulevards, built, I was told, during the 1930s by the Italians, who invested heavily in Albania in the days of King Zog. But the buildings, including those housing government offices, are extremely shabby, with stained and peeling walls, and crumbling stone steps. The Dajti Hotel, the best in town, was also built by the Italians in the 1930s. It was conceived on a grand scale, with a stately tree-lined entrance and large public spaces, but the boat bringing the furniture sank, and thus it was never adequately furnished. Like virtually everything else in Tirana, it is now severely run down. I slept badly my first night there, disturbed less by the hordes of scattering roaches every time I turned on the bathroom light than I was by the smell of bug-killer that permeated my dirty room. Shortly after I had dropped off to sleep at about five, I was awakened by the muezzin’s call to prayer from a nearby mosque.

Albania’s president, Sali Berisha, is a large and likable man, forty-eight years old, a cardiologist by profession who had previously been a member of a Communist Party group in the hospital where he worked. He became involved in politics at the time of the student demonstrations, and in December 1990 went on to form the Democratic Party, which became part of a coalition government with the Labor (Communist) Party in March 1991. In December, the Democrats left the government, complaining of continuing Communist control and demanding new elections. In the elections of March 1992, Berisha’s Democratic Party won 67.7 percent of the seats in parliament, while the Socialists won 27.1 percent. “After March 22, we fell into an empty hole,” Berisha told us. “Our society is full of shadows and ghosts from the past but now we have a real start.”

Berisha talked of the need to bring an end to crime and violence in the streets, which have reached frightening proportions. The country badly needs a new constitution, he said, that will guarantee human rights and the rule of law, and a new press law to govern what he sees as an irresponsible press. He would like to compensate the former political prisoners, and believes that members of the former Communist government should be brought to justice. But he still doesn’t know how to deal with the temporarily sealed files of the Sigurimi, or secret police. The files are held by the agency that took over from the Sigurimi, euphemistically renamed the National Information Service (NIS). Many former Sigurimi officers remain in the NIS, and there is good reason to be concerned about the security of the files that some former officials and their collaborators would not want opened. “Some of the files may disappear,” the prime minister, Aleksandr Meksi, acknowledged with resignation. “It can’t be helped.”

Without US and European assistance, we would be an Ethiopia,” Berisha told us. Investors, he said, are wary because they fear that violence will break out in the Serbian province of Kosovo, which borders on Albania and whose population is 90 percent ethnic Albanian. Two and a half million Albanians live in Kosovo and in neighboring Macedonia, almost as many as in Albania itself. The Serbian army has virtually occupied Kosovo Province since 1990, and the rights of Albanians there are severely restricted. “We will try to stay out of it,” Berisha told us, “but how we’ll react is hard to say. We cannot allow an ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Kosovo, but a conflict there could create a Balkan war.” Despite its poverty Albania, according to Misha Glenny of the BBC, maintains a standing army of some 70,000 with 155,000 reservists, 597 tanks, and nearly 200 planes. Thousands of Kalashnikov rifles are manufactured in the town of Gramsh, some fifty kilometers from Tirana. Glenny warns that in Macedonia tensions between Albanians and Macedonians could easily erupt into a wide-ranging Balkan conflict involving some of the neighboring states. Berisha and virtually everyone else we spoke to think that the United States should protect the Albanians in Kosovo and Macedonia by taking action to stop Serbian aggression. During our stay, an agreement was reached with Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic that Albania would take in a small number of refugees from Bosnia-Hercegovina.

But Albania’s economy is virtually bankrupt. “We are living on foreign aid,” Prime Minister Meksi told us, “so we can only give what we receive.” Two thirds of Albania’s heavy industry is idle, and the unemployment rate is estimated at between 65 and 80 percent and rising, owing in part to a government policy of paying laid-off workers 80 percent of their former wages, which discourages them from working. According to Business International, a private consulting firm, industrial output in Albania is expected to drop by 17 percent this year to about 35 percent of what it was in 1990. Inflation, currently at about 500 percent, is expected to rise. The government is rationing basic foods—flour, sugar, rice, cooking oil, salt, etc.—by providing food baskets for sale on a weekly basis, one to a family. In addition, the government pays a monthly subsidy of 200 lek per family (about two dollars) to compensate for a steep rise in the price of bread. President Berisha hopes that privatization, which is being undertaken in agriculture but has barely begun for industry, will improve the economy, but, he observed ruefully, “It will be fifteen years before Albania will be like other countries.”

The president of the Association of Former Political Prisoners, Osman Kazazi, now in his seventies, spent forty-two years in prison, labor camps, and internal exile. His long ordeal began in November 1944, when, as a twenty-five-year-old from a bourgeois family, he was sentenced to fifteen years as a war criminal because, as he put it, “I opposed communism.” His first fifteen-year sentence was followed by five years in a labor camp in central Albania, after which he returned to Tirana, where he worked as a day laborer, under constant surveillance. He was arrested again in the 1960s, charged with “agitation and propaganda,” and sentenced to ten years. In prison he was accused of organizing a revolt that took place in another prison and given a further ten-year sentence; after this he received yet another two-year sentence, to correct a “mistake” that had been made during his trial.

Kazazi came to see us at our hotel, along with several other leaders of the association. Their sallow complexions, missing teeth, and haunted eyes testified to long years in confinement. They spoke of torture, including beatings, of being hung from chains, and being forced to lie in contorted positions. They described how they were left barefoot in damp, freezing isolation cells, and forced to dig trenches in labor camps, knee-deep in mud “with leeches sucking our blood.” They spoke of friends committing suicide, of people dying from starvation. “When someone died, we waited for his meals to come before we told the guards. It was like Somalia…. It would take years to describe our sufferings.”

Prisoners were not allowed to have books, I was told: “We had only the works of Enver Hoxha to read, and the Party newspaper which was read aloud to us every day, as compulsory reading. [But] in the early years there were many intellectuals in prison. They left their books behind and they were secretly passed from generation to generation.”

Upheavals in other Communist countries—1956 in Hungary, the Cultural Revolution in China—led to waves of arrests in Albania. Any form of popular political activism in the Communist world appears to have set off a reflex in Hoxha, impelling him to further tighten his control. The Association of Former Political Prisoners, which was formed in December 1990 when prisoners were being released, estimates that there were altogether about 30,000 political prisoners throughout the Hoxha era, and an additional 70,000 who were sent into internal exile. This number is considerably higher than the government’s official figure of 16,520. The association’s leaders explain that the official figures do not take into account many prisoners whose cases were not formally registered, or those who were executed without a trial, or those who died in prison. More than 2,300, for example, are believed to have disappeared without a trace, and the former prisoners I met believe that there are mass graves in Albania waiting to be discovered.

As for the number of people who were persecuted by the regime over the years—for being on the wrong side in the class struggle or being related to someone in prison—the association believes that, from generation to generation, as many as 500,000 people were deprived of basic rights and persecuted politically, socially, and economically. While this figure seems high, it is clear that there was a vast repressed underclass during Hoxha’s reign. Mr. Kazazi described an appalling system of persecution:

People were born in internment and spent their lives there…. Their passports were stamped with a “D” for deported person…. They had no right to education or to use their professions. They were not allowed to live in large towns, but were forced to work in remote areas at difficult jobs. They were humiliated, disgraced at public meetings as class enemies, prevented from communicating freely with others…. The persecution started with their children in kindergarten. Marriages and friendships were very limited; anyone who married into this class was also persecuted…. They were humiliated even in death: no one dared to go to their burials.

The association believes that 40,000 people remain in exile: “They have no ID, no documents…. They are free to go anywhere, but they don’t know where to go.”

A law providing for amnesty and rehabilitation, which was passed on September 30, 1991, applies to between 15 and 20 percent of the former prisoners—those who were sentenced for “agitation and propaganda,” for trying to cross the border illegally, or for engaging in antigovernment activity. A draft law is now being prepared to deal with the remaining 80 percent of the prisoners—those sentenced as war criminals, enemies of the people, or spies. The law already passed provides that “the government shall take all measures to compensate and rehabilitate all persons who were wrongly accused…and shall assure them, on a priority basis, material and moral assistance for their full reintegration into society.” Pensions are to be restored and will be calculated to include time served in prison as working time. Also to be restored are titles and honors, homes and jobs, and the right to study in higher schools. People who were persecuted are to receive compensation for confiscated property and for time spent in prison—a provision that will be hard to carry out in view of the government’s bankruptcy.

Mr. Kazazi and his colleagues take a favorable view of the Berisha government. Urhan Butka, a member of parliament and one of the group that came to see us at the hotel, told us: “Some say we are being manipulated, but look at what the state has done for us. There are hundreds and hundreds of us who are now working in the central or local government administrations…. This school year, half the student body—2,500 students—are children of formerly persecuted people who have been accepted without taking entrance examinations. Among them are men and women thirty-five years and older, thanks to the democratic state.” Housing remains a great problem, Butka said, because the state has no money for housing construction. He asked us to publicize abroad this particularly urgent need.

With its claim to 400,000 members and its moral and emotional appeal, the Association of Former Political Prisoners has become a political force in Albania. It is strongly anti-Communist. Mr. Butka, for example, had little sympathy for the sufferings of a Communist who had been imprisoned after falling out with the Hoxha government; he dismissed him as a “pseudo-democrat,” the victim of an internal power struggle. “He believes that the former political prisoners should get food, not power,” Butka remarked.

We were told that members of the Democratic Party, many of whom had led comfortable lives and had successful careers under the Communists, are now emphasizing their connections with former political prisoners in order to ease their guilty consciences and to demonstrate that they were not collaborators. A member of parliament who recently broke with the Democratic Party told us: “The old Communist regime, as a party of the workers, always included workers in the government, so now the Democratic Party includes former political prisoners in its government to show that it is pure.”

Members of the Democratic Alliance, a newly formed group that has broken away from the Democratic Party, say the government has made alliances with extremist anti-Communists and surviving members of the old landed gentry of the pre-Communist days; at the same time, they accuse the government of displaying the “old mentality” of the Communists by not respecting the rights of those who disagree with its policies. “They cannot accept that you can think differently and not be an enemy,” said Gramoz Pashko, a parliamentarian who, together with Dr. Berisha, founded the Democratic Party, but was recently expelled from the party, along with some others, because he disagreed with its policies.

Mr. Pashko criticized the recent firing of Maksim Haxhia, the attorney general, “a young man,” he said, “who thought he could both resist executive power and be true to the law.” Haxhia was tried in December on charges of falsifying a document relating to the appointment of a prosecutor in the city of Vlore. He was found guilty and fined 1,000 lek. His friends believe that the charges were brought in order to justify the fact that he was fired; they are concerned he may lose his license to practice law. Pashko also said that two deputies who were critical of the government had their parliamentary immunity revoked, that the editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper Koha Jone had been arrested, and that as many as thirty journalists from state-run television had been dismissed. “The Democratic Party controls the parliament and does what it pleases in the name of democracy,” Pashko told us. “It is taking over television, the press, the Helsinki Committee, and the administration of justice.” Another member of the Democratic Alliance told us: “We now have the right to be dissidents, but not to be an opposition. It’s like Poland, ten years ago.”

Spartak Ngjela, a lawyer who was released a year ago after sixteen years in prison and is now a member of the Democratic Alliance, spoke about the former prisoners and their banished families: “Three generations have been persecuted: the first were from rich families and were educated; the next generations were not. Later came the ex-Communists and the simple people; this was a simple terror…. If not for my profession, I would be like them—homeless, jobless, and without hope. What can they do in a market economy? They will suffer.” Ngjela urged us to visit the former prisoners to see for ourselves how they are living. He hoped that we would help “internationalize” the problem so that “political forces,” as he put it, “will not manipulate them.”

What was once the V.I. Lenin Party School in Tirana has been turned over to former political prisoners who are living there in squalor, with families of four, five, six, or seven in one small room, sharing a filthy communal bathroom that lacks all basic facilities. After talking with residents there one morning, we drove on to the port city of Durres, where we interviewed other former prisoners who were living along the beach in cement changing rooms that had previously been rented to tourists by the day. Couples were living in windowless, unheated cubicles no larger than four by eight feet; the more fortunate ones had commandeered two cabanas, the second for their children. There was no running water, no bathrooms, and no electricity, except for some makeshift wiring rigged up from an outside lamp post. We were told that 130 families were living in similar conditions along the beach.

The people we interviewed in Tirana and Durres confirmed the accounts we had heard about the hardships of prison and exile. The deplorable conditions in which we found them, they said, were not as bad as those from which they had come. This did not prevent them from being outraged that democracy and freedom have as yet brought no compensation for their suffering. Most of them were unemployed, except for a few who had found work as guards. Many were sick or had physical handicaps as a result of their ordeals. Several said that they were selling their blood to get money to eat. They all complained that they got nothing from the government and did not even know where to go to seek redress. Most of them had not even heard of the Association of Former Political Prisoners, and those who had were skeptical: “What is this association?” a woman asked me angrily. “It doesn’t exist.”

We also visited the widow of Enver Hoxha, who is being held in Tirana prison, and then went to see Hoxha’s successor, Ramiz Alia, who is under house arrest. It is generally believed that the two largely ran the country during the illness that marked the last ten years of Hoxha’s life, and that, after Hoxha himself, they were most directly responsible for the cruel treatment of prisoners and their families.

Mrs. Hoxha claims, and with reason, that her right to due process is being violated. So are the rights of eighteen other former Communists, some of whom, like her, have been held in detention without trial for a year or more. The group is known as the “blockmen,” because its members previously lived on the same exclusive, off-limits block of villas in Tirana. Mrs. Hoxha and the “blockmen” are charged with economic crimes, such as using public money for their own personal pleasures. Their trials have been delayed, according to rumors I heard, because the prosecutor’s office is preparing to charge them with political offenses, such as authorizing shootings of Albanians trying to cross the border.

Nexhmije Hoxha was informed of our visit during the few minutes that we waited outside her cell, a room of about ten feet by fifteen feet, with one tiny window near the ceiling. The place was meticulously clean, with freshly painted white cement walls and a well-swept wooden floor. It was bare except for a mattress on the floor, and a straw broom which stood in a corner.

Mrs. Hoxha was sitting on the mattress when we walked in, her back against the wall. A handsome woman, she was perfectly groomed, her gray hair pulled back in a smooth bun, fresh color on her lips. The cell was unheated and several blankets covered her legs; she was wearing a dark green wool shirt under one heavy gray cardigan sweater, with another thrown over her shoulders. At the foot of her bed, neatly folded, was a pile-lined coat.

She did not rise when we entered, but greeted us politely with a long monologue, in Albanian, whose formality reflected the style of her former life. “I am happy to meet Americans,” she began, “because our relations with Americans were good during the war and America has been a refuge for economic immigrants and for Albanians from Kosovo.” A practiced diplomat, she seemed to be searching for whatever positive elements she could think of in the troubled, if not nonexistent, history of Albanian-American relations, telling us, among other things, that her husband’s father and brother had visited the United States and liked it there. Her poise and self-control were remarkable; she could have been entertaining us in her villa on the “block.”

Mrs. Hoxha’s composure did not change when she discussed her current situation. “There is no heat here.” “Last winter was terrible. I am over seventy. I was sick several times…. The charges against me are banal. They accuse me of incurring expenses connected with the reception of foreign delegations, but this was only normal in its time…. My case has been postponed with each political event. They keep saying ‘very soon’ but they do not start the case.”

I went to war at fifteen and worked against the fascists. I was sentenced in absentia…. I never expected to be put in prison, me, Hoxha’s wife! Others are being charged with political crimes…. Perhaps they will make up something else to charge me with, I don’t know….” Mrs. Hoxha went on matter-of-factly, “I am a Communist, but I supported our entrance into CSCE [the Helsinki agreements]. Albania cannot remain an island.”

She can see her children only every ten days or two weeks. “They bring me newspapers. I’m not allowed to have a radio.” I asked if she was also allowed visits from friends. “Friends?” she asked. “What are friends?”

Former president Ramiz Alia had similar complaints. “No one comes to see me, only my daughter,” he told us a short time later. “I can’t see my nephews and nieces; they need permission, like you. I think my seclusion here has a political aim—to keep me quiet. I don’t see journalists because I don’t want to provoke anyone.”

Dressed in a suit and tie and speaking from note cards, Alia received us in his daughter’s apartment, where he lives guarded by at least four policemen, part of the house arrest he has been under since September. It was a comfortable, spacious apartment, the only one like it that I saw in Tirana. Alia reminded me physically of Mikhail Gorbachev, though he was less stocky and less forceful as a personality.

He spoke at length about the deteriorating economic situation in the country, and also complained of violations of human rights, citing attacks on free thought and the free press, the firing of people for political reasons, and searches by the police without permission. As for his own situation, he said, “I have worked for forty-five years. I have no property, no bank accounts. I live in my daughter’s house. The only things I own here are those two paintings and the books…. I have no salary, no pension. Yet I am charged with stealing state property.”

Alia seemed defensive, even frightened. It was clear that he expects political charges to be brought against him. “I initiated the democratic processes in this country,” he said. “I opened up Albania and avoided bloodshed…. After the death of Hoxha, I could not act freely, I needed support. Until 1990 I was convinced that the existing system could be corrected, as in China. I was for gradual developments. After 1990 the problem was different, the system had to be changed. I’m still for this, but gradually: destroy from the roof, not from the foundation.”

When we raised the problems of former political prisoners, he replied, “I have real respect for those who suffered,” but his words seemed to me hollow and unconvincing. Yet when I mentioned that we had just seen Mrs. Hoxha, the concern with which he asked about her seemed genuine. “We fought against the fascists together,” he told us. “I was seventeen.” He paused for a moment, then continued. “I was imprisoned by the fascists. Now, fifty years later, I am imprisoned by democracy.”

Even when compared with other struggling post-Communist states in Europe, Albania is a tragic and pitiful anomaly. In effect, it is only now emerging from Stalinism, forty years after the Soviet dictator’s death. Cut off from the outside world, it avoided all revisionist thinking and withstood the pressures for change that periodically affected the countries of the Warsaw Pact. I will long be haunted by the pale and ravaged faces of the former prisoners and their families, and by their desperate need to reclaim their wasted lives. I am also haunted by the memory of Mrs. Hoxha, defiant in her prison cell, her expression so controlled, lacking even a hint of kindness or compassion. I think of her at fifteen, fighting Italian and German invaders, and being condemned to death. Her youthful belief that communism would bring a just and equitable world was then shared by many Albanians. But it seems almost beyond understanding that she remains true today to the moribund ideology that caused such misery in her country and destroyed so many lives.

  1. *

    I traveled to Albania with Jonathan Fanton, president of the New School for Social Research and chair of Helsinki Watch.