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The Communism term in political science is explained as a society where all property is held in common or as a political movement whose final aim is the establishment of such a society. In the 1980s more than a quarter of the world’s population lived under the Communist rule. Communism have existed in many countries of the world such as Italy, East Germany, France, the Union Soviet, China, Cuba, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, North Korea, Poland, Romania, and Vietnam.
Even Albania, this small country, couldn’t escape from this phenomenon that captures all these countries at least once in their history. Albania experienced rule under the communist dictatorship for over 50 years during the second half of the 20th century. The impact of these times has not been small and the pain continues to be felt even nowadays.
The Albanian Communist party was founded in November 1941 and Enver Hoxha, a young Western-educated schoolteacher, was elected its General Secretary. But prior to 1941 there was no Communist Party in Albania. Albanians did a hard and long war to win their independence, dealing with strong countries such as Italy and Germany, and when finally they archived this goal, a new, harder stage was going to be written through the pages of Albania’s history: the Communism.
The Communists launched their resistance movement against the invaders with the creation of the National Liberation Movement in September 1942 and the organization of the National Liberation Army in July 1943.In this time the Allied command in Italy supplied some material assistance. They also were helped by other powerful countries that were under the communism rule too, such as China and the Soviet Union.
Now the leader of communism Enver Hoxha and his assistant Mehmet Shehu dominated Albania and denied the Albanian people the most basic human and civil rights. By presenting themselves, as the communist party and as the state security apparatus, they controlled, as the vigilant defenders, the “country’s independence”.
Interesting is the fact that the Communist movement was launched by intellectuals. And now that the power was centralized in their hands, the communist elite co-opted or terrorized the entire Albanian population into blind obedience, herding them into obligatory front organizations, bombarding them with propaganda, and disciplining them with a police leviathan untrammeled by anything resembling to the legal, ethical, religious, or political norms.
They denied them almost all their human rights. For decades Albania was the Eastern Europe’s most closed and repressive state. During his 50-year reign, the former communist, leader Enver Hoxha banned religion, forbade travel abroad and outlawed private property.
Now there were no other political parties in Albania’s political life. The only two political organizations that existed in that time, “Balli Kombëtar” (The National Front) and “Legaliteti” (The Legality Movement) were dissolved in 1943. In September 1943, preparing the ground for a seizure of power following the anticipated defeat of Germany, the Communists also launched a campaign against the nationalist organizations Balli Kombëtar (National Front) and Legaliteti (Legality Movement). After a bloody civil war, the nationalists were defeated, and some of them were executed while some others who were luckier could escape abroad. On October 1944 the Communists were able to form a strong government headed..
Upon taking power in late 1944, all schools were placed under state management. According to this situation, official statistics indicated that the regime made a considerable progress in education because the communist regime gave high priority to reopening the schools and organizing the whole education system. Even though the regime’s objectives for the new school system were to reflect communist ideology, to wipe out illiteracy in the country as soon as possible, to struggle against “bourgeois survivals” in the country’s culture, to transmit to Albanian youth the ideas and principles of communism as interpreted by the party, and finally to educate the children of all social classes on the basis of these principles.
Another interesting fact is that during the Communist period all communications media in Albania were closely controlled by the government. It was only one television channel the TVSH and only one radio station “Radio Tirana”. People weren’t allowed to get information about other countries; they could not watch other television channels, except the TVSH or listen to foreign music or radio stations. Every one who was caught doing such thing was accused for dissemination against the nation and was arrested or interned.
Any resistance from anyone to his rules was met with brutal retribution, including internal exile, long-term imprisonment or execution. Hundred of people were executed just because they express their opinions, or because they asked for their rights. People loose the faith in their friends and in their relatives. People kept reporting each other for things they said and some times for things they didn’t say, just because they were frightened and wanted to be included in the definition of ” a good-man”. After each report, and after the stage self-critical and critical, there was a general discussion which became heated and degenerated into personal recriminations; and the person was executed or sent to prison and his family was interned in lost villages to work in the fields.
But the communism regime was not a source or a stage of economic development in Albania. First of all, it was a lack of food. During those years people bought their food in rations, they could get only half or one kg of meat, only five eggs, and only two litters of milk per week, and to get these goods they had to queue up at 4 am. People of those times didn’t know what Coca-Cola, bananas, coconuts and such other foods were. Another reason why it was not an economic development was because the Communist regime initiated a massive campaign of purges to eliminate real and potential opponents so he confiscated wealth in private property, all industrial plants and mines were nationalized, and a radical agrarian reform was instituted. Now there were no more rich people. At that time people were divided in two social classes; the one’s who had the power and the others who did the work. The first group had a normal life with sufficient goods while the other had its own only the air he breathed.
During the inter-war years the only way to escape from Communism was that to achieve the political power through an insurrection, and not by electoral and parliamentary means. But this was not easy but finally, in 1990 Albanians found the force and the courage to fight for their own rights. What has been done is past and cannot be changed. Some have accomplished more, others less. Despite this, we did our best to reach the masses; we did our best to escape from this regime to make the impossible to live a normal life, and to have more chances and possibilities. But time runs very fast, and what I keep wondering is if we did succeed?
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