Published on : 10 October 2017

Light on the past to protect the future from the darkness of the past

Speech by Prime Minister Edi Rama at the commemoration ceremony on the 70th anniversary of the Execution of the Group of MPs in 1947:

Dear members of the families of deputies we commemorate today!

Ladies and gentlemen, members of the Albanian Parliament!

Excellencies, friends and guests!

It is not easy to commemorate with the required humility and composure such a significant testimony. The tragic testimony of life given for a craft as old as the world: politics. The politics of ideals, values, principles. The politics born in order to give people the opportunity to do together what they cannot do separately.

The deputies and elite groupings, brutally eliminated 70 years ago, were a challenge to a regime that unfortunately had a long life after taking those lives, but which was fortunately reversed 27 years ago.

Their commemoration today in this room is worthy as long as it remains a challenge for us and our contemporaries in relation to politics, as a reason and a means that gather people together in the name of higher purposes, and which usually separate and divide them for the sake of low interests.

This challenge is an incentive for all of us to remember for a moment that we are here all together, whether in the majority or in the minority, as a result of the freedom, and in order to use freedom and speech in view of those who brought us here.

Many of these martyrs of the nobility of politics were overwhelmed in the whole system of their convictions by the most comprehensive social democracy. It was precisely social democracy that in the 50s, with the member of the Resistance and French Prime Minister Pierre Mendès France, would define itself with a quote that remains a plea even today: “Not every politics sullies. Not every step taken forward is in vain”. Pierre Mendès France was a man of philosophy and letters, just as many of the MPs who were physically eliminated by a system that was fed with their blood and the blood of many others in order to nourish hatred and turn politics into an heinous example of the strength towards anyone who could seek through politics the significant strength of the example.

As a matter of fact, it is difficult to experience today the healthy spirit of sacrifice that led our predecessors to elimination. It is difficult because in the meantime we cannot forget how many times and in what a trivial and unworthy way that spirit is often violated in this room every week.

On the other hand, it is impossible not to consider precisely today the big “Why” that is related to the post-war Albania, with the Albania of great aspirations embodied also by our predecessors, with the Albania of self-denial of a small and poor country where the spirit and desire for progress was used to conceive a whole fratricidal and self-destructive mechanism. A mechanism which, although it was scrapped 27 years ago, continues to pollute our public environment through us, through politics, through the elected representatives, through all those who face to the people are humbly willing to do everything to become one with the best imagination of those who vote them, but once here, they do everything they can to show that in fact between words and deeds there is not just an entire sea, but there is the betrayal of politics as it was conceived and lived by those who gave their life for politics, and just as any of us has conceived the moment when we have overcome its threshold.

However, neither today nor for many other years I believe, will we be able to free this room, free ourselves as part of this generation of politics from the pollution of that mechanism that, like everything rusty and not completely recycled in something else, poisons and hinders.

Maybe, what can be a good reason to drop this reflection which could ruin this ceremony if we went further deep, is the fact that we are here today because of a law which we passed in this parliament two years ago, a law that, finally and exactly after 25 years, united Albania with the countries that have gone through the communist hell and that decided to part with it, not just by changing the system and costumes, but by having the courage to shed a light on the past – the law on the opening of the files. Of those files that for 25 years were used to hit each other, but those who used them the most, had the lesser courage to open them.

Today, we are here thanks to a law that is the first one in the painful, complex and common history we share, that provides us with research tools in view of a human and humanistic mission. I cannot but be proud today of the fact that I am in charge of a government and a majority that undertook this mission, unlike others before us who did not have the courage to undertake it or did not find the time to undertake it, although they wasted a lot of time, we all have wasted a lot of time by throwing mud to each other with the invisible hands of those ghosts hiding under the cover of the files.

Actually, the file of the trial, the ghastly plot that ended on 27 September 1947, the “evidence” of which can be read today, seems coming from an unlived universe that was invented, but in fact it is an important milestone on a path that will be long, painful, but it will be healing. The path to shed a light on the past in order not to allow the past and its darkness to continue to hold our future hostage, as it has done for many years after the fall of the regime by means of figures and ghosts who were very able to use the stage of democracy as a theatre to escape the responsibility of the past.

A major with two army captains, assisted by an aspirant, are the authors of the elimination of 15 MPs that accounted for 20% of parliament at that time, but not just 20% of parliament – just to make it clear for all those in parliament today who don’t consider parliament the axis of national intelligence, and actually it is not their fault - but 20% of that axis that was represented in the parliament of that time.

It is inconceivable to see through the "trial" evidence how a 1350-member collective of workers, or how a volunteer team elsewhere, or how a collective or group elsewhere used to write to the court, to the major and to the two captains explaining why these people were to be eliminated.

That’s why we need the law. That’s why we needed also this session which, in addition to honouring the memory of the fallen MPs, in addition to modestly comforting the open wound of their family members, maybe brings some antiseptic in this room and maybe contributes to the fact that in the future the walls of this hall will not witness so much of the unworthy things they have heard in these 27 years.

By thanking once again all those who took the courage to join us in the initiative to open the files; by thanking all those who in not optimal conditions are trying to enforce the law on files; by thanking those who planned and organized this special session and brought us here and have somehow put before the pulpit the memory of some of our predecessors who were killed, by succeeding to realize today something impossible, prevent us from finding another reason to quarrel with one another, I want to conclude with the commemoration that here, but also everywhere in the communist world, embodied in a slogan that was used also in Poland: "Eternally with the dictatorship of the proletariat!" The Poles transformed this slogan into a motive to counter the dictatorship of the proletariat with the slogan: "Eternally, but not a second later!"

Thank you very much!

* * *

In commemorating the 70th anniversary of the execution by the communist regime in 1947 of 15 MPs, known as the "Group of Representatives", a commemorative session with the topic "MPs for the MPs", took place today in the plenary session hall of the Albanian Parliament.

In the early steps of the establishment of the communist regime of that time, the "Group of Representatives" which emerged after the first elections of 1945 and who were in favour of accepting a contrary opinion in the communist regime, became the first victims that were sacrificed for the freedom of thought and expression in Albania. They were 40 MPs, pedagogues and associates who were convicted in a court hearing held in the “17 Nëntori” movie theatre of the capital 70 years ago.

Two years ago, the government passed the law on the files in order to shed light on the past, an act for which Prime Minister Rama said he was proud that this government undertook it.

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