Friday, September 22, 2006

For Enver Hoxha there is no death

If there was ever a contest to decide the most repressive Stalinist dictatorship of all time, Enver Hoxha’s Albania - flag pictured left - would probably finish a close second to Cambodia under Pol Pot. During the old monster’s years at the top, one in three Albanians either spent time in a labour camp or were interrogated by the secret police.

Kinda shows up the Stasi and the Securitate for the lightweights they were. I doubt even the USSR in the thirties could boast a statistic like that.

Citizens were systematically denied freedom of expression, movement and association, despite explicit constitutional guarantees of these rights. Freedom of religion? Anyone caught with a copy of the Bible or the Koran faced a long prison sentence.

Yet in most countries in the West, there were small groups of ‘Marxist-Leninists’ prepared to make the case that Albania was all that heaven will allow. To the limited extent I ever came across such people in the British labour movement, they were mainly geriatric supertankies. The sad thing is, it looks like some of these outfits still exist, or at least maintain an internet presence.

For instance, go here and click on the picture of EH himself. You get taken directly to an article titled ‘For Enver Hoxha there is no death’. Funny. I could have sworn he kicked the bucket in 1985. But I digress. Read the article:

‘Leaders like Enver Hoxha come rarely. They are thrown up by great epochs and have as their mission the revolutionary transformation of the world. Such was Enver, whose influence was so powerful that the time in which he lived and worked may justly be called the epoch of Enver.’

Meanwhile, if you seek the best in Enver appreciation to be found anywhere on the worldwide web, this is the place to point your browser. It’s spectacular stuff. I can particularly recommend the video clip ‘With Stalin 1947’ , as well as the funeral footage.

Thinking about it, probably one of the few plus points for the twenty-first century far left is governments of the type Albania endured were historical one-offs that are unlikely to occur ever again.

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