evenwallshaveears_

Even Walls Have Ears

Healing through Art- sharing the unheard stories of persecution during the communist regime in Albania 1944-1992

“He is hoping to finally close this chapter of his life with a quiet moment, a cigarette and the chance to lay flowers on the site where his father would have been shot with a bullet to the back of his neck on June 28, 1977.” Today on Yahoo News .
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#Dajti #Mountain #massgrave #albania #shqiperia #shqiperi #kuqezi #shqiptar #shqipe #rememberthem #history #albanianhistory #dictatorship #injustice #graves #grave #lost #missingperson #missingpersons #yahoonews

“He is hoping to finally close this chapter of his life with a quiet moment, a cigarette and the chance to lay flowers on the site where his father would have been shot with a bullet to the back of his neck on June 28, 1977.” Today on Yahoo News . . #Dajti #Mountain #massgrave #albania #shqiperia #shqiperi #kuqezi #shqiptar #shqipe #rememberthem #history #albanianhistory #dictatorship #injustice #graves #grave #lost #missingperson #missingpersons #yahoonews - 12 days ago

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“We endured everything, but as they say – Man is stronger than stone.”
(5 of 5) -
Noj Melyshi was born on February 13, 1913 in Kthellë, Mirdite. He is the author of Life of the Mountain (1993). He currently lives in Shkoder with his daughter, and caretaker,Bardha.
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#NojMelyshi #rememberthem #postthepeople #Albania #Shqiperia #shqiperi #shqiptar #parachutist #paratrooper #parachute #Communism #USA #Shkoder #Shkodra #mirdita #veteran #survivor #filmphotography #documentary #journalism #kuqezi #shqipe #albanianstruggle #albanianhistory #history #neverforget #Faith #hands #love

“We endured everything, but as they say – Man is stronger than stone.” (5 of 5) - Noj Melyshi was born on February 13, 1913 in Kthellë, Mirdite. He is the author of Life of the Mountain (1993). He currently lives in Shkoder with his daughter, and caretaker,Bardha. . . . #NojMelyshi #rememberthem #postthepeople #Albania #Shqiperia #shqiperi #shqiptar #parachutist #paratrooper #parachute #Communism #USA #Shkoder #Shkodra #mirdita #veteran #survivor #filmphotography #documentary #journalism #kuqezi #shqipe #albanianstruggle #albanianhistory #history #neverforget #Faith #hands #love - 26 days ago

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“I believe in God. I’m a religious man. 
I've had so many friends, and they've all passed away. You can't even find their bones, I swear… 
They have removed every trace of them. 
My family has the remaining bones of five of its men.” -Noj Melyshi (4 of 5) .
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#NojMelyshi @#rememberthem #postthepeople #Albania #Shqiperia #shqiperi #shqiptar #parachutist #paratrooper #parachute #Communism #USA #Shkoder #Shkodra #mirdita #veteran #survivor #filmphotography #documentary #journalism #kuqezi #shqipe #albanianstruggle #albanianhistory #history #neverforget #God #religion #faith

“I believe in God. I’m a religious man. I've had so many friends, and they've all passed away. You can't even find their bones, I swear… They have removed every trace of them. My family has the remaining bones of five of its men.” -Noj Melyshi (4 of 5) . . . #NojMelyshi @#rememberthem #postthepeople #Albania #Shqiperia #shqiperi #shqiptar #parachutist #paratrooper #parachute #Communism #USA #Shkoder #Shkodra #mirdita #veteran #survivor #filmphotography #documentary #journalism #kuqezi #shqipe #albanianstruggle #albanianhistory #history #neverforget #God #religion #faith - 26 days ago

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“70 years ago I fled to the mountains of Albania, now I am 105 years old. 
Pal Biba was my friend in arms. 
My mother died in the prison of Lezhe in 1946, and they buried her there. 
I left her (Bardha, his daughter) when she was only 7 years old. 
It's simple, us Albanians, and our grudges toward one other... What can you say?” -Noj Melyshi (3 of 5) .
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#NojMelyshi #RememberThem #PostthePeople #NeverForget #filmphotography #kuqezi #mirdita #albanianstruggle #albanianhistory #centenarian #centenarians #Survivor #History #journalism #HumansofAlbania #humansofthebalkans #balkans #shqiperi

“70 years ago I fled to the mountains of Albania, now I am 105 years old. Pal Biba was my friend in arms. My mother died in the prison of Lezhe in 1946, and they buried her there. I left her (Bardha, his daughter) when she was only 7 years old. It's simple, us Albanians, and our grudges toward one other... What can you say?” -Noj Melyshi (3 of 5) . . . #NojMelyshi #RememberThem #PostthePeople #NeverForget #filmphotography #kuqezi #mirdita #albanianstruggle #albanianhistory #centenarian #centenarians #Survivor #History #journalism #HumansofAlbania #humansofthebalkans #balkans #shqiperi - 27 days ago

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In 1945, Noj left his three daughters and wife, and moved to the United States to seek refuge and American intervention. 
Noj reentered Albania four years later, along with Alush Lleshanaku,Ndue Pjeter Gjon Markagjoni, the son of the revered Mirdite Clan chieftain Gjon Markagjoni, and Xhavdet Blloshin.

They are known by Albanians to be the first to ever parachute into Albania, and escape successfully.

He was declared one of the most wanted enemies of the state, and reunited with his family only when communism fell in 1991. (2 of 5) .
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#NojMelyshi #rememberthem #postthepeople #Albania #Shqiperia #shqiperi #shqiptar #parachutist #paratrooper #parachute #Communism #USA #Shkoder #Shkodra #mirdita #veteran #survivor #filmphotography #documentary #journalism #kuqezi #shqipe #albanianstruggle #albanianhistory #history #neverforget

In 1945, Noj left his three daughters and wife, and moved to the United States to seek refuge and American intervention. Noj reentered Albania four years later, along with Alush Lleshanaku,Ndue Pjeter Gjon Markagjoni, the son of the revered Mirdite Clan chieftain Gjon Markagjoni, and Xhavdet Blloshin. They are known by Albanians to be the first to ever parachute into Albania, and escape successfully. He was declared one of the most wanted enemies of the state, and reunited with his family only when communism fell in 1991. (2 of 5) . . . #NojMelyshi #rememberthem #postthepeople #Albania #Shqiperia #shqiperi #shqiptar #parachutist #paratrooper #parachute #Communism #USA #Shkoder #Shkodra #mirdita #veteran #survivor #filmphotography #documentary #journalism #kuqezi #shqipe #albanianstruggle #albanianhistory #history #neverforget - 27 days ago

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Noj Melyshi is one of three in history to have parachuted into Albania during the totalitarian regime, and escaped safely. He did it seven times. His life threatening attempts were in search of his wife and three daughters, who he had to leave behind when he fled Albania. 
After his brother, Frrok, was doused in gasoline and dumped in an unmarked grave with 14 others, he escaped to the jagged mountains bordering Montenegro. (1 of 5) .
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#NojMelyshi #parachuter #paratrooper #albania #covertoperation #shqiperia #totalitarianregime #dictatorship #Shqiperia #kuzhinashqiptare #shqiptar #survivor #journalism #livetotell #neverforget #rememberthem #filmphotography #interview #documentary #edhemuretkaneveshe #100yearsold #106yearsold #100 #shkoder #skadar #shkodra #mirdit #humansofalbania #humansofthebalkans

Noj Melyshi is one of three in history to have parachuted into Albania during the totalitarian regime, and escaped safely. He did it seven times. His life threatening attempts were in search of his wife and three daughters, who he had to leave behind when he fled Albania. After his brother, Frrok, was doused in gasoline and dumped in an unmarked grave with 14 others, he escaped to the jagged mountains bordering Montenegro. (1 of 5) . . . #NojMelyshi #parachuter #paratrooper #albania #covertoperation #shqiperia #totalitarianregime #dictatorship #Shqiperia #kuzhinashqiptare #shqiptar #survivor #journalism #livetotell #neverforget #rememberthem #filmphotography #interview #documentary #edhemuretkaneveshe #100yearsold #106yearsold #100 #shkoder #skadar #shkodra #mirdit #humansofalbania #humansofthebalkans - 28 days ago

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Happy Easter to all who celebrate this meaningful holiday of hope and renewal. We wish you peace, and a heart full of joy 🌈💫 .
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Gëzuar Pashkët për të gjithë ata që festojnë këtë festë kuptimplotë të shpresës dhe ripërtëritjes. Ne ju dëshirojmë paqe dh zemër plot gëzim🌈💫
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#happyeaster #easter #celebration #holiday #peace #love #wish #heisrisen #hope #renewal #eastersunday #survival #eternallife #survivor #christian #catholic #orthodox #byzantinecatholic #holidaywishes

Happy Easter to all who celebrate this meaningful holiday of hope and renewal. We wish you peace, and a heart full of joy . . . Gëzuar Pashkët për të gjithë ata që festojnë këtë festë kuptimplotë të shpresës dhe ripërtëritjes. Ne ju dëshirojmë paqe dh zemër plot gëzim . . . #happyeaster #easter #celebration #holiday #peace #love #wish #heisrisen #hope #renewal #eastersunday #survival #eternallife #survivor #christian #catholic #orthodox #byzantinecatholic #holidaywishes - 28 days ago

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“Keep in mind that we were barefoot, we had no shoes and no socks... We were barefoot —our feet, completely naked. 
When we reached the inn, Niko’s sister-in-law saw me. 
It was an October day, and it was raining. She felt badly for me and she gave me a wool jumper and a pair of shoes that belonged to her children.

When I wore them, I felt like I had won the whole world.” (7 of 7) .

Shpresa Balolli Merdani is 76 years old. She was born in Trestenik on December 14, 1942. She lives in Korçë with her husband and daughter. .
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#ShpresaBalloliMerdani #Korce #rememberThem #PostThePeople #WomeninHistory #ChildreninHistory #SlaveLabour #childLabor #poverty #neverforget #Albania #Shqiperia #Shqipni #dasmashqiptare #kuqezi #journalism #truth #oralhistory #filmphotography #woman #mother #daughter #grandmother #memories #nostalgia #injustice #shqiptare #femrat  #femratshqiptarekudoqejane #femratshqiptare

“Keep in mind that we were barefoot, we had no shoes and no socks... We were barefoot —our feet, completely naked. When we reached the inn, Niko’s sister-in-law saw me. It was an October day, and it was raining. She felt badly for me and she gave me a wool jumper and a pair of shoes that belonged to her children. When I wore them, I felt like I had won the whole world.” (7 of 7) . Shpresa Balolli Merdani is 76 years old. She was born in Trestenik on December 14, 1942. She lives in Korçë with her husband and daughter. . . . #ShpresaBalloliMerdani #Korce #rememberThem #PostThePeople #WomeninHistory #ChildreninHistory #SlaveLabour #childLabor #poverty #neverforget #Albania #Shqiperia #Shqipni #dasmashqiptare #kuqezi #journalism #truth #oralhistory #filmphotography #woman #mother #daughter #grandmother #memories #nostalgia #injustice #shqiptare #femrat #femratshqiptarekudoqejane #femratshqiptare - 2 months ago

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“Those few things we had, we had to transport to Korce. We had no car of course, that was out of the question. But I’ll tell you this: we followed the path through the Morava Mountain, they called it the Stone of Capi – it’s at the peak of Morava. 
We went there and we got stuck.

The horse we borrowed to help us with the transportation was loaded with around 10 kg of corn.

My sister started a fire at the peak of Morava.
The rest of us were still young, while my sister was older, almost 20 years old. 
There was no strength left in us, because we had not eaten anything. My sister started the fire and made us some popcorn ‘pufka’ so we could regain some strength.” - Shpresa Ballolli Merdani (6 of 7) .
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#ShpresaBallolliMerdani #RememberThem #PostthePeople #WomeninHistory #RememberThem #PostthePeople #WomeninHistory #Albania #Shqiperia #ChildLabor #Childlabour #shqip  #Shqiptare #neverForget #History #photojournalism #Documentary #humansofthebalkans #humansofalbania #mother #daughter #slave #slavelabor #morava #mountains

“Those few things we had, we had to transport to Korce. We had no car of course, that was out of the question. But I’ll tell you this: we followed the path through the Morava Mountain, they called it the Stone of Capi – it’s at the peak of Morava. We went there and we got stuck. The horse we borrowed to help us with the transportation was loaded with around 10 kg of corn. My sister started a fire at the peak of Morava. The rest of us were still young, while my sister was older, almost 20 years old. There was no strength left in us, because we had not eaten anything. My sister started the fire and made us some popcorn ‘pufka’ so we could regain some strength.” - Shpresa Ballolli Merdani (6 of 7) . . . . #ShpresaBallolliMerdani #RememberThem #PostthePeople #WomeninHistory #RememberThem #PostthePeople #WomeninHistory #Albania #Shqiperia #ChildLabor #Childlabour #shqip #Shqiptare #neverForget #History #photojournalism #Documentary #humansofthebalkans #humansofalbania #mother #daughter #slave #slavelabor #morava #mountains - 2 months ago

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“My mother came here and she started working on the farm called Irakli Terova. The rest of us remained in Verlem, so our mother could easily reach us in case she wanted to visit us, or if we needed some money. When she came to us, she would stay with three other women at this inn, where the Post Office is now.
It was a big inn, they called it Niko’s Inn. My mother stayed there with three other women. The husbands of the two women were imprisoned as well, while the other one had an older daughter who helped her, so she could make ends meet.”- Shpresa Ballolli Merdani (5 of 7)
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#ShpresaBallolliMerdani #RememberThem #PostthePeople #WomeninHistory #RememberThem #PostthePeople #WomeninHistory #Albania #Shqiperia #ChildLabor #Childlabour #shqip  #Shqiptare #neverForget #History #photojournalism #Documentary #humansofthebalkans #humansofalbania #mother #daughter #slave #slavelabor

“My mother came here and she started working on the farm called Irakli Terova. The rest of us remained in Verlem, so our mother could easily reach us in case she wanted to visit us, or if we needed some money. When she came to us, she would stay with three other women at this inn, where the Post Office is now. It was a big inn, they called it Niko’s Inn. My mother stayed there with three other women. The husbands of the two women were imprisoned as well, while the other one had an older daughter who helped her, so she could make ends meet.”- Shpresa Ballolli Merdani (5 of 7) . . . #ShpresaBallolliMerdani #RememberThem #PostthePeople #WomeninHistory #RememberThem #PostthePeople #WomeninHistory #Albania #Shqiperia #ChildLabor #Childlabour #shqip #Shqiptare #neverForget #History #photojournalism #Documentary #humansofthebalkans #humansofalbania #mother #daughter #slave #slavelabor - 2 months ago

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“Poverty followed us everywhere we went… Even though I’m 76-years- old, I remember as if it were yesterday.
My grandmother told my older sister: ‘Pashako, give a loaf of bread to these two youngsters. It’s a shame for them to sleep without any dinner. They’re still young, they have to grow’. Those were words straight from her heart.
 My mother came to Korçë, searching for work so that we could survive. She looked for farm work, but they would not give her anything. Finally they gave her a job in the farms, where she worked for almost nine years.
Meanwhile, my father was in prison and he would write letters to my mother. He used to tell her to send us girls to school. He wanted us to become teachers because he thought that if we became teachers we would be honorable girls in Korçë. We read his letters too, and were determined to fulfill his wish.
I was in the 5th grade. We did not waste a single minute.
We’d wake up at 4am to collect corn cobs in the morning because their leaves would fall off and we couldn’t collect them later in the day.
We also collected chamomile.
My mother had a cousin who was an artisan and she would help us with the straw. We would cut it, soak it in water and then make hats with it. Our hands would bleed,  but we would still continue to work.
We weren’t allowed to play, because we had to work...
We had to weave straw, so that we could earn money for our books.
We completed our studies by sacrificing a lot…”-Shpresa Ballolli Merdani (4 of 7) .
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#ShpresaBallolliMerdani #RememberThem #PostthePeople #WomeninHistory #RememberThem #PostthePeople #WomeninHistory #Albania #Shqiperia #ChildLabor #Childlabour #shqip  #Shqiptare #neverForget #History #photojournalism #Documentary #humansofthebalkans #humansofalbania #mother #daughter #slave #slavelabor

“Poverty followed us everywhere we went… Even though I’m 76-years- old, I remember as if it were yesterday. My grandmother told my older sister: ‘Pashako, give a loaf of bread to these two youngsters. It’s a shame for them to sleep without any dinner. They’re still young, they have to grow’. Those were words straight from her heart. My mother came to Korçë, searching for work so that we could survive. She looked for farm work, but they would not give her anything. Finally they gave her a job in the farms, where she worked for almost nine years. Meanwhile, my father was in prison and he would write letters to my mother. He used to tell her to send us girls to school. He wanted us to become teachers because he thought that if we became teachers we would be honorable girls in Korçë. We read his letters too, and were determined to fulfill his wish. I was in the 5th grade. We did not waste a single minute. We’d wake up at 4am to collect corn cobs in the morning because their leaves would fall off and we couldn’t collect them later in the day. We also collected chamomile. My mother had a cousin who was an artisan and she would help us with the straw. We would cut it, soak it in water and then make hats with it. Our hands would bleed, but we would still continue to work. We weren’t allowed to play, because we had to work... We had to weave straw, so that we could earn money for our books. We completed our studies by sacrificing a lot…”-Shpresa Ballolli Merdani (4 of 7) . . . #ShpresaBallolliMerdani #RememberThem #PostthePeople #WomeninHistory #RememberThem #PostthePeople #WomeninHistory #Albania #Shqiperia #ChildLabor #Childlabour #shqip #Shqiptare #neverForget #History #photojournalism #Documentary #humansofthebalkans #humansofalbania #mother #daughter #slave #slavelabor - 2 months ago

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“We used to get letters from my imprisoned father. 
He wrote my older sister things like: ‘I have hurt my leg and there is no blood pouring out, just water’. He worked building the Rrogozhine railroad.
We were forced to work in the fields where we would reap wheat. 
It was the girls who reaped for we had no combine harvester at that time, we only used scythes.
While reaping, we would collect wheat ears using an old raincoat. My sister and grandmother would shake up the wheat ears, while my other sister and I would collect the grains that would fall off. We grinded them and made flour. My sister would dry them up to make peksimadhe (a special kind of bread) and we would send it to my father.” -Shpresa Ballolli Merdani (3 of 7) .
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#ShpresaBallolliMerdani #RememberThem #PostthePeople #WomeninHistory #Albania #Shqiperia #ChildLabor #Childlabour #shqip  #Shqiptare #neverForget #History #photojournalism #Documentary #humansofthebalkans #humansofalbania #mother #daughter

“We used to get letters from my imprisoned father. He wrote my older sister things like: ‘I have hurt my leg and there is no blood pouring out, just water’. He worked building the Rrogozhine railroad. We were forced to work in the fields where we would reap wheat. It was the girls who reaped for we had no combine harvester at that time, we only used scythes. While reaping, we would collect wheat ears using an old raincoat. My sister and grandmother would shake up the wheat ears, while my other sister and I would collect the grains that would fall off. We grinded them and made flour. My sister would dry them up to make peksimadhe (a special kind of bread) and we would send it to my father.” -Shpresa Ballolli Merdani (3 of 7) . . . . #ShpresaBallolliMerdani #RememberThem #PostthePeople #WomeninHistory #Albania #Shqiperia #ChildLabor #Childlabour #shqip #Shqiptare #neverForget #History #photojournalism #Documentary #humansofthebalkans #humansofalbania #mother #daughter - 2 months ago

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The Ballolli family were known for their generosity and opened their door to anyone who knocked, including partisans. 
Once Enver Hoxha came to power, their lives took a grim and drastic turn, she said. Veliu was arrested, branded a kulak, and accused of being a member of the Devoll deputies. In 1947, he was sentenced with execution by firing squad, which was then changed to 101 years in prison. All of the family’s fixed and liquid assets were seized. 
Shpresa‘s mother was left with no food, land, or money. The family was homeless, and lived in extreme poverty. At 8 years old, Shpresa said that she carried wood like a mule, reaping wheat and picking poppies in between classes in the third grade. Her mother’s duties included grinding wheat to make bread for her five daughters and son, while she and her siblings did farm work, and collected medicinal herbs to bring to market. (2 of 7)
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#ShpresaBallolliMerdani #internationalwomensday #WomeninHistory #NeverForget #RememberThem #Albania #Shqiperia #Survivor #poverty #childlabor #childlabour #Shqiptare #prison #prisoner #politicalPrison #trestenik #korce #humansofthebalkans #humansofalbania #firingsquad #execution

The Ballolli family were known for their generosity and opened their door to anyone who knocked, including partisans. Once Enver Hoxha came to power, their lives took a grim and drastic turn, she said. Veliu was arrested, branded a kulak, and accused of being a member of the Devoll deputies. In 1947, he was sentenced with execution by firing squad, which was then changed to 101 years in prison. All of the family’s fixed and liquid assets were seized. Shpresa‘s mother was left with no food, land, or money. The family was homeless, and lived in extreme poverty. At 8 years old, Shpresa said that she carried wood like a mule, reaping wheat and picking poppies in between classes in the third grade. Her mother’s duties included grinding wheat to make bread for her five daughters and son, while she and her siblings did farm work, and collected medicinal herbs to bring to market. (2 of 7) . . . #ShpresaBallolliMerdani #internationalwomensday #WomeninHistory #NeverForget #RememberThem #Albania #Shqiperia #Survivor #poverty #childlabor #childlabour #Shqiptare #prison #prisoner #politicalPrison #trestenik #korce #humansofthebalkans #humansofalbania #firingsquad #execution - 2 months ago

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From a childhood spent in extreme poverty, to a life as a single mother with two children born in internment camp because her husband Yllber had been imprisoned due to his family background. Like her father and mother, who worked in grueling conditions, Shpresa Ballolli Merdani endured a life of toil.
Forced labor in Albania was common practice from 1944 to1991. Throughout the country campa e punes (work camps) coerced children and able-bodied adults to work through intimidation and violence.
It began with Shpresa’s father, Veliu, who she describes as an honest and patriotic man. He worked building America’s railroads for 13 years, earning a steady income for his family in Albania. With the money he had saved Veliu purchased land, and established a farm in Llabanice of Trestenik. (1 of 7)
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#ShpresaBallolliMerdani #Merdani #Korçe #Korce #RememberThem #WomeninHistory #NeverForget #devoll #Trestenik #Poverty #survivor #Mother #SingleMother #slave #Slavery #albania #Shqiperia #Shqiptare #dasmashqiptare  #documentary #journalism #oralhistory #humansofthebalkans

From a childhood spent in extreme poverty, to a life as a single mother with two children born in internment camp because her husband Yllber had been imprisoned due to his family background. Like her father and mother, who worked in grueling conditions, Shpresa Ballolli Merdani endured a life of toil. Forced labor in Albania was common practice from 1944 to1991. Throughout the country campa e punes (work camps) coerced children and able-bodied adults to work through intimidation and violence. It began with Shpresa’s father, Veliu, who she describes as an honest and patriotic man. He worked building America’s railroads for 13 years, earning a steady income for his family in Albania. With the money he had saved Veliu purchased land, and established a farm in Llabanice of Trestenik. (1 of 7) . . . #ShpresaBallolliMerdani #Merdani #Korçe #Korce #RememberThem #WomeninHistory #NeverForget #devoll #Trestenik #Poverty #survivor #Mother #SingleMother #slave #Slavery #albania #Shqiperia #Shqiptare #dasmashqiptare #documentary #journalism #oralhistory #humansofthebalkans - 2 months ago

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In honor of Mother's Day in the UK, where part of the EWHE team is based, we are sharing the story of an inspirational and dedicated mother of three, now a grandmother.
In our conversation with Shpresa Ballolli Merdani she recalls her life as the child of a political prisoner, from back-breaking labor to dire poverty. 
It was an honor to hear Mrs Merdani recapture these images and share them. We are deeply grateful for her kind hospitality to us, her guests in Korçe 🙏🏽🙏🏽
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Me nderin e ditës së Nenës në Britaninë e Madhe,
ku një pjesë e ekipit është e bazuar i EMKV
po e shpërndajmë këtë tregim nga një nënë e përkushtuar e tre fëmijëve, tani një gjyshe.
Gjate intervistes se saj, Shpresa Ballolli Merdani ritregon historine e jetes se saj si femija i nje te burgosuri politik, dhe punen derrmuese dhe vajferine e skajshme qe vinin si pasoje.
Ishte nje nder per ne te degjonim Zonjen Merdani teksa rikujtonte keto imazhe dhe i ndante me ne. Jemi mese mirenjohes per mikpritjen e saj ne shtepine e saj ne Korçe 🙏🏽🙏🏽
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#MothersDay #Mom #Mother #Nene #nana #Nan #mama #RememberThem #PostthePeople #Neverforget #Albania #Shqiperia #shqipri #Korce #WomeninHistory #albanianHistory #survival #Sacrifice #poverty #respect #kuqezi #shqiponja

In honor of Mother's Day in the UK, where part of the EWHE team is based, we are sharing the story of an inspirational and dedicated mother of three, now a grandmother. In our conversation with Shpresa Ballolli Merdani she recalls her life as the child of a political prisoner, from back-breaking labor to dire poverty. It was an honor to hear Mrs Merdani recapture these images and share them. We are deeply grateful for her kind hospitality to us, her guests in Korçe 🏽🏽 . Me nderin e ditës së Nenës në Britaninë e Madhe, ku një pjesë e ekipit është e bazuar i EMKV po e shpërndajmë këtë tregim nga një nënë e përkushtuar e tre fëmijëve, tani një gjyshe. Gjate intervistes se saj, Shpresa Ballolli Merdani ritregon historine e jetes se saj si femija i nje te burgosuri politik, dhe punen derrmuese dhe vajferine e skajshme qe vinin si pasoje. Ishte nje nder per ne te degjonim Zonjen Merdani teksa rikujtonte keto imazhe dhe i ndante me ne. Jemi mese mirenjohes per mikpritjen e saj ne shtepine e saj ne Korçe 🏽🏽 . . #MothersDay #Mom #Mother #Nene #nana #Nan #mama #RememberThem #PostthePeople #Neverforget #Albania #Shqiperia #shqipri #Korce #WomeninHistory #albanianHistory #survival #Sacrifice #poverty #respect #kuqezi #shqiponja - 2 months ago

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” I was sentenced to 10 years in prison, as my frail body was trying to battle with an elevated fever of 39.5°C. The defence counsel proclaimed that due to my mother’s testimony the case was closed.
She put the final nail in the coffin.
My mother came to visit me in prison. This was apparently due to my relatives putting pressure on her to do so, as I had been diagnosed with lung cancer.
The meeting with my mother was a visit behind two sets of bars - with space in between.
She came and cried, maybe she felt remorse; we never raised this issue that day. She saw the miserable condition I was in, needing to stop, and rest after every four steps I walked, feeling exhausted, although I was a young man...
Again, by the grace of God, I survived…
I managed to complete the remainder of my sentence and reach the day of my release.” Feridum Doku was born on March 14, 1933 in Berat. He is 85-years-old and lives in Berat. (6 of 6) .
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#FeridumDoko #PostthePeople #RememberThem #Albania #AlbanianHistory #survivor #lungdisease #resilient #willpower #prison #prisoner #pooliticalprison @undp @undpalbania #storytelling #history #journalism #documentary #author #writer #storytelling #filmphotography #photography #veteran #communism #totalitarianism #lungcancer #cancersurvivor

” I was sentenced to 10 years in prison, as my frail body was trying to battle with an elevated fever of 39.5°C. The defence counsel proclaimed that due to my mother’s testimony the case was closed. She put the final nail in the coffin. My mother came to visit me in prison. This was apparently due to my relatives putting pressure on her to do so, as I had been diagnosed with lung cancer. The meeting with my mother was a visit behind two sets of bars - with space in between. She came and cried, maybe she felt remorse; we never raised this issue that day. She saw the miserable condition I was in, needing to stop, and rest after every four steps I walked, feeling exhausted, although I was a young man... Again, by the grace of God, I survived… I managed to complete the remainder of my sentence and reach the day of my release.” Feridum Doku was born on March 14, 1933 in Berat. He is 85-years-old and lives in Berat. (6 of 6) . . . . . #FeridumDoko #PostthePeople #RememberThem #Albania #AlbanianHistory #survivor #lungdisease #resilient #willpower #prison #prisoner #pooliticalprison @undp @undpalbania #storytelling #history #journalism #documentary #author #writer #storytelling #filmphotography #photography #veteran #communism #totalitarianism #lungcancer #cancersurvivor - 2 months ago

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“My insistence of my innocence resulted in four court sessions; there was simply no circumstance under which I would admit I had committed an offence. The judge (who was by then exasperated) invited  to the stand Myzafere Doko , my own mother.
She was the one who had filed a complaint against me to the Mayor of the Berat Municipality; she was the reason I was arrested and she was the one who testified against me in court.
She stated that: ‘These are the same ideas he had during the war; he has never supported the Communist Party; he has always been adamant about his discontent of our system; he wanted to betray by fleeing to Greece,’ before she confirmed once again that she was the person that began the complaint against me.” -Feridum Doko (5 of 6) .
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#FeridumDoko #RememberThem #Shqiperia #AlbanianHistory #Albanians #History #Albania #PostthePeople @undpalbania @undp #oralHistory #Storyteller #Journalism #prison #justice #prisoner #survivor #lungcancer #cancer #resilience #willpower #honesty #courage #determination #communism #dictatorship #totalitarianism #totalitarianstate #photojournalism #mother

“My insistence of my innocence resulted in four court sessions; there was simply no circumstance under which I would admit I had committed an offence. The judge (who was by then exasperated) invited to the stand Myzafere Doko , my own mother. She was the one who had filed a complaint against me to the Mayor of the Berat Municipality; she was the reason I was arrested and she was the one who testified against me in court. She stated that: ‘These are the same ideas he had during the war; he has never supported the Communist Party; he has always been adamant about his discontent of our system; he wanted to betray by fleeing to Greece,’ before she confirmed once again that she was the person that began the complaint against me.” -Feridum Doko (5 of 6) . . . . . #FeridumDoko #RememberThem #Shqiperia #AlbanianHistory #Albanians #History #Albania #PostthePeople @undpalbania @undp #oralHistory #Storyteller #Journalism #prison #justice #prisoner #survivor #lungcancer #cancer #resilience #willpower #honesty #courage #determination #communism #dictatorship #totalitarianism #totalitarianstate #photojournalism #mother - 2 months ago

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“Another investigating detective ‘visited’. He seemed more able and more sophisticated in his mannerisms. Observing the dire state I was in, more satisfaction would be gained torturing a corpse. The second he struck me with his truncheon I lost consciousness.
He is the one who concluded that I was a stubborn fool for not wanting to betray my collaborators. I persisted with denial, choosing to say nothing.
At some point he filed an official report of proceedings where he stated that: It does not matter how I declare myself; the prosecution already had a signed and sworn testimony from an eye-witness, which I would discover during the trial.
Finding myself trapped and not being able to resist the psychological and physical pressure any longer I signed, thinking that I would disown the document during the trial.
Consequently, I ended up being moved from solitary confinement to the main prison block.
Please accept my apologies, I am still ashamed to admit that I was suffering from scabies at the time...
The main prison held a spirit of camaraderie amongst prisoners making us feel as if we were part of a family. They attempted to feed me, yet I could not eat as I was feeling quite poorly and suffering from high fevers...” - Feridum Doko (4 of 6) .
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#FeridumDoko #RememberThem #PostthePeople #Shqiperia #Albania #politicalPrisoner #Prisoner #Prison #Freedom #justice #Justice #memories #memory #nostalgia #enverhoxha #history  #journalism #documentary #archive #torture #resilience #willpower #oralHistory @undp @undpalbania

“Another investigating detective ‘visited’. He seemed more able and more sophisticated in his mannerisms. Observing the dire state I was in, more satisfaction would be gained torturing a corpse. The second he struck me with his truncheon I lost consciousness. He is the one who concluded that I was a stubborn fool for not wanting to betray my collaborators. I persisted with denial, choosing to say nothing. At some point he filed an official report of proceedings where he stated that: It does not matter how I declare myself; the prosecution already had a signed and sworn testimony from an eye-witness, which I would discover during the trial. Finding myself trapped and not being able to resist the psychological and physical pressure any longer I signed, thinking that I would disown the document during the trial. Consequently, I ended up being moved from solitary confinement to the main prison block. Please accept my apologies, I am still ashamed to admit that I was suffering from scabies at the time... The main prison held a spirit of camaraderie amongst prisoners making us feel as if we were part of a family. They attempted to feed me, yet I could not eat as I was feeling quite poorly and suffering from high fevers...” - Feridum Doko (4 of 6) . . . . . #FeridumDoko #RememberThem #PostthePeople #Shqiperia #Albania #politicalPrisoner #Prisoner #Prison #Freedom #justice #Justice #memories #memory #nostalgia #enverhoxha #history #journalism #documentary #archive #torture #resilience #willpower #oralHistory @undp @undpalbania - 2 months ago

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