“When an escape is equal to breathing…”
It was the year of 1985. I was in elementary school.
That day of April was extraordinary. It could not be, under any circumstances comparable to any other day.
Or better yet: in the morning, our school day started like any other day but, during our break we saw our two schoolmates, who were coming through the hall crying…
Our school was a very valuable one in the capital (Tirana), located among other things, not so far away from the “Block”, the residence of governmental exponents in power and their families. Therefore, our friends, who at that moment were coming towards us from a different class, belonged to the families of the so called “Block”. Surprisingly, they were somehow more ‘informed’ about the updates.
Let’s be clear: We are talking about the updates, of course, that could be broadcasted to peers of our age.
After them comes the school principal and our coordinating- class teacher, with a really sad face, a tragic look like you have never seen it before, who were about to inform us about an unbelievable tragedy…and so they announce the news: “The Father of our nation, the leader of our one and only party, the savior of Albanian people, was not with us anymore, he has passed away…!”
We were in total shock, we were covered by the sense of loss, confusion…Moreover, considering the age we were in, knowing that we had just entered the teenage phase in our lives, the idea created over some figures, was connected to the untouchable, to immortality…
Suddenly, all of it collapses unexpectedly, plus: He who himself did not expect or even feel this surprise deep inside, whom it was not causing any significant effect, had to, however, recite or act his/her part, to show his surprise, his deep bitter pain…to show that he has been devastated by this pain…
Had to clench his teeth, even close his eyes tightly with the hope to shed a tear or two…But, unfortunately, just like in those moments when you desperately want something to happen it just doesn’t sometimes, the tears too did not come out so easily from everyone…
Therefore, it began a difficult phase for the successor of the father of our homeland, for his faithful Ramiz, who had to show that nothing has changed for the country, in terms of his leadership for his people….But, deep, deep inside, he himself knew that it was not like that…
The first heavy collisions for the leadership of the country were connected to the phenomenon that made the ground shake under his feet…: The convincing Albanian population, the nation that never dared to touch a foreign diplomatic institution before, not even with their eyes…much less, that dared to get close to any of them and let alone cross the border, has suddenly started to change!
Thus, a strange, unique but a real fact has just happened! An Albanian family, already persecuted from the regime due to the escape of one of the brothers outside of the country, entered the Italian embassy and requested political asylum!
As a bomb that explodes right in your hand, – I think in that moment felt the steel government…
These were the signals that were not supposed to be followed by others…In other words, the repeating of other similar examples should strictly be prevented, if we did not want to create an idea to the population, that our new government’s situation is getting out of control.
But, it was only a matter of few months that have passed and the situation got “complicated” again.
This time, another heavy hit, another disappointment happened for the government. It was not about any incidents that may have happened at a foreign embassy, but for some other type of ‘disobedience’ and the violation of the steel rules, until then, respectable rules in an indisputable way.
Thus, the brave decision of a well known family of the capital, made the headlines by spreading the news as it were some type of mourning news at that time. This well known family was not only famous for the presence of significant figures within, but also known for the talent and the success that their son was achieving- genius in the field of music, – the big kid, Tedi Papavrami, at that time a teenager was making the headlines.
This family, Tedi Papavrami’s parents, made such a significant and important decision, to stay in France and close to his son, with whom they have just got reunited and who had just received a French scholarship, by requesting political asylum!
They calmly announced that they chose this path for their son, in order to try to give him the possibility for a brighter future, the kind of future that a talented person like him deserves! Not only for the impressions that Tedi was leaving in the international arena, but also for the simple fact they, themselves were musicians, perceiving that a talent of such caliber, in the Albania of such period of time would go to a waste.
The consequences for their families that were left in Albania (for Tedi’s grandparents, aunt etc.) were very hard. They got persecuted and denied many rights including the essential ones.
This was a very hard hit for the government which, continued to suffer the loss of the legendary leader, thus: Announced that, Albanians have started to awaken and to react…Albanians, inevitably were demanding change!
My mother (and many others…), could never accept the fact that, a family which she valued so much, like the one of Tedi’s relatives who remained in Albania , with whom, among other facts, she was very connected to in relation to an old friendship, would suffer the persecution in such a horrible way. This was just because their family members decided to reside in France.
And for what type of “fault” the issue was raised about? For the claim of something that is so simple, of an undeniable right: A better future for their son!
Well, let the world hear us then that: Albania was also the country of “Paganini” followers!
Learn about the “The 24 Caprices of Paganini “!
Little girl, at that time, – I thought that, – if Tedi was able to execute these as part of the music pieces in the world, it would be possible to be heard for all of us, the voice of a nation which demanded change in their lives.
Tedi made it like no other!
And so the determination and the courage, by these people, who demand change at all costs, could not possibly be called just a “Caprice”.
It could simply be called an undeniable Right for this nation, that it could certainly be called…
First published in Italian language on Albania News on 30 June 2013 under the title “Tedi Papavrami. Essere musicista all’indomani di Hoxha”
You can find this article also in Albanian language under the title “Tedi Papavrami. Kolona zanore e një pranvere që ishte akoma larg”
Translated by Saranda Shala