US embassy cable - 06TIRANA506

VICTIMS OF COMMUNISM: OBELISK BUT NO ACCESS TO STATE ARCHIVES

Identifier: 06TIRANA506
Wikileaks: View 06TIRANA506 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Tirana
Created: 2006-05-17 08:41:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: PGOV PREL PINR PHUM AL
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXYZ0010
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTI #0506/01 1370841
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 170841Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY TIRANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4285
INFO RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 2909
RUEHBW/AMEMBASSY BELGRADE 2706
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 0670
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 5262
RUEHVJ/AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO 0423
RUEHSQ/AMEMBASSY SKOPJE 4100
RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA 2768
RUEHVB/AMEMBASSY ZAGREB 2927
RUEPGBA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/COMSOCEUR VAIHINGEN GE
RHDLCNE/COMUSNAVEUR LONDON UK
RUFNPKB/COMUSNAVEUR POLAD NAPLES IT
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0893
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 3261
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 2145
RUEHPS/USOFFICE PRISTINA 3402
UNCLAS TIRANA 000506 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/SCE (MBENEDICT) 
NSC FOR BRAUN 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PINR, PHUM, AL 
SUBJECT: VICTIMS OF COMMUNISM: OBELISK BUT NO ACCESS TO 
STATE ARCHIVES 
 
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED.  PLEASE HANDLE ACCORDINGLY. 
 
1.(SBU) The first-ever National Convention of the Victims of 
Communism held May 12 in Tirana.  Organized by the Albanian 
Pan-National Association for the Integration of Political 
Prisoners and Persecuted Persons (the "Association"), the 
emotionally-charged event was frequently interrupted by 
outbursts from the audience. Security officials escorted a 
handful of attendees from the hall for refusing to be 
silenced. PM Berisha was enthusiastically greeted as a hero 
with cries of "Sali, Sali, Sali." Calling the regime of 
dictator Enver Hoxha "the most barbaric the Albanian nation 
has ever experienced," Berisha made three promises: to 
construct an obelisk in central Tirana to the memory of the 
victims of Communism, to declare all those who lost their 
lives at the hands of the Communists "Martyrs of Freedom," 
and to pay full compensation in accordance with the law. He 
also indicated his government's intention to make an 
important material contribution to the Museum of Victims of 
the Crimes of Communism under construction in Washington, 
D.C. The PM was notably silent on the issue of opening of 
state archives. 
 
2. (SBU) In his remarks, Besim Ndregjoni, the SecGen of the 
Association, called on the government to implement the 
Council of Europe resolution, create a national commission 
for compiling records of the crimes of Communism, find the 
remains of all those executed by the Communists, declare a 
national day of remembrance, establish a national museum 
dedicated to the crimes of the Communist regime, pay full 
compensation to the victims, re-edit school textbooks for an 
accurate portrayal of that period in Albanian history, and 
for the Albanian Parliament to not remain silent and to issue 
a declaration regarding the crimes of Communism, in general, 
and Enver Hoxha, in particular. Following the convention 
Ndregjoni told Embassy officials his organization has 
repeatedly called on current and past governments to open up 
state archives--a request which has fallen on deaf ears. Many 
of the protesters, including one woman who made it on stage 
and was allowed to speak for several minutes before being 
stopped, made adamant pleas for opening the archives so the 
perpetrators of the crimes of Communism could be identified 
and brought to justice before it is too late (i.e., before 
they pass away). 
 
3. (SBU) Finnish Ambassador to Albania, Alpi Rusi, speaking 
on behalf of all Scandinavian ambassadors accredited to 
Albania, called on Albania to re-write its history based on 
data and facts, a step which he characterized as essential 
for unifying Albania and eventually for unification of 
Albania with Europe. Rusi also encouraged Albania to take 
action on the declaration of the Council of Europe which 
calls for former Communist nations to condemn and atone for 
actions of the past. 
 
4. (SBU) COMMENT: Though the GOA has promised superficial 
remedies to the victims of Communism and has agreed, in 
principle, to paying compensation, it is unlikely the 
government will have the financial means to make restitution 
to the full satisfaction of Association members. Moreover, 
the government is unlikely to engage in the thorough 
unearthing of facts and data that would be necessary for 
truly bringing to light the full damage caused by Communism. 
Such analysis would require an opening of state archives 
which heretofore have remained sealed and few doubt will ever 
come to pass given the prominence of many former Communists, 
including the current PM, throughout the political class. 
This is not a new issue nor is it likely to be resolved any 
time soon. END COMMENT 
ZATE 

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