TRUE STORIES FROM RED ALBANIA -PART III: "Total Self-Imposed isolation"

Exclusively for ARGUMENTUM: Abbreviated version of the book: True Stories from Red Albania by Dr. Jorgji KOTE

PART III

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Total Self-Imposed isolation

As a matter of fact, the domestic and international developments had very little to do with ‘the imperialist-revisionist encirclement’ which was trumpeted at that time. But the top Party establishment feared that the new breeze of liberalism was endangering the absolute power of its leader and the infamous principle of class struggle which had wreaked havoc. Therefore, the regime rejected without any single hesitation the Helsinki process and the Ostpolitik of Brandt. It distanced itself from the market reforms in other Eastern European countries, sticking firmly to the fixed idea that Albania was the only genuine socialist country in the world. It had proclaimed the EU, NATO, the World Bank, IMF, USA, Soviet Union and Israel as the greatest world enemies and exploiters. Furthermore, Albania accused China of betraying Marxism-Leninism after Nixon’s visit to Peking, which led to the break-up of relations. The dictatorial ideological obsession led to the point where Albania did not accept even taking part in sport matches with these countries, at either European or world level. However, the draconian sword fell particularly fiercely inside Albania. It was precisely the above-mentioned meeting of the Party’s Organisation in the Central Committee of PLA on 15 March 1973, which  launched a campaign with numerous attacks, executions, imprisonments, internments and other heavy-handed sanctions against all progressive and liberal elements and forces. That cruel offensive started in 1973, first against literature and the arts. Many poets, writers, painters and journalists were fired, then sent to prison or internment; some others like Vilson Blloshmi and Genc Leka, two rising stars and martyrs of Albanian poetry were cruelly executd in 1977. This lynching campaign continued in education, defence, economy, foreign trade, then the controversial suicide of the former Prime Minister Mehmet Shehu, until the death of the dictator in 1985.  It was exactly the bitter catalogue of these tough measures which would very soon lead to the political, economic, commercial, educational and cultural 'bunkerisation' of the country, and not simply the hundreds of thousands of pill-boxes, which mushroomed over every inch of the country during the 1970s and 1980s.  If the former Democratic Republic of Germany became notorious for its Berlin Wall, Albania tried to overtake it through the construction of hundreds of thousands of bunkers which still leave their traces.

CHAPTER V

The catalogue of 'alien manifestations'

I think that especially for the youth in our countries, but also for foreigners - even those coming from former communist countries - it is worth exploring in brief and in concrete terms and names the catalogue of so-called 'alien or outlandish manifestations'. They are unique only to Albania and they could send anyone to prison or other hard sanctions. The fight against these alien manifestations (I think it is the best possible translation for the Albanian term shfaqje të huaja) instantly took much larger and more dangerous proportions following the speech of 15 March 1973, when these cases were also stipulated in the Penal Codes. Mercilessly crushing hostile party and state groups meant tightening measures at every step of private life, denying it totally. Hence, fighting against these manifestations was not simply a moral logos or a slogan. This catalogue may help understand the wide range of the absurd attacks against individuals. A large number of trained and good folks, most of them Party members and leaders, were imprisoned and even executed. Let us look at the major 'alien manifestations' one by one:

The following were categorically prohibited:

  • For teenagers and men: having long hair, wearing the so-called 'favourite' (whiskers down the ears) a moustache or beard;
  • Wearing large sun glasses, jeans, and the so-called 'cowboy trousers'; to put on these trousers was the worst demonisation: 'cowboy' was the synonym of the devil.
  • Girls were not allowed to wear cowboy trousers and skirts above the knee (miniskirts were out of the question), or the so-called maxi skirts as well, décolleté blouses or skirts and dresses tight to the body; neck chains, jewels (except wedding ring) and other similar ornaments. As for wearing the cross or other religious symbols, this was already considered a criminal act. Girls and women were also not allowed to wear long or shiny boots;
  • Following various foreign radio and TV broadcasts, especially the Italian ones, except for the news which was on by Tirana itself at 20:00. Listen to or watch the song festivals and contests in Italy and other countries; the famous Italian Festival of San Remo was the incarnation of degeneration, just like the Eurovision Song Contest.
  • Imitation and interpretation of songs by US, British, Italian and other foreign singers. I do not know how some songs by Tom Jones, Humperdinck and others escaped such censorship; they were surprisingly allowed (mostly since they denounced negative capitalist phenomena such as divorce, betrayal and so on) and we knew them by heart and even sang them among ourselves in strict confidentiality. Directing TV antennae at the seaside so as to be able to receive foreign stations and channels. There were teams of retired persons and other folk who checked the direction of these TV antennae every morning, notified the relevant bodies and sounded everywhere the note of alarm. The justification in such cases was that it was due to the strong wind during the night! But, what about summer?! However, they did find the magic cure to such a prohibition. They invented the so-called kanoçe - can) a small metal device through which it became possible to receive foreign stations secretly. Some years ago during his visit to Tirana, the giant of Italian TV, the legendary showmaster Pippo Baudo, was stunned when he saw such a kanoçe. He wondered how it was possible that such a tiny device could hold such a tall man as he is inside! He considered it one of the most precious keepsakes!!!
  • Buying abroad and reading the so-called 'yellows' and crime literature by Freud, Kafka, Camus, impressionism, existentialism, the 'stream of consciousness', the theatre of the absurd and other literary trends.
  • Interpretation in the above-mentioned evening parties of foreign music, especially jazz, sax, rock and roll and others.

A Barber at Rinas Airport!!!

After the notorious 4th Plenum of the Central Committee of the PLA in June 1973, in order to protect young Albanians from bourgeois and revisionist influences, besides other tough measures, a barber ‘welcomed’ foreign tourists, with scissors in hand, at the entrance of the International Rinas Airport near Tirana. He had strict orders to cut or trim the long hair and beards of foreign tourists, if possible before they went any further. This was non-negotiable, otherwise the visitor had to return home on the next plane!

Well, it was really ridiculous and tragic at the same time to see how foreign tourists and visitors felt such shame in front of their girlfriends or family members and other relatives. There were some visitors, the British in particular, who did not take it seriously; on the contrary they poked fun at their ’new socialist faces’. But there were many others who protested and preferred to return home rather than have their hair or beard cut in this way!

This example shows clearly that Albania was also attempting to export the ‘new socialist man’ abroad and did not care a damn about private liberties and human rights; they did not even exist in the socialist vocabulary at that time. I remember a case when a foreign guest asked a senior Albanian official ironically what would happen to Karl Marx if he tried to enter Albania with his huge beard and moustache. Our host replied with a sense of humour that “If you did only 1/1000 of what Marx has done for revolution, then we would not have your hair cut.”!!!

 

  From 'degenerate' to stars and staunch cultural supporters

It is a sharp irony and testimony against that regime, that many of those former youth leaders, artists, musicians, writers, painters and other rank-and-file citizens, who were looked on with disapproval or even condemned to prison for their “modernist degenerated trends in arts, literature and life” today rank among the stars and staunchest supporters of the country’s culture and traditions, in Albania and abroad.

If we refer to the archives of that time, we readily find the hard language used against our best writers and artists, including the internationally recognized since that time Ismail Kadare. The regime did not spare the threats and the worse epithets, labelling them as traitors, ready to flirt and collaborate with the bourgeoisie and others to 'undermine revolution' and such like. But the reality in the last three decades has again disproved these accusations and calumnies. Apart from continuous international success with his famous masterpieces, Ismail Kadare has been at the frontline of Albania’s integration into the EU and NATO, Kosovo’s Independence, and for the protection of Albanian interests and principles by and large. He has also not hesitated to criticise and denounce negative contemporary events and occurrences in Albania, in Kosovo and wherever Albanians live and work.

Likewise, many prominent writers, poets, musicians, actors and painters in Albania, such as Xhevahir Spahiu, Moikom Zeqo, Visar Zhiti, Frederick Rreshpja, Koçi Petriti and others have devoted their entire life and activity in the last 25 years to upholding and further promoting Albania’s best artistic, literary and musical traditions.  Skënder Sherifi, among the best poets of Albanian diaspora has written amazing poems in which he condemns contemporary evils such as crime, corruption and others. However, his style would not have been permitted in yesterday’s Albania since it would be a break-up with the method of socialist realism!

The much younger talented Rita Ora, the international singer from Kosovo living in London would not have had a better chance in ‘Red Albania’. Whereas the odds for Angelin Preljocaj, the famous choreographer, dancer and ballet director born and living in Paris would be even worse; not only due to the ‘ decadent’ and ‘ modernist’ dancing style but also because his Albanian parents fled away to France in early 1950s! In Brussels there are also such literary personalities accused or even condemned to prison at that time for ‘alien manifestations’. .

The same maybe said for foreign personalities of arts and culture, who were previously viewed mostly as suspicious, enemies, possible dangers for the degeneration of the youth, propagators of bourgeois art and culture and so on. Again, life has proved that these claims were lies without a leg to stand on. There are many examples showing that numerous international art and cultural celebrities have proved to be Albania’s genuine friends at all times. One of them is Mr Nicolas Wieërs, director of the non-profit organisation 1001 Valises and production expert at Euronews. He is a tested well-wisher and an authority on the culture and arts of the Balkans and Albania. In April 2016, Nicolas with his committed team organised for the tenth successive year at the Royal Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels the well-known international cultural Festival Balkan Trafik. The Balkan and other neighbouring countries are represented there with some of their best folk, traditional and modern musical bands, art exhibitions, tourist promotion and other events. Apart from concerts inside, they also perform in other venues and even in the most beautiful square of Europe, in Brussels' Grand Place. Many wonder how Nicolas is able to select and find the best new art and musical collections and bands from our region. He has been to Albania and has met the great masters of our folk and traditional music. And yet, during the communist dictatorship, he and others like him would most probably have been viewed with a suspicious eye, instead of gratitude and admiration for his genuine friendship!

 CHAPTER VI                                          

Political Mini-Tourism

There was no real tourism in Albania until 1990, despite the perfect conditions for its development and promotion, particularly the untouched coastline of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Tourism was prohibited from fear of 'spoiling' communist morale. The tragic events in 1973 smashed all hopes and expectations of genuine tourism. Therefore, until 1990, there was only 'mini-tourism'. The major tourist venue was undoubtedly Durrës, the second largest city in Albania and specifically The Centre of Tourist Vacations for Foreigners - ALBTURIST, where together with other school mates I served as a tourist guide for a few summers during the period 1973-1978. This was the first time that I could say we were able to go beyond the self-imposed isolation, certainly as far as it was permitted.

During those years, we accompanied tourist groups from several countries – Scandinavians, British, Germans and a few Dutch. They were mainly organised by the Friendship Associations and young sympathisers of communist parties. With minimum expense, they came to Albania not only for 'refreshment' but above all to learn and be inspired by Albania’s unique ideology and achievements as the 'red lantern' of socialism in Europe. There were only a few British tourists. They were rich and visited our country merely out of curiosity. They were accommodated in the noble Adriatic Hotel, the second best after the emblematic Dajti Hotel in Tirana, only a few meters away from the Adriatic seashore.

This sort of tourism served to spread the idea that “true, we are encircled by enemies everywhere, yet, we are not alone. We have a lot of friends all over the world”. The Friendship Associations with Albania were managed by the Committee for Foreign Friendly and Cultural Relations in Tirana. In fact, it was a special department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; its Director was a prominent Ambassador. Albtourist, in cooperation with the Friendship Associations and other institutions, signed the relevant contracts for such visits of tourist groups; individual tourism was not allowed. As the Albtourist state-owned enterprise had only two interpreters, they hired volunteer tourist guides for the summer season. We were offered accommodation and meals, but nothing more. Many years later, when I saw the terms and conditions of the tourist guide contracts in foreign countries and their cash and fringe benefits, I felt very sorry about all that hard work in the terrible summer heat and the sacrifices we made.  But, as it was mentioned above, at that time, money for us did not have the current value and worth; the honour and privilege of being a tourist guide, and other moral and immaterial benefits counted much more. To be at that time a tourist guide was something very pleasant, especially since most of us, coming from poor families, were forced to take much harder jobs during the summer time for very little money, in construction, farming, as waiters, shop assistants and so on. Then, we had the great advantage of practising our English, and gaining knowledge and experience for the future. It should be said that our English was bookish, since we were categorically prohibited from travelling to UK or USA.

Thanks to the extremely cheap tariffs, the beautiful tourist attractions and especially the virgin coastline, and eager to learn from our own experience as the only 'genuine socialist country', foreign tourists came organised in groups of up to 30 people and stayed usually for 10-15 days, or even less. It is fair to say that some 10 - 15,000 foreign tourists came each year until the 1990s, largely in summer and very few during other seasons. Apart from the modest income, they added a lot to the image of socialism in Albania. These tourists were asked to learn as much as possible through a special thematic programme tailored for them. There were one, two and three-day trips to different cities, visits to state farms and agricultural cooperatives, schools and kindergartens, theatres, sport facilities, museums and elsewhere. There were also frequent lectures with some of our best professors and experts, largely on socialist economy, its advantages over capitalism, our ancient and modern history, socio-economic and cultural developments and others. These lectures sometimes lasted for hours, under an exceptional heat, due to the number of challenging questions. The lecturers were not used to such questions and even less to debates. In the evening, the tourists gathered on the terraces of hotels to drink, watch Albanian movies, and once a week to attend wonderful concerts by some of our best folk and cultivated music bands.

Many years later, during different trips abroad, I occasionally had the opportunity to meet some of these tourists. Despite their disappointment, they have remained Albania’s friends and well-wishers. They speak everywhere with passion about our music, hospitality, magical nature, the bio foods and our traditions. Many of them have also visited Albania during the last 25 years.

Some years ago, here in Brussels, I came across the magazine of Le Soir, Victoria, with a cycle of articles on the wonderful beauty and attractions of Albania. At the end of this positive series of texts, it mentioned that Madame Gerda Mulder, Director of the Photo Museum in Rotterdam, was a tourist in Albania for the first time as early as 1973! Then she continued to visit our country after 1990. She also refers there to the big contrast between tourism at that time and four decades later, the huge investments made and other good developments. She highlights the hospitality of mountaineers, the grandiose landscapes of Albanian Alps in the north and the delightful climate with 2,914 hours of sun in the south! But I felt so sorry when I recalled that she and many others like her were deprived at that time of their photographic hobby.

  Foreign Party Comrades

“World revolution is not only an aspiration, but an issue raised for resolution”. This is a quotation from the report delivered by Enver Hoxha at the 7th Congress of the PLA in November 1976. It became the ideological basis and the justification for the PLA's support for the Marxist-Leninist movement all over the world. This was the case notably after the second-largest split at the beginning of the 1960s between China and the Soviet Union, after which new factions came to life. The latter supported the official line of the Communist Party of China and Albania; but in the 1970s, after the break between China and Albania, they split further, bearing new distinctive names from their mother parties such as (genuine) M-L parties, M-L parties (reconstructed progressive) and such like. According to numerous official documents, a significant part of the PLA activity during the period from 1970-1990 was cooperation with these parties, with a view to extending the example of 'socialist Albania worldwide' and launching the world socialist revolution under the above-mentioned directive; the latter was also considered as a novelty by PLA, together with the other 'creative' idea that socialism can win over capitalism even in a small socialist country.

The PLA Congresses were attended by leaders from 40 M-L parties from five continents. As usual, in its reports, a special chapter was dedicated to the state of play of the M-L movement and the necessary support by PLA. The greeting remarks and speeches by the chairmen or high representatives from these parties were received with standing ovations and were by and large a glamorous spectacle and political marketing for public opinion both at home and abroad. After foreign tourists, working with these delegations, apart from the extremely politicised foreign Radio Tirana, the participation of the National Ensemble of Folk Songs and Dances abroad, the annual sessions of the UN General Assembly, different quality publications, sport events and cultural festivals ( in 1970 our famous Ensemble of Folk Songs and Dances won the Golden Prize at the International Festival of Dijon in France), the relations with these delegations were the only remaining forms of activity under the conditions of the absurd self-imposed isolation or encirclement.

The most well-known Marxist – Leninist parties in Albania were the following: that of Italy, with Chairman Fosco Dinnuci, Canada with Hardial Bains, Western Germany with Ernst Aust, Austria with Franz Strobl, Great Britain with Reg Birch, Belgium with Jacques Grippa, The Netherlands with Chris Petersen, Australia with Edward Hill, Brazil with João Amazonas, Sri Lanka with Namingilinim Sammunghathasam and many others.

Well, some of them were known in their own countries; mostly thanks to their contribution to the great anti-fascist war and resolute stances against Soviet revisionism and Khrushchev. However, the electoral power in their countries was insignificant. Thus, Jacques Grippa (1933-1990) the leader of the Belgian Communist (M-L) Party was among the first opponents of German Nazism. In 1967 he was expelled by the mother Communist Party of Belgium and set up the M-L faction, which did not have any further impact. I was only 17  when I saw him and other foreign party leaders near our house while they were on a visit to the historic Museum House where the Albanian Communist Party was founded on 8 November 1941; he was a charismatic person, shaking hands enthusiastically  and raising his fist high, saluting everyone there.

Edward Hill was the leader of the Australian Communist Party, well-known as an advocate for workers' rights. Nonetheless, the impact of his role and ideas was also at a minimum in his country. The same applies to his friend from New Zealand, Ron Taylor. Ernst Aust, in Germany, was editor-in-chief of the Communist paper Roter Morgen and in 1964 became Chairman of the CP(M-L) of Germany, with its headquarters in Hamburg. He passed away in 1985, only a few months after Enver Hoxha, with whom relations had cooled off in the 1980s. However, after breaking away from the 'mother' communist party his impact in Germany became also insignificant.

Franz Strobl of Austria was member of the Friendship Association with Albania before his election at the head of the Party. His impact over Austria’s political life was totally insignificant; moreover, that his party was considered to be just a 'family business'.

In the early 1980s, Hardial Bains became the most well-known chairman of these newly established M-L parties. He was a frequent visitor to Albania with other comrades and family members. Bains originated from a communist family in India and had emigrated to Canada, where he was distinguished for his communist ideas. He died in 1995, at the age of 59. His strength was in the publication of the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Enver Hoxha through the Publishing House 'Norman Bethune'. I had the opportunity to ccompany him and his associates on a visit to Tirana in 1980 as well as two tourist groups sent by his party, who never stopped singing revolutionary and M-L songs translated into English by the above-mentioned publishing house. They looked to be much more politicised!

It is really surprising that such parties were also to be found in Switzerland and in tiny San Marino!!! Likewise, in France and even in Poland! During that period, the Chair of the Communist Party of Poland came illegally to Albania, under the name Kazimierzs Mijali. After escaping from a prison in Poland he sheltered for many years in secret in a villa in Tirana, until he reportedly  turned out to be a spy, a provocateur or sided with China and was returned to Poland.

It should be also stressed that special importance was paid at that time to the strengthening of the M-L movement in Latin America. This was justified with the escalated political and socio-economic crisis there. Following this line of thought and action, it was decided to open embassies in Chile and in Argentina. Given the special significance of Chile, the Director for International Relations in the Central Committee of PLA, Mr Pirro Bita, was appointed as Albania’s Ambassador there. But, he could not land in Santiago, because during this time, in September 1973, Pinochet carried out his coup d’état. This coup against a democratically elected left-wing President seemed to legitimate the thesis that capitalism cannot be overthrown through parliamentary ways and means, but only through the gun barrel and armed revolution. This was and remained the major thesis of Albania’s communist Party leadership.

During the talks and conversations with our experts and leaders our foreign comrades raised many questions, concerns and doubts for their activity abroad. Thus, for instance, with regard to popular and guerrilla warfare, one of the major issues addressed in these lectures was that in Belgium and in the Netherlands there were neither hills nor mountains as in Albania. Then NATO was present, so how could they fight there as we did during World War II? Our equivocal reply was that this required creative thinking and initiative and that they should penetrate the army, youth, everywhere. The heated debates went on for hours on end, making translation exceptionally hard and tiring for us at that time, as young and inexperienced interpreters.           

Challenges and Problems

Unlike tourists, working with these delegations implied much more responsibility; it was too tiring and often boring. Here I do not mean their reception and accommodation in Tirana and elsewhere. These issues posed no problems. For their reception and activities there was a special Party protocol, which engaged the highest Party and local state structures. In each district, one of the three Committee Party Secretaries and the relevant instructors were entrusted with accompanying these delegations at every step, together with the appointed expert from the International Department of the Central Committee of the Party. The guests were received everywhere, right from the Rinas International Airport, by pioneers with bouquets of flowers. Meanwhile, their visits to factories, mills, farms, agricultural cooperatives, schools, universities, kindergartens and different institutions were turned into festive gatherings, with chanting of many slogans, as well as partisan and revolutionary songs. In fact, I meant the official and working talks with these delegations. Likewise, they had several meetings and talks with the best experts and professors of socialism at that time; they came mainly from the V. I. Lenin Higher Party School, Tirana University and other renowned political and economic institutions.  Then there were the long heated debates with prominent Albanian lecturers on revolution, 'the new socialist man', and other topics. Imagine that as interpreters we were accommodated in a villa only 10 meters away from the Adriatic Sea, we were watching our friends and mates bathing and playing, whereas we were burning and bored to death by ideological debates.

In the talks with these guests, just as with tourists, there were also mentioned with a great deal of concern problems, reservations and even objections. In all these cases, one could see that our senior officials gave the appearance of being wiser, claiming to know everything about world politics and even have access to absolute truth. For example, one of the issues for debate from 1973 onwards was the growing of moustaches and beards, which was considered to be an ’alien bourgeois and revisionist manifestation’. But looking at their portraits hanging everywhere, the foreign tourists and guests drew attention to the beards of Marx and Engels asking us ironically what would happen with their beards if they would be in Albania those days!

Another very hard, if not impossible issue to explain to foreigners was “Albania, the only country in the world, free from taxes and duties”. Their question was how, then, was the state funded and how did it function from the financial point of view without such taxes and duties – public administration, kindergartens, hospitals, schools, the army, the police, prisons and other costs? Our experts explained that the above-mentioned financing was ensured through the so-called ‘norm of accumulation’, which in our country kept on increasing; in 1980 it was as high as 33 per cent of GDP! This high level of accumulation was justified by the growing need for major public works and defence, in order to cope successfully with the ’imperialist and revisionist isolation’. But what was in fact the ‘high norm of accumulation?’ As our experts explained, ‘socialist accumulation’ was the amount of money that was saved from salaries and put aside for the state. In reply the guests said: “Well, but this is the same as taxes and duties, only the name differs! But our experts continued with their boring, unconvincing explanations that allegedly the substance and the goals of our accumulation were totally different: they served socialism and the working class and not the rich and imperialist objectives!

No flowers in Rome!?

With regard to our anti-bourgeois party over-propaganda of that time, let me mention here another true story, involving the former gardener of the Foreign Ministry in the 1980s. In 1983, for two months, he was sent to our Embassy in Rome, Via Asmara 9, to care for and plant its large garden with flowers and trees. They could have hired Italian gardeners and services for that job, but it would have cost a fortune! Besides, this was also a way to show recognition for this man’s tremendous work over 30 years, being the only chance for him to go abroad and, as we said at that time, to see the world.  Going abroad at that time was the happiest event for anyone, of even greater significance than marriage or getting a house. In fact, it was a golden opportunity, although one had to comply with numerous procedures to enjoy that right!

The former Foreign Minister, with his characteristic good sense, invited the gardener to his office before leaving for Rome. After congratulating and wishing him a perfect trip abroad, the Minister told him to be very cautious in Rome, but also on his return to Albania. Most specifically, when speaking to others about his impressions of Rome, he had better “zip his mouth” and not talk about the things he would see there. Our poor gardener, an honest man, was amazed by what he saw in Rome; he realised that capitalism was not in decay, as was claimed in Albania. He returned to Tirana after a month and a half, and all his friends came to see him in his apartment. Certainly, he could not forget his boss’s advice. So when they asked him how he liked Rome, he replied reservedly: “Well, it was not anything special, just normal!!” To questions about living standards in Rome, he said they were very bad indeed! “What about beggars?” was the next question, to which he replied: “There were so many of them in the streets”. Asked about strikes and protest rallies, he found it again very easy to reply: “Oh, they were held every single day”. In short, he was denying everything he saw there. Then, came the final question with doses of humour and irony: “What about flowers, does Rome have any of them?”

The poor gardener thought that this was the easiest and the most convincing question to answer, without knowing the laughter he would generate with his funny reply: “What do you mean, if there are flowers there, then, why did the state send me to Rome?”

Then everybody burst out laughing. It was ridiculous, but the poor gardener was politically correct. I have to mention this, because there were many others like our gardener, who were carried away by enthusiasm and could not stop talking about the wonders they had seen abroad. But this ran contrary to the official line of the Party. The crushing official reply in these cases was: “How could you come to know the bitter capitalist reality in a few days or weeks? It seems that you are affected by its system and degeneration”.  There were many other cases when they were fired from their jobs and even sent to prison for such ‘capitalist and revisionist propaganda’. ( to be continued )

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