November 13, 2017

From Comrade Enver Hoxha's Speech of November 10, 1982

The text has been reproduced directly from the English edition of the Speech produced by Albania's "8 Nentori" Publishing House. The page numbers in the margins correspond to the "8 Nentori" original.

5 ... Against this unity of the Party and people Mehmet Shehu, too, one of the most dangerous traitors and enemies of socialist Albania, broke his head. He had been criticized many times by the Party for his grave mistakes, but had managed to camouflage himself. The documents that have been discovered and incontestable evidence prove that since before the War he had been working for the American secret service. During the War and after liberation Mehmet Shehu fought and worked in Albania as a mercenary in the pay of foreigners and under their orders. When he was in the 1st Brigade he was recruited by the Yugoslav secret service (OZNA. today the UDB) and then, by the Soviet KGB, and he served them all zealously. Acting on the orders and instructions of foreign espionage centres, especially the CIA and the UDB, he and the group of plotters linked with him, who are now in the hands of the authorities for full investigation, worked to destroy the Party and the people's state power and to put Albania under foreign rule.

6 In order to carry through the subversive, gangster plans worked out by their patrons in Washington, Belgrade and elsewhere, Mehmet Shehu and his associates were prepared to commit grave crimes. Mehmet Shehu had received orders from the Yugoslav UDB to kill the First Secretary of the Central Committee and other leaders of the Party and state, as well as to use terrorist means to crush all those who would rise against this great treachery. If they were unable to act to carry out their criminal intentions, this was connected with their great fear of the people and the Party and their steel unity, which does not allow any enemy, however cunning and diabolical, to have its way. Mehmet Shehu was never able to alter or distort the line of the Party, because if he tried to do so he would be immediately unmasked.

Caught between two fires - the order of the UDB, which was driven to desperation as it lost ground in Kosova, and his fear of the unity of the Party and the people, Mehmet Shehu could see no alternative but the shameful course of suicide....

17 Dear comrades,

We are living in a very tense international situation, full of great threats and dangers to the freedom and independence of the peoples, peace and international security. This situation is the result of the intensification of the aggressive policy and activities of the imperialist superpowers and the revival of various reactionary, fascist and war-mongering forces.

Both in the United States of America and in the Soviet Union, an adventurous militarist course is becoming predominant in their foreign policy, a strategy of direct military intervention as a means to secure expansion, and their political and economic hegemony in the world is being implemented. Now the superpowers have made not only the peoples and countries which have been outside the zones of their domination, but also their closest partners in the military alliances and economic blocs, the objectives of this general offensive.

18

In these situations, the peoples, of course, are not sitting idle. The revolutionary, patriotic, democratic and peace-loving forces everywhere in the world are putting up open and determined resistance to the inhuman aggressive policy of American imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism. In Afghanistan, in the Middle East, in Salvador. etc., armed struggle is being waged to regain the violated freedom and the lost independence. The Iranian people are making great efforts to defend their revolution from the threats and blackmail of the two superpowers. In all the capitalist countries without exception the resistance of the working class to defend their democratic rights and their right to work won in long class battles has extended greatly. The struggle of many countries for national sovereignty over their raw materials and for independent development is being waged at a higher level and in broader proportions.

These struggles and efforts also constitute those main factors which hit the world capitalist and imperialist system, which cause the crises in the capitalist alliances and exacerbate the inter-imperialist contradictions, which restrain and hinder imperialism in the realization of its enslaving and war-mongering plans.

19 Our Party and Government, as always, attentively follow the various processes which take place in the world and draw the respective conclusions about the stands they should adopt towards them, stands which must respond to the needs of the defence and security of our state and country. We are aware that the situations in the world never stand still and immovable. They are always changing and evolving for better or for worse, according to the ratio of the class forces in the world. the development of the various contradictions, crises. Etc.

Now we see that. as a result of the hegemonic policy and brutal intervention of the United States of America and the Soviet Union. new tensions and conflicts are being created in Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and the Balkans, directly threatening the peace and security' of many countries of these regions. The countries of Western and Eastern Europe are in the iron grip of the two superpowers which now not only want to grab their wealth, but also to squeeze the life out of them. Quite rightly, the broad popular masses in many countries have risen in protests and demonstrations against the stationing of American and Soviet atomic weapons and are insistently demanding their removal from our old continent. The masses are aware that by putting these countries under their atomic umbrellas, the superpowers want to keep them in perpetual political and economic subjection and to make the whole of Europe cannon fodder for the Americans and the Soviets.

Regardless of what justifications may be put up, the dispatch of military units from some European countries to Lebanon, along with those of the United States, constitutes a very dangerous precedent for direct military intervention in the internal affairs of independent countries. In a way, this action is a return to the old policy of the European Great Powers which, under the pretext of "putting down unrest," and "restoring order," sent their troops to various countries in order to establish their domination there.

20 The opinion of our Party is that the strengthening of peace and security in Europe, in the Mediterranean or in the Middle East, the development and prosperity of the European countries, the protection of their culture, traditions and civilization are achieved and consolidated by opposing the hegemonic policy of American imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism, by giving them no possibility whatsoever of exploiting their political, economic and other links with these countries in order to attack other countries. to jeopardize the freedom and independence of the peoples, peace and international security.

Neither the Atlantic Pact, the Warsaw Treaty, the military bases established in various countries, nor the superpowers' atomic weapons guarantee the defence of the European countries. their free and independent development, their sovereignty and territorial integrity. They are secured by breaking up these pacts and by sending the American and Soviet soldiers back to their homes, by breaking and smashing the political, economic and military chains with which Washington and Moscow have bound Europe. Such a thing should be done in the Balkans, too, where, taking advantage of the difficult situations created in some country, the superpowers have begun to move, to exert various pressures and demand new concessions in their favour. The provision of military bases and different facilities for the United States and the Soviet Union threatens the peace and security of the Balkans and so does sinking deep into debt to the superpowers, which entails many dangers, not only for the independence of the debtor country, but also for its neighbours. It is known that, when you have mortgaged your title deeds and cannot pay up, the day comes when the creditor seizes not only your home, but also the ground on which it is built. 21

The Balkan peoples have suffered enough in the past and do not want the map of their peninsula to be changed in favour of this or that superpower. Therefore. the Balkan states should not permit the imperialist powers to enter the Balkans on any occasion or in any way, to disturb the peace and security of their countries.

The present situation in the Middle East has become very disturbing. The new Israeli aggression against Lebanon, organized, financed and incited by the American imperialists, has created direct threats and dangers, not only for the peoples of the surrounding zone, but also for those of a much wider area.

Taking advantage of the great American aid and the divisions amongst the Arab peoples, Israel has extended its range of provocations and wants to destroy, one after the other, all those countries which do not accept the grabbing of Arab territories and genocide imposed on the long-suffering Palestinian people.

The expansionist policy and activity of Israel at the expense of the Arabs is also incited and favoured by the policy of the Soviet Union, its behind-the-scenes deals and plots to the detriment of the Arab peoples.

22 After Camp David, Israel attacked Lebanon. Now it is demanding the submission of Jordan and is threatening Syria with war. Whose turn will it be tomorrow - Iraq's, Saudi Arabia's or Iran's? The American and Israeli staffs are thinking about and working for this. But will the brave Arab peoples allow Israel and its American bosses to do whatever they please to their detriment? Will they remain divided as they are so that Israel and American imperialism defeat and crush them one by one, as they are doing? We believe that this will not happen. The Arab peoples are freedom-loving peoples with very ancient fighting traditions, peoples that have given mankind a whole civilization. They will certainly find the strength to unite and stop the Zionist aggressors from grabbing the Arab lands and exterminating the people who inhabit them. However protracted the struggle, however great the difficulties and however many the sacrifices required of them, victory will be theirs. Right is on their side, the whole of progressive mankind is with them. Our people have always stood beside the fraternal Arab peoples, the heroic Palestinian people and supported their just cause. In the future, too, the just struggle of the Arabs and Palestinians will have the full and unreserved support of the Albanian people.

Recently, especially since Reagan came into office, there has been a noticeable increase both of American interference and Soviet intrigues in Latin America. The peoples of Latin America are responding to this attack by increasing their resistance to enslaving imperialist plans. The Albanian people have supported and continue to support this struggle of the Latin American peoples, and this was expressed in the case of the conflict over the Malvinas, in which we supported the undeniable rights of the Argentinian people. 23

The struggle of our people for the construction of socialism, for the defence of freedom and independence is in favour of and an active support for the struggle the peoples are waging against imperialism and reaction. At the same time, we consider the struggle of the peoples for freedom and independence as our own struggle, as a great support for our cause.

Comrades,

At the 8th Congress of the Party the principles from which the foreign policy of our country proceeds, and our stand towards the major current international problems, as well as towards individual countries and the different political forces and movements in the world were clearly defined and expressed. Today, as in the past, this policy has the complete backing of our people, because it expresses their thoughts and desires, because it defends the supreme interests of the Homeland.

Our people support this policy because it is an entirely independent policy which is not inhibited by any external influence of whatever nature. The voice of Albania in international relations is her voice alone. And this is an additional reason why it is listened to, respected and taken into account.

24 Our stands are known. We have said and continue to say that we will have no rapprochement or reconciliation with either American imperialism or Soviet social-imperialism which to us and all the peoples are the greatest enemies. We will resolutely oppose their aims of hegemony and relentlessly expose their aggressive plans. Our opinion is, and life has proved, that our struggle and irreconcilable stand against American imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism constitute an essential condition for the preservation of the freedom and independence of the Homeland, for progress on our socialist road.

With the other countries, such as France, the Scandinavian countries, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, etc., regardless of their social system, we are for normal relations on the basis of non-interference, equality and mutual interest. We want these relations to serve the economic, cultural and social development of both sides, the strengthening of friendship between peoples and sovereign states and, at the same time, the interests of the preservation and strengthening of peace in the world.

Our country has been and is for the development of international trade, which it considers a useful and necessary means for every country. However, we demand from all our partners in trade that it should be based only on mutual benefit and complete equality, that it should be free of any pressure and discrimination. Moreover, we do not permit trade relations to be utilized as a means to interfere in our internal affairs or to impose alien political and ideological concepts on us. To us trade means trade, that is, the free and balanced exchange of goods, and we never confuse it with the acceptance of credits, which is quite another matter.

Socialist Albania, our people, very highly 25 esteem the progressive achievements of every country in culture, science and technology, all values which serve the development and advance of mankind. Hence, we are for normal cultural exchanges with other countries, for mutual recognition of progressive and democratic achievements in this field, without discrimination or prejudice.

As is natural, our country devotes particular attention to its relations with the neighbouring countries. What has inspired and inspires its stand is the desire to live together as good neighbours, always to have useful relations and to build normal collaboration on the basis of the principles of complete equality and non-interference in the internal affairs of others, respect for national sovereignty and non-violation of territorial integrity, and exchanges on the basis of mutual interest.

We have good relations with the Italian people and we do not confuse them with Mussolini's fascists who spread death and destruction in our country. In my wartime notes I read with pleasure the words that General Azzi, who, after the capitulation of Mussolini's army, confidently surrendered his whole army to the General Staff of our partisan army and the Albanian people, said to me when we met in the village of Arbana, in the vicinity of Tirana, "We are grateful to the Albanian people and partisans who saved and sheltered thousands of my soldiers, sons of the Italian people. I personally and the Italian people will not forget this generosity. I will be a friend of the Albanian people till I die," continued General Azzi. And he remained a friend until he died.

26 The regimes of our countries are opposed to each other, we have our laws and way of life, and the Italians have theirs. Nevertheless, we have normal trade and cultural relations with Italy, which we are ready to extend on the basis of mutual benefit and without interfering in each other's internal affairs. If any Italian government considers these relations of no interest, it may do whatever it likes, this will not affect us much. Nevertheless, we think differently - that these relations are useful to both sides. Ours is not an isolated and closed country, we have things to sell to Italy and things to buy from it for hard cash, as we have with many other countries.

A glorious Arbereshi community also links us with the Italian people. Neither we nor the Italians should forget Garibaldi's fine words and high esteem for the Albanians and the Arbereshi. For five centuries the Arbereshi have been living in Calabria and Sicily. This community has given Italy and Albania outstanding people. While living in friendship with the Italian people, the Arbereshi have preserved their Albanian customs and language through the centuries. This community, which draws us closer to the Italian people, is a factor for friendship.

The Albanian people and the Turkish people have a great love for each other. We make "diplomatic love" with nobody. This is not the custom of the Albanian but, when we pledge our word, we keep it and do not turn whichever way the wind blows. We condemn those who violate our friendship or misuse our trust. The great and sincere friendship that links us with the fraternal Turkish people has never been shaken. The different forms of regime have never shaken this friendship, because it is based on the fine sentiments of our peoples, it is based on those links of fraternity and blood relations, with hundreds of thousands of Albanians who live, work, are married and have children, who die and are buried in a common soil with the Turks. 27

We honour and respect the great leader of the Turkish people, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who, as an outstanding democrat, destroyed the Ottoman Empire and the Caliphate and set up the new democratic Turkey. Let all the pseudo-democrats and pseudo-socialists who oppress the peoples, who trample on their rights and keep colonialism alive, sugar-coated with pompous words, follow the example of Kemal Ataturk who cut the "Gordian knot" of the Ottoman Empire with his sword. It is our desire that our friendship with the fraternal Turkish people should be continuously strengthened and developed further in every field.

We love and respect the Greek people, because they nurture the same feelings of friendship towards the Albanian people. We are sincere with each other. Neither wishes the other ill, but only well. These are historical links cemented with the blood shed together against the same occupiers. We do not confuse the feelings of the Greek people with those of the chauvinists. We shall develop our relations of friendship with the Greek people further. The Greek people call the Albanian heroes of the Greek revolution of 1821 who fought under the command of Ypsilantis -Arvanites penemeni and palicaria Arvanites.* Capo d'istria and the Russian czars, 28 the Serbian kraljs and the Moldavian voivodes betrayed the Greek revolution, but the Albanians, with Marko Bocari at the head, with Ali Pasha Tepelena and the Caporajs, remained loyal to it to the death.

The Government of the People's Socialist Republic of Albania and the Greek governments - right-wing, new democratic or socialist, have always considered the friendship between the Albanian people and the Greek people as a pressing political necessity. Regrettably, however. for the past 40 years, without any reason, the so-called "law on the state of war with Albania," an absurd law without any basis, which is condemned both 'by the Albanian and the Greek peoples, as well as by world opinion, has been maintained in Greece. Every reasonable and realistic person in Greece understands that such a law hampers the shortening of ways for an evenmore friendly development in the direction of Arta. Preveza, and loannina as well as the whole of Greece.

29 It was not in my intention to speak today about our relations with Yugoslavia because we have expressed the stand of our state towards that country a thousand times and we stand by what we have said. However, I am obliged to speak about them, because the Belgrade chiefs not only have turned a deaf ear to what our Party and Government have pointed out but have built up a whole campaign of slanders and attacks against socialist Albania and its policy which is as clear as the light of day, with all their propaganda and diplomatic means. For at least 40 years, on end, not to go further back, the Belgrade chiefs have incited the southern Slavs, and especially the Serbs, to live in constant enmity with the Albanians inhabiting their own territories in Yugoslavia, as well as with independent socialist Albania. This hostility towards the Albanians, this savage chauvinism and contempt towards them, this unrestrained tendency and appetite to annex Albania is something atavistic in them. What makes the issue still more dangerous is that the other southern Slav peoples lack the courage to stop this wave of savagery.

In the time of the National Liberation War we sincerely loved the Yugoslavs, and respected and honoured Tito more than he deserved. We sent large partisan units which fought side by side with the Yugoslav and Kosova Albanian partisan units in Southern and Central Yugoslavia. Hundreds and hundreds of heroic sons and daughters of Albania were killed or wounded for the liberation of Yugoslavia, but now a Serbian dog called Sinan Hasani comes out and dares to insult on the blood they shed. He even goes to such lengths as to claim that the Yugoslavs formed our Party, they organized the Albanian National liberation War and gave Albania everything. But let the dog bark, that is what he is paid for.

30 Both in the past and right up to this moment when I am speaking to you, Tito and company have always rejected our hand of friendship and done everything in their power to cut it off. Openly or through their secret agents, for forty years on end Tito and his successors have constantly hatched up plots to destroy socialist Albania, to wreck our Party, to physically liquidate some of its main leaders. This they tried to do through their longstanding agent, the traitor Mehmet Shehu, too. But all their plots failed and they will always fail.

In the past the Serbian Kralj, Karadjordjevic, together with Wrangel's Great-Russian bands, brought to Albania his agent - the bandit Ahmet Zog, who, as a great traitor to the Homeland, gave Yugoslavia Shen-Naum of Pogradec and Vermosh as a gift in return for this assistance. The Belgrade chiefs want to do the same thing today with the criminal terrorist gangs of a certain hooligan and trafficker in arms, drugs and white slaves, Leka Zogu, to whom, astounding though it may seem, a country friendly to us gives shelter and allows him to give interviews to the press and to call for the overthrow of the people's power in Albania. We have facts to provethat it was the Yugoslav Titoites who sent to our coast Xhevdet Mustafa's group of gangsters, whom we wiped out mercilessly without giving them time to draw breath or see the sun of Albania. At the appropriate moment the world will be told the details of this affair and what it was intended for. However, the dangerous thing about it is that the Yugoslavs, violating the sovereignty of two countries friendly to us and without their knowledge, trained these criminals and landed them in our country. To train terrorist gangs and send them into another country is a grave criminal act condemned in the practice of international relations.

31 Now we have only this to say to the Yugoslav Titoites: don't play with fire, because if a conflagration breaks out, you will get yourselves burnt in it. For our part, we defend ourselves and we know how to do so, we know how to fight and triumph over any enemy. But we do not like this ominous course, full of dangers, which you are following. Nevertheless, if you force our hand we shall give you the reply you deserve. But we tell the Yugoslav leaders not to take this hopeless course which is fraught with many dangers for our two countries, for the Balkans and perhaps even for Europe. You, the southern Slav peoples, are responsible because, instead of making the Great Serbs see reason and forcing them to change course, to adhere to the principles and practice of good neighbourliness with socialist Albania and to establish normal, peaceful relations with the Albanians living in Yugoslavia, you allow them to fan up the flames.

We are convinced that there are progressive elements among the other southern Slav peoples, as well as among the Serbs. There is no other way to solve the problems apart from a change in the political stand towards Albania and the Albanians living in Yugoslavia. We shall continue on the course set by the 8th Congress of the Party of Labour of Albania. the main report of which the Yugoslav leaders have read upside down. Our proposals were as wise as they were conciliatory, whereas your course is fraught with many dangers for Yugoslavia, which we want to remain as it is. You do not pay serious attention to our words which are an expression of the sincere feelings of the Albanian people. So much the worse for you. The world will charge you with grave responsibility. 32

Some governments of European countries and the United States of America are trifling with our feelings and interests. We say to them that nobody is allowed to trifle with Albania and its interests, as was done in the past. The old times when the fate of our country could easily be trampled underfoot and Albania could be attacked and partitioned have gone by for good.

We shall continue, as always, to defend our Albanian brothers living on their own territories in Yugoslavia, with all the strength of our hearts, in their rights which the Constitution recognizes to them. Let the Yugoslavs and world opinion have no doubts about this. This is recognized by international law and this is how all those states which have national minorities outside their borders act.

At the 8th Congress of the Party of Labour of Albania we made our stand towards Yugoslavia clear and we remain unshakeable in this stand. The destruction and disintegration of Yugoslavia will never come from us. We are for the stability of the Federation. But with the Great-Serb. Macedonian and Montenegrin chauvinists our conciliatory words go in one ear and out the other. Their eyes have been blinded by their chauvinism and megalomania. When we appealed for reason and common sense, they pressed on with even more savage terror against the Albanians living on their territories in Yugoslavia. They have thrown into jail thousands of heroic young men and women of Kosova whom they torture barbarously and to whom they apply a thousand insulting epithets. We tell the Yugoslavs to free the young people from prison, for the Albanian cannot tolerate for long such violations of the honour and rights of his young men and women. Let them not fill the cup, because the response may have very dangerous consequences. 33

All Kosova and the Albanian regions of Yugoslavia have been placed under savage chauvinist military pressure. Now the "differentiation," which means making Albanians spy on Albanians in favour of sinister Serbian forces, is going on on a large scale. But the people of Kosova cannot accept this shameful course, because it leads to fratricide: while the Great Serbs will rub their hands in glee.

The Serbs are inciting blood feuds among Albanians. Kosova is being plunged in poverty and covered with graves. People do not know where their sons and daughters are. The Albanian intellectuals are being decimated, insulted, humiliated and thrown out in the street. Only in the time of the Inquisition have such persecutions occurred. No, the Albanian people living in Yugoslavia will not allow anything of their sacred national heritage to be suppressed. Never at any time or in any country has the Albanian bowed in submission to or fled from the enemy when his freedom and legitimate rights have been violated.

You, gentlemen of Belgrade, have sent 60 thousand Serbian soldiers to Kosova to suppress and kill the people of Kosova and to intimidate socialist Albania. But we are not intimidated. we are ready, vigilant to a man. You speak with the language of force, while we try to speak with the language of reason. But we know how 34 to speak in the language of force, too.

Albania is a sensitive strategic key point. Europe must keep this in mind. Some sneer at our fortifications, while arming themselves to the teeth with every kind of weapons, and others underrate our strength. So much the worse for them. Certain journalists whose pens are for hire, certain cafe politicians with their "analyses of strategic plans," and the Great Serbs in the first place, spread the idea and insinuate that in these or those circumstances, indeed in all circumstances, Albania will be gobbled up by the Russians, will lean to the Soviets, etc.

We tell the Great Serbs, the secret firm friends of the Russians, that there are two ways for the Russo-Bulgarian revisionists to attack Albania in order to reach our part of the Adriatic coast. The one way is through the Vardar and Kosova and the other through the Straits of Otranto. In the first case, without the slightest doubt, the whole Albanian people living in Kosova and other regions of Yugoslavia -in Skoplje and Kacanik, in Tetova and Gostivar, in Liap and Plava-Gucia, will meet the aggressors with guns. The whole of Yugoslavia will be ablaze and the Russo-Bulgarian revisionist invaders, if they ever succeed in reaching our Alps, will be in the same shape as the German nazis after the battle of Stalingrad.

In the second case, we Albanians hold the key to the Straits of Otranto. Sazan Island and the Karaburun Peninsula - and do not fear that I am revealing any secret, are rocks clad in iron and concrete which the Soviet naval fleet cannot pass.

If our Russo-Bulgarian enemies and others 35 want to embark on such adventures they ought to know that the Albanians are not a state of three million, but a nation of six million people. Ours was a small people in the time of the Second World War, but although alone and unarmed, they defeated and liquidated a considerable number of Italian fascist and German nazi divisions. Now the times have changed in favour of socialist Albania, hence: Hands off Albania!

Albania threatens nobody, it wants to live in friendship with the others but, if anyone violates its rights and borders, it will retaliate in kind, likewise, it will reply in the sternest manner to the injustices or insults anybody might employ against it.

I am speaking openly and this is the firm opinion of all our people. We say what we think, others have not failed to speak against us and moreover to slander us. We make no unfounded statements and do not indulge in slanders. Herein lies our strength, and that is why the progressive peoples respect socialist Albania just as we have great respect for them. For this just and benevolent stand, we offer them our heart-felt thanks.

Messrs the Yugoslav leaders arrogate to themselves the right to raise their voice about the "injustices" the Bulgarians, the Greeks or the Albanians allegedly commit against the Macedonians of Pirin and Aegeus or the tiny Macedonian minorities in Albania, while we, according to them, have no such right. They accuse us of "interfering in their internal affairs" when we defend the rights, under the laws of the 36 Federation" of our brothers, whom they not only deny their rights, but whom they kill, imprison, and force into emigration, while Serbian and Montenegrin colonists are brought into their birthplace to replace them.

It was Mr Stambolic who launched the slogan of an "ethnically pure Kosova" which the "Albanian nationalists" allegedly demanded. This is not a slogan of the Albanians, but of the Great Serbs, launched in order to drown Kosova in blood. The Serbs and Montenegrins were rightly frightened by this policy of terror and began to flee from fear and because of the poverty that prevails in Kosova. The Great Serbs are now trying to saddle the Albanians with this crime, although they themselves are responsible for the exodus of Serbs and Montenegrins.

Recently the Yugoslavs, assisted by their friend - Russia, have been gathering up - Macedonians of the Aegeus - from all over the place in order to have them as a vanguard for Greece. One fine morning we shall hear that Alexander the Great was a Slav, too. Why shouldn't they do even this? They have a precedent in the Great-Russian "historian" of the 19th century, Vasilyevsky. In his book on Byzantium he goes to such lengths as to write there in black and white that since the modern Greeks are Orthodox christians, they are Slavs, hence they do not originate from the ancient Greeks who gave mankind one of the most brilliant civilizations in the world. With the full conviction of a Great-Russian chauvinist, Vasilyevsky states Quite boldly in his book: "The modern Greeks are of Slav origin."

The chauvinists of Northern Epirus and certain Greek bishops do the same thing when, basing themselves on the statistics of Phanari of the time of Sultan Hamid II, they describe all the Orthodox christians in Albania as Greeks. And these so-called Greeks, who were supposed to number 400,000 at that time, have remained 400,000 to this very day, although almost 80 years have gone by. According to them, the so-called Greeks of Northern Epirus have neither increased nor decreased, have had neither births nor deaths, likewise, they say, 28,000 Greeks of the Northern Epirus languish in "Albanian prisons" at all times and all seasons. Unfortunately for those Greek bishops, who have nothing to do with the Greek people, I can tell the Greek people and government on my full authority that in the whole of Albania there are only 33 persons of the Greek minority serving short sentences of imprisonment for various offences, and only 4 of them for political offences. Why is this so with the Greek minority of our country? This is so because our people of the Greek minority are good, honest people, like the Greek people themselves, because they enjoy all the rights which every Albanian citizen enjoys, because everywhere, among the Greek minority everything is in their own hands. There the cadres of the Party and state are only people from the Greek minority. In every village of the Greek minority there are primary and agricultural secondary schools and in Giirokastra there is a teachers training school in Greek. All the other cadres, such as doctors, agronomists, veterinarians. Economists, teachers and professors, are people of the Greek minority, and there are houses of culture everywhere. The incomes of the people of the Greek minority are among the highest in our country. We Albanians live like brothers with the people of the Greek minority in our common Homeland. The Greek minority in Albania is not groaning, Messrs the chauvinists of the Northern Epirus. but singing and prospering. 38

As for religion. you need not worry about it. To believe or not to believe is a personal right, a question of conscience and not on institutional question: religion cannot be imposed according to the desire or will of the hodjas, the bishops or the Pope of Rome.

I follow the Greek press and have read the questions that some Greek or West-German journalists have put to the people of the Greek minority in our country and the answers they have received from them. One of these journalists asked on old woman of our Greek minority this question:

"Where is your church, where is your priest?" She answered: "Neither the church nor the priest did anything to save me from the aghas and the beys. When they held sway they gave me neither bread to eat nor water to drink, neither electricity to light my home nor school for my sons and daughters. Only the National Liberation War, only my Party of Labour gave me all these blessings. That is why I love the Party and not the priest.

The newspaperman went on with his questions to the old woman: "What about the sins you have committed, to whom will you confess?"

Again the old woman replied with subtle humor: "My son has told me, 'live well in this world, mother, and as for the other world - blame me and my Party for your sins when you get there'." 39

There are hundreds and hundreds of millions of people in the world who do not want to believe in religion. Then why all this astonishment at socialist Albania?

Our state is atheistic by the will of its people and there is no moral or material force which can impose on it anything different. Our people are masters of their own fate and sentiments. The screams of Northern Epirus chauvinists do not bother the Greek minority and socialist Albania in the least, even if the chauvinists are stirred up and paid under the lap by somebody else, and that somebody is not the fraternal Greek people.