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This is how we expelled Sali Berisha from the student movement, the role of Edi Rama and Azem Hajdari, ex-student of '90, Blendi Gonxhe, tells
Written by Rigels Seliman 9 Dhjetor 2023
Blendi Gonxhe, former student of December, confessed yesterday in an interview for "SOT" newspaper that Youth Day came as a result of difficult living conditions and lack of freedom. He said that this movement was a new democratic standard and its essence was not only the overthrow of the communist regime. According to Gonxhe, December 8 is not a day of celebration belonging to any political party, but a day of victory over freedom of speech and movement. Also, while talking about Berisha's role, he said that he was chased away by the students of December, when he dared to bring to the Student City the order from the Bureau of his party with a tesser and function, the APS, to stop the gathering and return to Auditorium.
- Mr. Gonxhe, we were present on December 8, 1990, the first thing that comes to your mind when and when do you remember it as a date?
The pride and fulfillment of an entire life, even when you look at it in retrospect, you find very few moments that you would have regretted or reconsidered. We prepared for a year or so at the Academy of Arts. Students of that time, their living conditions, even the canteen, were very difficult, adding here also the lack of freedom.
-Did you have an organizer who brought you together?
Each environment had its own groupings. The youth of the Labor Party of that time did their best to keep this protest under control because they knew that if the situation erupted, it would be difficult to keep it under control. There were some explosions that happened that year and it was a bit difficult. We had clashes with representatives of the bureau, but on the other hand we also had requests why political prisoners are not released. It was hard to be a student and it was much easier to have a different voice as a student than the rest of society.
-When did you realize that you were strong enough to shake a regime?
It is both spiritual and instinctive. We were privileged to be in school, because not all young people could be, we were with scholarships, in a way the part of the school made the collective even more invulnerable. We used to have meetings for hours, some of them were even called to the police station to explain why you said these things. There was a lot of fear, psychological violence, threats to the family. It was a very hot and cold situation at the same time, you could end up in an uncomfortable situation at any moment. After December 8, the first days were difficult, there were serious injuries in hospitals, but sooner or later the system would fall. From an economic point of view, it would fall from any point of view. Our movement was a movement that demanded that we have some norms so that the new democratic systems could begin to be built. Date 8 is neither of one party nor of the other. The square filled so much it was impregnable it was impossible for the police to touch us in that square. We've been laughing because we've been showing the funny side of the system. It was that we were mocking a regime that was still in power, how unfair and unproductive it would be to continue with the cult of the individual. We talked about Enver, about the literature about him, about the party, etc. We chose some representatives from the faculties who boarded a bus, at that time there was a danger from a group that could attempt a coup d'état to harm. It was a bus that was arranged by Ramiz Alia to wait for the student delegation to meet at the brigades palace.
- What do you remember from that conversation?
I understood that it was decided that they would release, that is, that they would take a step back and release pluralism. We wanted it to be as protected as possible from the attempts the system could make. I was dressed in a suit with good clothes, it was a moment of celebration of what we want to do and achieve. I took the floor and insisted on free movement for citizens. The student movement met resistance from those who came to us with a very old mindset that we had criticized and came from the labor party. Our protest continued even after December and we continued until the hunger strike that took place in February. We wanted to go higher, to filter the past so that political prisoners could be freed. In the academy, hands were broken by the high interest of the public and people came in large numbers. This was not hatred towards the Hoxha family, but it was hatred towards the mentality.
- What was the role of former Prime Minister Sali Berisha in the student movement of December 8?
Sali Berisha si person por dhe si mbartës i një fryme e mendësie te mbrapshtë moniste, puniste, është ne borxh të rëndë, të jashtëzakonshëm, me Lëvizjen Studentore si mision, me historinë, me atë brez të etur për ndryshim, në frontin e parë të luftës kundër zinxhirëve të një regjimi mbytës. Sali Berisha u përzu nga studentët e dhjetorit, kur guxoi e solli në Qytetin Studenti porosinë e Byrosë së partisë së tij me teser e me funksion, PPSH-së, që ta ndërprisnim grumbullimin e të ktheheshim në auditor! Ne nuk mund ta dinim që atëherë nëse Saliu kishte bekimin e regjimit apo po sillej si sekretar partie, siç ishte, por kur ai pa se nuk iu bind askush, kur ai ndjeu nga aq afër flakën e pishtarëve të shpresës, zërin tonë në sheshin me mijëra e mijëra protestues, u spraps - për t’u rikthyer si Kalë Troje për të marrë udhëheqjen e PD-së, për fatkeqësinë e PD-së e të tërë vendit. Lëvizja studentore atë vit e duke kulminuar atë dhjetor, nuk ishte thjesht për një përmbysje politike apo për një rotacion; ishte një dëshmi e fuqisë së idealizmit rinor, një forcë e aftë për të shkundur malet dhe për të rishkruar skenarin e fatit të një kombi, të një Shqipërie të Re me qëllimin e lartë e këmbëngulës për një standard të ri. Studentët u përballën me fantazmat e një epoke të shkuar, duke shembur muret ideologjike që kishin kufizuar aspiratat e ëndrrat e tyre, dhe edhe pse aq të rinj në moshë u organizuan dhe vijuan revoltën ndaj kultit të individit, ndaj diktatorit, me grevën e urisë dhe rrëzimin e busteve, duke e patur kundër Berishën dhe PD-në, pikërisht sepse studentët investonin për themele të pastra të sistemit të ri, ndërsa Berisha e tradhtoi shpirtin e asaj lëvizjeje duke u bërë pasues e përsëritës i praktikave të dhunës në parti, kundër mendimit ndryshe dhe deri në atentate ndaj zgjedhjeve, ndaj opozitës e protagonistëve të mendimit të lirë, ndaj medias e deri në horroret e 1996-ës, 1997-ës, 1998-ës apo të 2011-ës. Ndaj, nuk e di ku e gjen kurajon Sali Berisha të ndotë emrin apo përdhosë vlerat e 8 dhjetorit, por edhe pse vonoi, edhe pse ai akoma mban peng PD-në e opozitën, historia do ta dënojë përjetësisht!
-Po sa i përket rolit të Azem Hajdarit?
Kuptohej guximi i tij, kishim nevojë për guximin e tij. Ai kishte vuajtur dhe vinte nga provincat ku vuajtja ishte edhe me madhe. Ai mori trajtën e një nxitësi dhe më pas secili nga ne kishte opinion e vet. Vite më pas mendoj se ai duhet që të kishte bërë shumë më tepër nga ajo që partisë i ka ndodhur.
-Cili ishte roli i kryeministrit Edi Rama në lëvizjen studentore të 8 dhjetorit?
Rama was an incredible inspiration at the Academy of Arts, he was a good professor, but not only that, he was also a friend and a person who was revolted by the situation that was at that time. Rama came from a family that we knew, such as Kristaq Rama's family, which somehow even today is easy to blame Rama for the family he comes from. From what we have seen, Rama was one of the most well-read and educated, but he was also one of the bravest. Not in vain these characters were very brave. The great luck was that these people did not use this knowledge and this privilege to look after their own affairs, but made it available to society. When we sat with Rama and many other professors, doors were broken because there was a need to hear real voices. Rama happened to be in Greece at the time for a family matter and has returned after we told him that we have an urgent matter and the student finds us in the city. He came to the cinema and the first night he came, he was shocked to see Sali Berisha in the leader's chair in his office where they were establishing and structuring the Democratic Party. I was part of this table, as I always tried to make sure that we were part of that beginning. After 15 days I resigned. It was impossible to work at the level that the Democratic Party started. Rama went out that night and never came back. Albania would be very good if we would be very good if we were careful in the first hours, if the students were listened to that we should have another standard for the creation of the first structures for the creation of the new opposition that was founded in December .
Interviewed by: Rigels Seliman