| E diele, 20.01.2008, 01:57 PM |
ÇËSHTJA ÇAME DUHET ZGJIDHUR DREJT!
M E M O R A N D U M
OF THE ANTI-FASCIST COMMITTEE OF THE CHAMI IMMIGRANTS IN ALBANIA TO THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL INVESTIGATION COMMISSION ON THE TREATMENT OF THE CHAM ALBANIAN MINORITY IN GREECE AND THE MASSACRE AGAINST IT
We, the Anti-fascist Committee of the Chams immigrants in Albania, believing in the democratic and humanitarian principles of the United Nations Organization, on behalf of the Chams immigrants in Albania, submit to the Investigation Commission our lost rights, our suppression, persecution and massacres at the hands of the Greek fascists to exterminate the Albanian minority in Greece. In continuation of our protests and demands addressed to the Great Allies and the United Nations, we demand justice in connection with the following:
For 32 years on and while brutally trampling upon every human principle and neglecting international treaties, the Greek chauvinistic and reactionary cliques have resorted to a policy of extermination against the Albanian minority in Greece. As early as the Greek occupation of the Chameria on the 23rd of February 1913, the Deli Janaqi’s band, aided and abetted by the state authorities, massacred 72 men of the Paramithia province at Selani’s Creek without any reason at all. The massacre marked the beginning of the process of extermination of the Albanian minority and helped uncover the orientation of the Greek policy towards our population.
Persecution, imprisonment, deportation, tortures, plunder and looting on the pretext of search for arms during the years 1914-1921, the terrorist activities of the komitadjis, the Gen. Bairas provocation in 1921, all of these go to testify to the reality of misery that befell our population in the time of Greek occupation. Koska, Lopsi, Varfanji, Karbunari, Kardhiqi, Paramithia, Margëllëç, Arpica, Grykohor, etc., are just some of the villages that paid dearly because of terror. In the years 1922-1923, the rulers of Greece decided to impose the displacement of the Muslim element of Chameria in exchange for the Greeks of Asia Minor considering them to be Turks. This ignominious act of the Athens rulers met our resistance and the intervention of the League of Nations which, having observed the Albanian ethnicity of our population, rejected the decision of the Greek government.
Despite the interference of the League of Nations and the solemn pledges taken by the Greek government at Lausanne on the 16th of January,1923,the Athens rulers continued their policy of extermination. They had recourse to any means available to render as difficult as possible the stay of the Albanian element in Chameria, expropriated hundreds of families in Dushk, Gumenica, Kardhiqi, Karbunar etc., robbing them of 6000 hectares of land without remunerating them in the least. The Athens government settled immigrants from Asia Minor in Chameria in order to populate it with Greeks and create the conditions for the Albanian native population to emigrate. Entire families were compelled to tear themselves away from their native land and leave for Turkey, Albania, America and elsewhere; such villages as Petrovica and Shendellinja were completely emptied of Albanian inhabitants.
In the circumstances, we did not enjoy a single national right and were denied even the use for our mother tongue. In stead of developing our national culture and making progress, fanaticism and ignorance were supported; instead of schools, religious, Arabic language clubs were opened and subsidized. Ninety five percent of our population is still illiterate. The Chameria province, a rich and fertile place, remained backward, deprived of economic development and communications; it was in the hands of such usurers and speculators as the Kochonis, Pituls, Kufallas,Zhullas, Ringas, etc., who impoverished and enslaved the entire province.
During the struggle against fascism, when the war was ending, the reactionary monarch-fascist forces of Suli’s Llaka, which were created by reaction and served the occupiers, under the command of general Napoleon Zerva, perfidiously cracked down on and massacred the Albanian Muslim inhabitants of Chameria. At a time when the ELAS troops and our forces were engaged in the fight against the Germans, the EOEA command, hand in glove with the Germans, was trying to gain ground in the fratricidal war. When our forces true to the spirit and decisions of the Sarafis-Zervas Caserta agreement in August 1944 were carrying out the orders of the Joint Command in pursuit of the Germans, general Napoleon Zervas, commander of the resistance forces in Epirus (ELAS-EOEA), ordered that operations and massacre carried out against the innocent population of Chameria.
The massacres in Chameria are a flagrant violation of human principles and an ignominious neglect of the principles and character of the anti-fascist war. The massacres in Chameria were perpetrated owing to cooperation and agreement with the Germans, who left the province to the Zervas forces at the time of their retreat. Here is a concrete fact of the cooperation that existed between the Zervas forces and the German forces: “The Zervist commander of the forces of the Filat region, Theodhori Vito, the day before the entry of the Zerva forces into Filat, on Septembar 22,1944, at the village of Fanaromen, 3 kilometers from Filat, had a meeting with the commander of retreating German forces”. After the meeting, no sooner had the German forces left than Theodhoros Vito’s forces entered Filat. Such collaboration made the Zerva forces feel safe on the flanks enabling them to unleash terror and massacres on a large scale all over the Chameria province.
The forces of the EOEA Division X under the command of colonel Vasil Kamaras, precisely the forces of the 16th regiment of the Division commanded by Kranjaj who was assisted by Lefter Strugar, lawyer Stavropullos, Ballumi, Zoto, the diehard criminals, the Pantazeits, entered the town of Paramithia on a 27th of June, 1944. Contrary to the promises given and the agreement reached between the mufti Hasan Abdulla on the one hand and Shapera with Paramithia’s bishop as Zervas’agents on the other, the most atrocious massacres started. Defenseless old men and women and children were the target of the Greek monarch-fascists. The number of those massacred in the town of Paramithia and suburbs rose to 600. On July 28, 1944, the forces of regiment 44 under Agore’s command marched into Parga where they massacred 52 men, women and children.
The EOEA forces under the command of Theodhor Vitos, Ilia Kacho, Hristo Mavrudhi, Hristo Kacho, Hari Dhiamanti and others entered the town of Filat in the early hours of Saturday ,the 23rd of September 1944 after they had besieged it. They had entered Spatar too on the same day. They looted all the families and took with them whatever they could find. On the evening of September 23, dawning of September 24, 1944, the forces commanded by Kranjaj, Strugari and others joined in. The arrival of these forces was the signal for the commencement of the massacre. Forty seven men, women and children were massacred in Filat, while in Spatar, part of whose population had found shelter in other villages, the number of the massacred people was 157. All the young women and girls were ill-treated and raped by Zervas’ criminals. A few days later, the monarch-fascists rounded up all the men who were still alive and by decision of a trial presided over by Koqinja, chairman, Stavropulolos, pr osecutor and four members, 47 innocent Albanians were massacred. In Granica, Filat people killed by fire arms or stabbed to death were buried, whereas another 45 others were buried in Xhelo Meto’s field in the Filat plain.
Entire families, parents, children and babies, were wiped out. Women and girls were raped. Hundreds of statements made by those who escaped, describe the massacre and the sufferings which shed light on the crimes and designs of the monarch-fascists in Chameria. Here are a few examples: Sanije Bollati in Paramithia was burned with petrol after her breasts were cut off and her eyes put out. Ymer Murati was killed and then mutilated in Paramithia. Chili Popova from Popova wearing army uniform together with a squad of soldiers broke into Sulo Tari’s home where more than 40 women had taken refuge, carried off the prettiest women and girls by force into another room where they forced sexual intercourse on them. The house resounded with the cries of pain and horror of the women in torment during all the night. Seri Fejzo, Fizret Sulo Tare and others were the target of the crime.
Hilmi Beqiri from Filat was wounded in front of his family. After those who wounded him, had left, his family took him to the dentist Mavrudhiu who kept him for a few hours, the he asked to take him away. Those who took him to Stavro Muhaxhiri, left for Shuaip Meta’s home where many families had gathered. The Greek andarts learned where he had been hidden, tore him away from the others, pulled out his gold teeth with pincers and shot him dead afterwards. Malo Muho, 80 years old, who had been sick for four years, was killed with a shovel in front of his wife. His wife collected his brains which had fallen on her lap and covered him with a quilt. At Spatar, Abdul Nurçe was taken away, brought to Filat barefooted, dragged on the streets of the town and then was shot in front of Nidh Tafeq’s home. Lile Rustem’s family consisting of 16 people, mainly children, was completely exterminated. Xhelal Mini from Paramithia was beheaded with bayonets on V:F7 the dead body of Myfti Hasan Abdulla. Sali Muhadini, Abedin Bako, Muharrem Pronja and Malo Sejdi had their fingres, noses, tongues and feet cut off. As they were suffering from extreme pain, Zerva’s andarts were singing their commander’s song and rejoicing at the sight. Finally, they hanged them on the butcher’s hooks.
Estref Himi, a resident of Paramithia, has to say about the massacre at Paramithia: “On Tuesday, June 27, 1944, at 07:00, Greek monarch-fascist marched into Paramithia under the command of colonel Kamara, major Kraja, captain Lefter Strugari (a lawyer), vice-lieutenant Nikolla Cheni and others. Once they entered the town, an order was issued that nobody should move because honour, freedom and property were in no way to be violated. On the afternoon, men, women and children began to be arrested, white houses began to be looted. All men were killed until the next morning. After I was detained in a jail for 4 days, I was set free to bury the dead. At the place called “Kisha e Aj Jorgjit”, I recognized five of the dead, the others could not be recognized because of the extreme tortures inflicted on the. The five victims I recognized were Met Qere, Sami Asim, Mahmut Kupi, Adem Beqiri and Haki Mile. Two days after, I was taken to “Galatajt” and then to the vicinity of Dhi miter Nikolla’s home where 8 people had been killed. I could not tell who they were for they had been mutilated beyond recognition. I saw dead bodies littering all the place.
Sanije Bollati, after being tortured, was burnt with kerosene. This tragedy took place on Wednesday. On Firday morning, she was carried away by her mother and two other people, who covered her with a blanked to a basement by order of the monarch-fascists who prevented people from seeing her. There in the basement, she died after five days. I saw everything with my own eyes. First, I went into hiding finding shelter on a ceiling staying there for five days, then the monarch-fascists found and arrested me and after being taken to major Kranja, the latter interrogated me and then ordered that I be jailed. In the jail, I found 380 people, including womenfolk and children; 120 of them died of hunger; four persons and I were kept in the prison for 15 days and then they took us to Preveza and afterwards to Ioannina where we were detained for another 40 days. There, we were subject to unheard of tortures. We were freed when the E.A.M. forces came to the town”.
“On the morning of the Saturday, September 1944, all the population was rounded up in front of the village mosque. The soldiers began looting the houses and raping women, girls including old women folk. Pale Çulani, 50 years old was raped, her personal belongings were taken, her hair and then her ears were cut off and finally she was shot in her garden in the vicinity of Muço’s corn field. The family of Sako Banushi from Skopjona, that is, women, men and children, had settled in our home. After raping the women whose breasts were cut off with knives, all the family was massacred. At the home of Damin Muhameti, 5 women and 3 children were shot. In the home of Fetin Muhameti, Hane Isufi and another woman were tortured and then raped. In the home of Dul Sheref, the 80 year old man Sulejman Dhrimica and his wife were beheaded.
At the home of Mete Braho 20 people, women, children and men were burned alive. Kije Nurcia, 76 years old, was killed with a knife. I saw 30 massacred people in the vineyard of Zula and in the garden of Avdul Nurça in the house of Haxhi Latif, Haxhi Culan’s daughter was raped, while in the house of Mejdi Mete, Hava Ajshe and Nazo Arapi were raped; the latter was massacred afterwards. ”The victims and losses in human lives, according to statistics so far, during the 1944-1945 massacre against the Albanian minority in Greece reached the number of 2877: in Filat and suburbs 1286, in Gumenica and suburbs 192, in Paramithia and suburbs 673 and Margallic and Parga 620.
That was the fate of those who failed to leave Chameria with the exception of some women who are living witnesses to the hair raising massacre in Paramithia, Parga, Spatar and Filat. What they say clearly exposes the criminal character of the barbaric acts organized by the Greek monarch-fascist reaction in Chameria. The slaughter inspired by the basest sentiments of chauvinistic and religious hatred resulted in the forcible displacement of nearly 28000 Chams people who came and found shelter in Albanian in most deplorable conditions.
Sixty eight villages with 5,800 houses were looted, razed to the ground and burnt down. Based on the assessment of the damage, it results that 17000 sheep, 1200 cattle, 21000 quintals of wheat and 80000 quintals of edible oil including the produce of the years 1944-1945 amounting to 11,000,000 kilograms of grain and 3,000,000 kilograms of edible oil were taken away by Zervas’ monarch-fascist forces. As people were fleeing, 110,000 sheep and 2400 cattle either died or lost. All this clear evidence of the profound economic catastrophe suffered by our population which was stranded with only their clothes on. Chameria made a material and moral contribution to the great anti-fascist war. Chameria’s population threw itself unreservedly into a total war against the invaders; it created the fourth battalion of the ELAS regiment XV. More than 500 fighters emerged from the tiny population of Chameria.They resolutely fought against the nazi-fascist occupiers and the Ballist and Zerv ist traitors.
The blood shed by martyrs Muhamet Murteza, Ibrahim Hallumi, Hysen Vejseli and others together with the blood shed by the Greek partisans at the Qaramica passes testify to this fact. At the end of the war for the liberation of the country from the occupier the troops commanded by general Napoleon Zervas operated in provinces and villages not as liberators, but as hangmen and sworn enemies of the Albanian element in Chameria.
Under the Sarafis-Zervas Caserta agreement, August 1944,the resistance troops had to join the same front against the Nazi army, under a joint command in specified operational zones. The agreement was violated in Chameria.The Zervist forces compromised with the Germans and by attacking our forces hindered the activity of the fourth battalion of Regiment XV in the Filat zone. The operations and massacres in the Filat province are direcly linked with this situation and openly ran counter to mutual confidence and the spirit of cooperation as agreed in Caserta. Even the last village of Koska in Chameria, one of the bases of organization of the resistance forces of the National Liberation Front in Chameria was destroyed and burnt down as a result of destructive acts in Chameria.
On October 30,1944, a commission of the Chams anti-fascist Council was sent to Athens to lodge a protest with the Papandreu Greek government against the massacres in Chameria, asking for an end to them. The Papandreu government refused to take any measures or commit itself to what was requested from it. After the December 1944 operations, with the liberation of Chameria from Zervist occupation, part of our population was repatriated and settled in the Filat province. On March 12,1945,the government forces of the Corfu garrison, violating the February 1945 Varkiza agreement, organized and perfidiously perpetrated the revolting massacres of Vanra (Filat), which once again laid bare the stand and policy of the Greek government authorities responsible for the annihilation of the Albanian population of Chameria. In view of the situation, the UNRRA mission (Albania) received approval from its centre in Washington to accord the Chams immigrants 1,450,000 dollars as immediate relief because of their difficult situation.
Despite their conditions, the Chams immigrants continued to make an ever greater contribution to the Front. At the Shales (Konispol) conference held in the latter part of September,1945,the voice of the Chams in exile for cooperation against the invader and the injustices of the Greek monarch-fascist was raised higher. At the Vlora Congress on September 23,1945, the Chams delegates who represented all the groups of the Chams immigrants in Albania expressed themselves against the massacres of the Greek monarch-fascists and through memoranda to the London Conference demanded an analysis of their problem and the condemnation of those who caused the bloodshed in Chameria and their endless sufferings. The Congress adopted a resolution which sums up all its proceedings.
During our life as immigrants, we have asked the world several times for our denied rights and repatriation. On October 30,1944, the Chams anti-fascist Council sent a note of process to the Greek National Union government, the Mediterranean General Headquarters, the allied governments, the EAM Central Committee, which referred to the atrocities of the Geek fascists in Chameria.
On May 9,1945, the Chams Anti-fascist Council sent the Allied Military Missions a copy of the telegram to the president of the San Francisco Conference on the rights of the Chams on the basis of the Atlantic Charter. On June 27,1945, telegrams of protest against the massacres in Chameria by the Chams Anti-fascist Council were forwarded to the democratic government of Albanian, the Soviet, British, American, French, Czechoslovak military mission, the Yugoslav Legation, the Albanians in the USA, Italy and Bulgaria. An aide-memoir was sent to Mr. Hutchinson, a Labour deputy in Great Britain on November 26, 1945. A telegram was sent by the Cham Anti-fascist Council on September 25,1945 to the UNRRA headquarters asking for assistance.
The delegates of the Chams Congress addressed a memorandum to the Allied Foreign Ministers’ Conference in London (3-4.09.1945). A memorandum was sent to the United Nations Assembly in London by the Cham Anti-fascist Committee on January 11,1945,which sheds light on the massacres and asks the recovery of the Chams’ rights. A memorandum to the United Nations Assembly in New York was sent by the Cham Anti-fascist Committee on October 25,1946, and so on.
We are the victims of the monarchic regime which is ruling in Greece today. Together with the fraternal Greek people, we are suffering from the consequences of the black terror unleashed by them all over Greece. It is two and a half years now that we have been roaming in Albanian leading a miserable life far from our native land, at a time when our rich land is unjustly exploited by the agents of the monarch-fascists in Chameria. Our sufferings in exile have been and are boundless. Thousands of people have died because of this situation. Despite protests we have made and the rights we are entitled to, we continue to be in exile, whereas the Greek government has gone all out to establish aliens in our Chameria in order to prevent us from going back home.
On behalf of our population, we once more ledge a protest and bring to the attention of the Investigation Commission of the United Nations Security Council the tragedy played out in Chameria and the act carried out to exterminate our population. We stress the need for a urgent settlement of the Cham problem, confident that our following demands will be met:
1.Adoption of immediate measures to halt the settlement of aliens in our native land.
2.Repatriation of all the Chams.
3.Restitution of our property and remuneration of damage in liquid and fixed capital.
4.Assistance to rebuild our home and resettlement.
5.Sefeguards and guarantees emanating from the international treaties and mandates, such as guaranteed civil, political, cultural rights and personal safety.
6.Trial and condemnation of all those who are responsible for the crimes they have perpetrated.
With our highest consideration
THE ANTI-FASCIST COMMITTEE OF THE CHAMS IMMIGRANTS
Përkthyer dhe përgaditur për shtyp Isuf B. Bajrami
Botuar tek gaztea ILLYRIA 6, 10 Maj 2005