26 Mar Meeting Muharrem Xhafa and Pajtim Hoxha of the PPSH
Archeologist Iris Pojani, who had also brought me into contact with Thoma Thomai, was also kind enough to put me into contact with someone else, First Secretary of the Labor Party of Albania (PPSH), Muharrem Xhafa, also a former member of the Central Committee. I wrote him on Facebook and we met for a coffee and raki later in the afternoon. Having been in charge for propaganda and therefore setting out the party line on monumentality during communism, he was the first to unequivocally confirm to me that every single lapidar, monument, bust, or statue in Albania had been conceived and built according to a clear bureaucratic procedure, for which the Institution of Monuments, falling under the Ministry of Culture and/or Education, had been responsible. This also means that somewhere at least the inventory of all these decisions, but according to Xhafa also maps and drawings, should be in the State Archives. In his words: “If they say they don’t have them, they are liars!”
Xhafa also told me about the hierarchy of monumentality Thomai had hinted at, ranging from simple plaques for partisan bases up to full-blown martyrs’ cemeteries and sculptural groups. Moreover, monuments were roughly subdivided into the following thematics:
- Skënderbeg monuments
- Monuments to Albanian Renaissance (Rilindja) figures
- War monuments
- Monuments to socialism
We were later joined by Pajtim Hoxha, who worked in the judiciary branch during the communist period. He later brought me to his office, where we searched through the communist legal codes to find the specific laws pertaining to cultural monuments. I’m currently transcribing them so as to include them in the publication.