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Ndricim Kadriu

A Time of Terror

By: Ndricim Kadriu

Before I came to America, I went through a moment of terror. It was the worst day of my life. Because of my father's activities as a member of the Democratic Party, all my family lived as a target, especially me. During this time I had to face many problems; I had been pressured, threatened, beaten up, and I couldn't even stay outside.

All of this started because my father was a Democratic contributor, and he took part in many important events for the Democratic Party, especially in the overthrowing of a communist dictator in the Albania history. After the communism, Albania became a Democratic country. My father, along with some other contributors, became members of the Democratic Party.

Seven years later, the Democratic Party was overthrown too, from them - the communists, who later called themselves socialists - and my father as well as all my family was in danger. In order to stop my father's activities in opposition, the socialists threatened and took actions against us. They were willing to do everything to hurt my brothers, and me so that our father would stop what he was doing. Even if he stopped, we would still be in danger.

It was a horrible time for me because I dealt with an extreme critical situation. Every day on the way to school or coming back from it, I faced many problems. I was pressured from different groups of people led by communists in power. In order to escape from this danger, my family and I would have to leave Albania or to limit the time outside the house. But we decided not to leave the country and I decided not to stay home; instead I decided to go to school regularly. Nevertheless, I had no idea what these people were willing to do to me.Whenever I was out, I tried not to stay alone or in deserted places. On the way to school and back home, I walked on busy streets so I could escape from the people that were following me. Sometimes they were further away from me, sometimes closer, sometimes on my left side, and sometime on my right side. They were scrutinizing every movement I made, and everything I did.

I remember a particular day of terror - the worst day of my life, I would say. That day I was in school, and the security guard came to my class and asked the teacher whether I was there or not. Then he told me to go downstairs because my brother needed the house keys and had a message for me. I went down. I didn't think too long though because it was the security guard who asked me to do this, so I went; but he was dishonest. When I went outside, I didn't see anyone. I walked a few steps forward and then I turned around; all of a sudden someone punched me right in my nose with something very strong. There were about three or four people. Then they cursed me and hit me hard all over my body. All I can remember from that scene is that one of them said, "You stupid democratic bastard." When I woke up after two hours, I was in the hospital. I could hardly move any part of my body. They had also taken the key from me and had stolen some valuable things in my house. I also lost a lot of friends at that time because nobody stayed with me knowing that their lives would be in danger if they stayed with me. To me that time was worse than lifetime in prison.

These groups were becoming increasingly dangerous. My family and I didn't want to leave our country, but the circumstances were very crucial. Therefore, we could not stay in Albania any longer and we chose the country of freedom, America.

My life was in real danger and I couldn't stay in the middle of the threatening, beatings, etc. My rights were violated. I didn't have the right to privacy, speech, and education. Living there was like living a nightmare. I had to get away and to find my freedom and live in peace with my family where nobody could invade my rights.