drama / romance

The Delegation


At the end of 1990, as the communist regime in Albania is still trying to hold on to power, a political prisoner is secretly taken out of jail and send to Tirana, where he is to meet his old schoolmate, now Head of the European Delegation that has come to check on human rights progress in Albania. But nothing goes as planned.


October 1990. Inmates in a remote political prison in Albania are watching the TV evening news in the cafeteria. They follow with great interest the arrival, in Tirana, the capital city, of a European Delegation that will monitor the government’s implementation of the reforms it has promised – a major prerequisite for the country to be admitted into the OSCE. They have high hopes that the time for them to be released has come. Pressure from international stakeholders on the Albanian government to push for further reform remains high, especially in human rights, which are seen as a litmus test for Albania’s membership.Early in the morning, two security agents of the Ministry of Interior show up at the prison. They have been traveling thru the night, in order to arrive at the prison on time. They produce a special release order for a prisoner, Leo, and then leave with him urgently for Tirana. Surprisingly, one of the agents, comrade Spiro, presents himself as a progressive, treats Leo well and makes him comfortable. Asllan isa bigot, typical of Enver Hoxha’s times. He is uncouth, ignorant and treats Leo harshly, regarding him as an enemy of the People. Leo realizes that this is an unusual mission and that he is being taken to Tirana because the government needs him. He tries hard to figure out why, but he cannot pinpoint the actual reason for this. Suddenly, the car experiences engine problems and stops. In the meantime, as the car is being fixed, Leo enjoys his first day of freedom in a while. Meanwhile, the mechanic is doing his best in order to fix the car with the tools at hand. The boss is upset. They have been delayed for too long.Comrade Spiro asks the Party Secretary of the Cooperative to accompany him to the village so that he can call the central office and let them know that they will make it. Comrade Spiro is told, from Tirana, that because of this delay, it is he who has to tell Leo about the meeting about to take place, at Leo’s house, with his former schoolmate from Prague, Mr. Loherin, who is the Head of the European Delegation. Mr. Loherin has asked to see his old friend and the entire state apparatus is set in motion, to organize their meeting. The issue is quite complex. Mr. Loherin must not know that Leo is a political prisoner, because the Albanian Government claims that there are no such prisoners in the country. If Leo’s status becomes known, there will be a diplomatic incident and Albania risks not being admitted to the OSCE.As everything is ready for the meeting, Mr. Loherin shows up at Leo’s house in Tirana. Yet, Leo isn’t there. Mr. Loherin’s assistants go to great lengths to explain that Leo is on a business trip to a remote area and has been delayed on his way back, due to car trouble. This notwithstanding, Mr. Loherin enjoys his visit at Leo’s house. But why has Leo not showed up yet?



Bujar Alimani

Artan Minarolli