May 31, 2012 (Oh Goody! More Trauma and Torture)

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Beautiful mosque in downtown Shkoder. Its located in the main pedestrian shopping area.

Today started off with a bang… well maybe a whisper. We went to speak with some elderly men who worked with victims of the Communist regime. They told us heartrending stories of their own torture, one man was bound and dragged behind a car, while another was arrested and imprisoned for “dressing wrong”. They repeatedly assured us that they were not seeking revenge, merely closure and healing. They also help other victims with their legal problems and lobby for human rights. Their office walls are covered with the faces of the dead, Albanian flags, and Abraham Lincoln quotes.

After that, we needed a little break, and decided to further investigate the pedestrian walkway of shops we had seen yesterday. I bought an autobiography written by a man imprisoned during the Communist Era, and Elijah searched in vain for an English copy of Mein Kampf. We had a wonderful lunch and relaxing rest of the day.

A fabulous restaurant owned by an Albanian who lived in San Francisco, Ca for 10 years but had to return to help his wife’s aging parents.
We learned that last week there was a sort of riot out in front of his restaurant in the pedestrian shopping area, and he went out to get the protesters to leave because a film crew had shown up and he didn’t want the bad publicity. A policeman approached him, threatened him and told him to leave Albania.
We also learned that every cafe/restaurant with tables outside had them there illegally (including our San Franciscan friend) because whenever anyone tried to apply for a cafe permit they were denied.

The Amazing Clydesdale Pigeon!

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