National Geographic : 1992 Jul
party was formed, and some political prison- ers were released. Alia's government was forced to stage multiparty elections; in March 1991 a pluralistic parliament was elected . The Hoxha nightmare was finally ending. But I soon discovered that it would take years, perhaps generations , for Albania to catch up with the modern world. Driving through the countryside for nearly an hour, I saw no other cars. Now and then a Chinese-made truck, sheep-faced and indestructible, appeared in a swirl of dust ahead . Cows , pigs, ducks, and chickens - moving along the road with com- plete impartiality-slowed me down. So did wheelbarrows and oxcarts, which shared the road with peasants on foot and on donkey. I saw three schoolchildren, no more than ten years old, standing by the road and stopped to pick them up. They wore a sort of school uni- form, black dresses with red neckerchiefs. Unable to speak their language, I offered each of them a banana. They giggled nervously and declined to eat. I doubt if they had ever seen the fruit before . It was also my impression that they had never been inside a passenger car. They did not know how to sit, how to open the Shut away no longer~ former political prison- ers seek redress for their outcast families. Gjon Mark Ndou (right~ in dark jacket) was jailed in a cramped cell for 25 years. For them- selves and for the nation~ says an Albanian intellectual~ "they need to tell their stories." In May government workers removed the remains ofEnver Hoxha from his regal tomb (below) for reburial in a public cemetery.