Talk:Enver Hoxha

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I'm going to assume that RationalWiki's biographies of statesmen are meant to focus on their attitude towards science, religion, social policies, and similar themes. Obviously humor is all well and good, but let's not forget that Hoxha is noted in various sources as the Eastern Bloc's only intellectual leader, who initiated an unprecedented campaign to pretty much entirely abolish religion in Albania based on historical and social reasons. I myself plan to expand the article a fair bit to better discuss these subjects. --Ismail (talk) 09:53, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Could you also include that he was a paranoid dictator who had concrete machine gun posts every few hundred yards all over the country? Perhaps there was a rational reason for this. This article's a bit of a whitewash. SophieWilder 10:06, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Maybe I could include that Albania had left the Warsaw Pact soon after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, and that Albania and Greece were in a technical state of war until 1987, and that the UK and USA tried to overthrow his government in 1949-51; there would be context and not just "lol funny foreign country stuff"? --Ismail (talk) 10:34, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Go ahead... don't forget their death penalty for anyone over eleven for "conspiring against the state." SophieWilder 10:47, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
That was in the context of the attempts by the UK and USA to overthrow the government and a bombing at the Soviet embassy in the Albanian capital. --Ismail (talk) 10:49, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
This'll do for starters SophieWilder 10:56, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
It's not even sourced. But no matter, I know what it's referencing; Stavro Skendi's 1956 book Albania. As I said, it was in the context of the government finding itself basically under attack. At the time such laws were classified as "profoundly revolutionary," due to the extraordinary situation of the time. It does not mean that 12+ year olds were liberally executed. --Ismail (talk) 10:59, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Oh well that's all right then. SophieWilder 11:11, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
The 1977 Penal Code modified the minimum age a person could be sentenced to death (put it up to 18), and let us not forget that the death penalty in regards to those crimes was not mandatory. This same code reduced the amount of cases where the death penalty could be applied, BTW. --Ismail (talk) 11:18, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Where this article seems to be going...[edit]

Seems to be turning into a relatively lulz-free, not-terribly-critical take on a dictator. The article seems to just stop shy of praising the guy for having used the state as a means by which to prevent people from practicing their faith. Yay? Theory of Practice Haters gonna hate. 21:48, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

Revert to July version? ТyBored 21:56, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Dude has put a bit of work into it--let him explain where he's going first. Theory of Practice Haters gonna hate. 22:03, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't intend to expand the article further. I just figured that if there's going to be an article on Hoxha it could proceed from a more mature and interesting basis than "lol wacky east european guy from albania lollll." Still, I reserve my quality attempts for Wikipedia like this article I made: Soviet-Albanian split --Ismail (talk) 22:08, 24 August 2012 (UTC)

This is a bit ridiculous[edit]

The Stalin article doesn't restrict itself to "Stalin was an evil guy who killed lots of people." Humor is fine, but when dealing with historical personalities it's probably best to actually make them semi-educative. --Ismail (talk) 16:38, 25 October 2012 (UTC)

Great. I might even agree. However, don't do it with revert warring. Work on one area at a time, small chunks, get consent on Talk from other users, and, since you appear attached to a particular point of view, let others review and make the changes. You can ask me for help, I'll consider what you request. --Abd (talk) 16:50, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
I disagree with the whole sale reversion of Ismail's text as well. There is lots of good information being lost just because we can't be arsed to merge/review. Tmtoulouse (talk) 16:55, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
Nonsensical statements comparing Albania's "popularity" to the DPRK (as if Albania was presented as a threat to the world) and engaging in "doctrinaire hairsplitting" (denouncing Maoism I guess) don't seem to have a compelling reason to exist outside of "teh lulz," even though it's the equivalent of a creationist writing in an evolution article "somehow, after so many years, people still think we came from monkeys." --Ismail (talk) 17:00, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
What about draining the economy to build the bunkers that only existed to fuel his paranoia, or the all the political murders he carried out? Is that just "teh lulz" buddy? --Revolverman (talk) 17:05, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
What about the massive campaign of industrialization he pursued, the raising of the life expectancy from 38 to 71, the total electrification of the country, the eradication of illiteracy and malaria, and so on? Hoxha defied Washington, the Kremlin and Beijing, all which sought to get rid of him. --Ismail (talk) 17:16, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
Yup, he sure did, what with the total isolationism he imposed on the nation, complete lack of freedom of movement and the treating of the Albanian people on the same level as say, steel or oil. Also, that "industrialization" ONLY existed for the benifite of him, and his power since Albania didn't export anything. He was little more then a European Kim Il-sung. Oh ya. He didn't bring in Atheism, he just replaced god with himself as the object to be worshiped. --Revolverman (talk) 17:26, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
As if Hoxha single-handedly did all those things, as if they wouldn't have happened anyway, and as if those improvements justified murder and vicious repression. "Life expectancy" might have been raised (who collected the statistics?), but actual life was terminated. The attribution of every possible improvement to the leader is a common practice in places like North Korea. It was so in Iraq under Saddam Hussein. It was so in China under Mao, the Cultural revolution set the country back by at least twenty years. --Abd (talk) 17:31, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
Obviously Hoxha didn't personally install electricity in the remotest of peasant homes. It's undeniable that these policies, being as they were carried out through central planning, must be credited to the government which he led. Going from 80% illiteracy to it basically being virtually eradicated within 10 years is exceptional. Malaria being a huge problem to being no problem within 20 years is exceptional. James S. O'Donnell explicitly makes the point that such rapid gains could not be achieved under any other sort of economic system. In 1948 industrial production was already about three times higher than it was before the war, and Albania was, relatively, the country most damaged by the occupation. Adi Schnytzer noted that Albania had some of the highest growth rates in the world under Hoxha during the 50's-70's.
  • (edit conflict with above) Ismail, above, wrote "Hoxha is noted in various sources as the Eastern Bloc's only intellectual leader, who initiated an unprecedented campaign to pretty much entirely abolish religion in Albania based on historical and social reasons." This is atheism as a state religion. There is no doubt but that Ismail has created some content, that, in part, could go into the article. But he's also been wholesale removing snark and contrary views. Tmt, there has been a refusal to compromise here, it's not just on the part of those reverting Ismail. Ismail is the single-purpose account here, promoting an agenda that is chilling. "Historical and social reasons" would be the justification used by every bloody "communist" dictator, for the eradication of opposition.
  • "Wholesale reversion" is appropriate when massive changes are made. To effectively demand that others do the work to disentangle the good from the bad is to demand too much, unless Ismail has established -- or at least proposed -- some much simpler changes. Ahem. I'm reminded of Cold fusion, where even simple, fully-sourced and small changes have been repeatedly reverted based on my identity ("crank"), not on the changes themselves. I didn't notice Trent supporting the principle he asserts here.
  • The "good information" is not lost, it's there in history, anyone could work with it. Are you arguing, Trent, that, say, my content for cold fusion should be accepted because nobody reviewed it? I'd be happy with that! But I doubt you really are thinking this way. --Abd (talk) 17:24, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
"'Historical and social reasons' would be the justification used by every bloody 'communist' dictator..." - Too bad staunch anti-communists note the fact that, unlike in the rest of the Balkans, religion played a divisive and not unifying force in Albania.
"Also, that 'industrialization' ONLY existed for the benifite of him" - That's quite impossible. Industrialization allowed for the introduction of free medical care and education, one of the most comprehensive social security nets in the world, a policy of refusing to raise prices on goods from the 1950's onwards (in fact even into the 80's there were price reductions), etc.
"He was little more then a European Kim Il-sung." Actually Kim Il Sung was good friends with Tito, Ceaușescu, and basically anyone who was willing to support him. Hoxha considered Kim an opportunist and megalomaniac (he actually uses those words in his diaries.) --Ismail (talk) 17:31, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
Perfect. As if a "staunch" anyone is reliable source for anything, and as if the rational response to "divisiveness" is to crush it, so that we can "unite" under the Great Vision of our Beloved Leader. This reduces the vision of an entire nation to that of the Great Leader, and leaders, even if great in some way, are totally stupid compared to the free collective consciousness of the people. The latter isn't perfect, and freedom can be messy, and those who long for the "clarity" of living under total dictatorship will long for it, but history is in the other direction, all over the world.
Folks, Ismail is a doctrinaire Hoxhist, and will have ready arguments for just about any criticism. He won't always be wrong. One issue, one piece of text at a time. I'm outa here for now. --Abd (talk) 19:04, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
"As if a 'staunch' anyone is reliable source for anything" - it is if the person in question is a respected historian like Stavro Skendi, who had no reason whatsoever to admire Hoxha (considering he escaped the country) but who demonstrated the disunity religion represented in Albanian history. Peter R. Prifti and various other authors who are likewise anti-communist make the same point in-re divisiveness. To quote Hoxha's wife Nexhmije speaking in 1997, "We wanted everyone to feel they were just Albanians. And see what is happening now in the Balkans as the result of religious and ethnic conflicts. History will prove us right. Capitalist propaganda described us as backward and introverted. On the contrary, you will come to realise that ours was a modern vision." (Talk of the Devil, 2002, p. 102.) --Ismail (talk) 08:01, 26 October 2012 (UTC)

Let's make this an interesting article[edit]

I propose my version of the article. Feel free to criticize it and I shall respond and we can collaborate and in theory a short, amusing but also interesting article will be created. --Ismail (talk) 14:24, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

How is this conversation, or the changes it's about, any different from the conversation above this one? Theory of Practice "...and we do love you madly." 14:31, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Because the former was done on the basis of "reverting a version of the article that was sourced is rather strange." --Ismail (talk) 19:51, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Rationalwiki is not an encyclopedia SophieWilder 20:19, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
People don't seem to like you whitewashing an article about europe's most oppressive dictator. You seem to be going on the lines of "religion is bad-->Hoxha banned religion-->Hoxha must therefore be good." SophieWilder 20:21, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
The "Intelligent Design" article is as detailed as a basic Wikipedia article. I'm not looking to make this article "encyclopedic," I'm looking to make it interesting. You can include the stuff about bunker construction and all that, it's just that as it stands the article is just a bunch of random insults hurled with no context. Even the article on Bush is more... substantive. As for "most oppressive dictator," what about Franco? What about Ceaușescu? What about the Colonels' regime in Greece? --Ismail (talk) 00:33, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
The "Intelligent Design" article is pretty central to our mission. This is less so. I'm not gonna argue about "who was the worst dictator." And yeah, it seems like your biggest focus is straight-up apology for a guy because he banned religion. Boring. Theory of Practice "...and we do love you madly." 00:52, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
It's one of the things that made Albania unique among the countries of the world. Defying the Soviets and Chinese was another, as were a number of economic measures (such as the fact that Albania had the world's most egalitarian wage structures), etc. Religion is emphasized, however, since this is RationalWiki and all that. --Ismail (talk) 05:02, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
Being unique hardly makes it interesting. I like the current version, it makes me less awkward about trying to justify some insane mans dictatorship.--Mikal 05:10, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
"Insane man"? He was Eastern Europe's only intellectual leader. Historian Peter R. Prifti noted that his work could be seen as "holding the sword of dictatorship in one hand and the Western lamp of learning in the other." Both Jon Halliday (co-author of Mao: The Unknown Story—hardly an apologist for communism) and James S. O'Donnell have called him the most intelligent statesman in that region as well. --Ismail (talk) 18:56, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
That's nice. Theory of Practice "...and we do love you madly." 18:58, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
The fact is that, from a scholarly (and indeed rational) perspective, complaining that Hoxha's books were boring and that he was a bad man for condemning the USSR and Mao's "Cultural Revolution" is neither informative nor interesting. --Ismail (talk) 19:01, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
... You should realize by now that we are not going accept your whitewashing of a dictator because he happened to do something that is vaguely good in your eyes. --Mikal 19:12, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
The article is listed as a stub. If people can find good things in Hitler and Stalin, I don't see why Hoxha (who has been praised for much) has to get the short shift just because he comes from ALBANIA LOL. --Ismail (talk) 19:19, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
-Insert generic response by me here- --Mikal 21:32, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
Is that because your lack of knowledge (and lack of willingness to learn) about the history of Albania forces you into such abject generic posturing? --Ismail (talk) 00:50, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
If learning about the history of Albania means defending a dictator, yes--Mikal 00:54, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
To quote the academic Robert Escarpit, Hoxha was a "man of luminous intelligence imbued with French humanist culture, he was the very opposite of a dictator." To quote the historian Lyman Howard Legters, Hoxha "secured and assured his country's independence with extraordinary skill and audacity. Albanian independence may have seemed fairly self-evident by the end of the 1980s, but it had been far from such forty years earlier. Hoxha changed all this. By the time he died, Albania was an accepted fact of international life." He was a popular leader whose government destroyed the power of the feudal beys. His "dictatorship" should be seen in a context similar to that of Abraham Lincoln, who fought the Confederacy in the interests of the broad masses through laws and decrees which, although "dictatorial," were precisely dictatorial against the interest of the slave-owners. --Ismail (talk) 01:12, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
Honestly, i don't really care what Robert Escarpit says about him, it doesn't change facts. --Mikal 01:18, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
And yet "democratic" leaders have been responsible for countless wars, poverty and propaganda. The fact is that even if one wants to denigrate Hoxha as a "dictator," one has to understand the context in which he worked. --Ismail (talk) 01:21, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

Let us make this a decent article[edit]

As is known, I have plenty of sources related to Albania. I am confident that through mutual collaboration an article can be built up that can satisfy a standard of quality which will make it distinct and worth reading. The two main questions are what the article should focus on, and how Hoxha should be evaluated. On the subject of the first question it is important to look at RationalWiki and understand that the main focus of the website is on religious, scientific, and American political subjects. Enver Hoxha's life and work conforms to the first two subjects in that Albania became the first "officially" atheistic state, and in the great expansion of scientific knowledge in the country under him, not just in terms of education but also in terms of his administration combating feudal, patriarchal, obscurantist and all-around conservative concepts, extending literary and other pursuits to hitherto illiterate Albanians, and so on. On the subject of American politics, Hoxha of course was a Communist who opposed American intervention in places like Grenada, CIA interference in places like Chile and Nicaragua, and so on, though it would make little sense to have the article fixate on this particular subject of his administration.

The second question is much more contentious. Many analysts of Enver Hoxha have taken note of his efforts against Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany during Albania's war of national liberation, his democratic activities against the monarchy in the preceding decade, his efforts to raise the culture, health, and many other aspects of the Albanian to levels unfathomable to many in the 1920s and 30s, etc., while also taking note of those aspects of his administration which were determined by the backwardness of the country and aggravated by the internal and external forces. An understanding of these forces and their origins, the steps taken and their context, is important if consensus is to be reached. At the same time it is clear that such forces must be duly noted if all noteworthy aspects of his administration are to be covered. A unique aspect of Enver Hoxha are the various memoirs and volumes of published political diaries he wrote, wherein he condemns the policies of Khrushchev and Brezhnev, Mao, Tito, Kim Il Sung, Ceaușescu, Castro, and various other figures. Analysis of such criticisms will allow one to understand the many-sided character of Enver Hoxha and his administration, especially in the context of the Cold War.

In studying the life and work of Enver Hoxha it is apparent that he presided over great transformations in Albania and wrote and spoke acutely of various events and personalities in his lifetime. This objective fact is something I mention because of the present-day treatment of this issue on the article. Perhaps some will claim that Enver Hoxha's denouncement of the Soviet Union and its foreign policies under Khrushchev and his successors, or his denouncement of the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution" of Mao, are unjust, but this must be thrashed out here, on the talk page, in order to create a broad consensus in the course of diligent study and the bringing up of various materials. Through these and other processes the goal of producing an article of qualitative and quantitative value will be carried out to the end, in conformity with the needs of RationalWiki and the desire for information various persons seek from it. --Ismail (talk) 21:06, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

Shooting cabinet ministers[edit]

Possibly there should be some mention of the gossip (Mehmet Shehu is sometimes named) - but [1] is probably not an appropriate source. Anna Livia (talk) 14:52, 10 June 2021 (UTC)