I worry about my friends, although when we are able to speak by phone, they assure me that everything is going to be all right. The current crisis in Albania has brought an end to what is now part one of my project; a completely different landscape awaits my return and it’s apt to be even rockier than what I found on my first voyage into that unknown land.

There are many who have contributed to this book: Robert Martiko, first of all, whose expressive letters were the inspiration for this project; Aleks Bala, who opened the door to Albania for me; Vera and Agim Hametaj, who opened their home and life to me; and Elona Popi for her common sense and translation skills.

In the United States I want to thank ArtsLink for material support in the preparation of this photo-documentary essay and exhibit. A public/private partnership directed by CEC International partners, ArtsLink enables artists in the United States to work with their counterparts in Central and Eastern Europe on collaborative projects.

I also want to thank Sarah Wimer, for her judicious editing; John Kolsti at the University of Texas for his encouragement; Neil Coleman for maintaining Pro-Jex Gallery; and all my friends, for putting up with this obsession for the past five years: it’s not over yet! Most of all, I want to express my gratitude to the ex-prisoners and their friends and relatives whose memories are the core of this book: “Thank you” is inadequate. Shume faleminderit!