Maryam Rajavi and Nexhmije Hoxha are both widows of two dictators whose dark past has been known to the world.
Most dictators have several characteristics in common. They often resort to force or fraud to gain despotic political power, which they maintain through the use of intimidation, terror, and the suppression of dissidents. Massoud Rajavi, the leader of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MEK/ MKO/ PMOI) shares the prominent characteristics of most dictators around the world. He was disappeared in 2003 when the coalition forces invaded Iraq. Since then, Maryam Rajavi has been the public leader of the group.
In 2015, the MEK was completely relocated in Albania, one of the best-known examples of Balkan countries “experiencing” authoritarianism. The end of World War II and the bloody conflicts marked the beginning of a series of industrialization and economic self-sufficiency efforts by the leader of the Albanian Labor Party, Enver Hoxha. However, Hoxha’s adherence to a model of governance similar to that of Stalinism showed authoritarian and violent actions against dissidents. His policy throughout his life led him to be described as a “communist dictator” and as the “Stalin of the Balkans”.
Massoud Rajavi took his ideology from Stalinist Russia too. He founded his cult of personality on the basis of an ideology which is a mixture of Islam and Marxism. He claimed to seek a classless society in his organization and eventually in future Iran. He did not succeed to overthrow the Iranian government in spite of launching the most violent terror acts against the Iranian civilians, authorities and nuclear scientists during three decades.
Massoud together with his wife Maryam Rajavi developed their despotic rule on their own rank and file. Under the Rajavi’s cult of personality members are subjected to mandatory divorce, forced labor without payment, self-criticism meetings and other cult-like suppressive practices. In the Cult of Rajavi, dissident members have been jailed in solitary confinement, tortured or even killed. This is what the Albanian nation experienced during the rule of Enver Hoxha. Hoxha and Rajavi’s method of conducting politics had ideological bases similar to those of Stalinism, aiming more and more at personalistic aspirations.
The 40-year period of Hoxha’s rule was characterized by confiscation of property, many years of imprisonment or forced labor in camps, the imposition of the death penalty and the banning of all religious activities. Hoxha’s wife Nexhmije, who was an active member of the Communist Party took on various key positions in Albania. She was a supporter of her husband’s political actions and she directly mixed with a series of murders and persecutions of thousands of people, mostly prominent women of the post-war period.
Hoxha remained the dictator of Albania until his death in 1985. His widow, Nexhmije Hoxha, the “Black Lady” or the “Devil Woman”, as she has been described, lived for 35 extra years after the death of her husband, in an area just outside Tirana. She passed away in February, 2020, at the age of 99. It is important to note that, in none of her interviews did she express remorse for the regime’s past and their crimes.
Maryam Rajavi can be considered a widow because her husband Massoud Rajavi has disappeared since 2003. Addressing Maryam Rajavi, in his paid speech in an MEK-run event in 2015, Turki Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s former chief of Intelligence also spoke of Massoud Rajavi as “your late husband”.
Today, three decades after the fall of the Hoxha’s dictatorship, Maryam Rajavi plays the part of the “black widow of the Balkans” in the Albanian territory. Although Nexhmije served five years in prison before she lived in isolation in her apartment in the suburb of Tirana, Maryam Rajavi lives in her headquarters in a village in North of Tirana, Manez, meeting her paid invitees. She boasts of her future plan for Iran, chanting slogans for a few thousands of her cult members who wave the MEK flags before her. She glorifies her disappeared husband for the crimes he committed against the Iranian nation and his own rank and file.
Maryam Rajavi is over 70 years old now. She will die someday and definitely, she will never remorse for the atrocities she committed together with her husband. An inherent lack of empathy, guilt or remorse allows the most malignant people to commit unspeakable atrocities and never feel regret.