(by Cali Ruchala)
Chapter One: Introduction
Somewhere on the outskirts, between Stalinville and Mao Valley, there is a special place in hell reserved for Enver Hoxha.
It's not exactly prime real estate, to be sure. He has a modest house there, perhaps a duplex. Down the block lives Todor Zhivkov. Around the corner are Nick and Elena Ceausescu. Janos Kadar and Ho Chi Mihn are frequent dinner guests; sometimes they get a little tipsy and swap wives. Together, they form a special club: inherently evil, they lacked the power, resources and sheer numbers of potential victims to commit murder on a truly genocidal scale. They are abandoned by scholars who flock to the statistical sexiness of Stalin and Mao.
Unable to top Auschwitz or the Gulag Archipelago, all that is left of them now is half-forgotten memories of the more bizarre aspects of their rule. Ceausescu forbade private ownership of typewriters, and held back colour television until the early 1980s for fear the little pictures would be too much distraction to the exhausted Romanian proles. Zhivkov is chiefly remembered for asking Leonid Brezhnev if Bulgaria could join the Soviet Union. Enver Hoxha banned bearded visitors, Americans and God.
This is the little hell made for little men, little dictators of tin-pot kingdoms. While Chairman Mao and Uncle Joe sip blood at the right hand of the beastmaster, Satan sees the residents of dreary Hoxhatown as boorish, uninvited houseguests. There's little he can learn from them, unless he has a taste for really kick-ass goulash.
Such is the fate of mass murderers with few morals but even fewer bodies. These dictators are like British cops: they snarl and sneer but everyone knows they don't carry guns. All they can do is go home at the end of the day and take out their frustrations on the wife, kids, and any small animals that get in their way.