By Idriz Lamaj
“UNITY OF THE NATION” in Damascus
-From the history of Albanian journalism and journalism in exile-
Memorie.al / The publicism of the Albanian anti-communist diaspora began immediately after the departure from the homeland of many well-known nationalist personalities who, during World War II, had played leading political roles in their homeland. From the end of 1946 and the beginning of 1947, the newspapers “Flamuri”, an organ of the National Front, “L’Albanie Libre”, an organ of the Independent National Block organization and the news bulletin “Bashkimi i Kombit”, organ of the Kosovar Group, which is published in Damascus, Syria. These are the first three newspapers that begin to be published in exile. All three of these types of publications in exile are founded and run by the cream of Albanian nationalist politicians who had played an important political role during the war and had escaped into exile, under dramatic circumstances.
70 years ago, the Kosovar Group in Exile, such as: Rexhep Mitrovica, Xhafer Deva, Rexhep Krasniqi, Tahir Zajmi and Xhelal Mitrovica, started the publication in exile of the news bulletin “Union of the Nation”. Even this well-known group of nationalists escaped from Kosovo at the end of November 1944, through extraordinary difficulties. They had escaped from the lava of the communist invasion of Kosovo, thanks to the organization of Xhafer Deva, who was grateful to them until death.
The news bulletin “Union of the Nation” began to be published from the beginning of 1947 in Damascus, Syria. This newsletter is prepared by Dr. Xelal Mitrovica, Dr. Rexhep Krasnqi and Tahir Zajmi, who were in Damascus waiting to immigrate to Australia. Meanwhile, Xhafer Deva had just urgently returned to Rome and established serious contact with the Americans, for the preparation of some kind of armed activity against the communist regimes in Albania and Yugoslavia; His close cooperation for the first parachute drop in Northern Albania and Kosovo, Mr. Deva had coordinated it with the Independent National Block – with the forces of the Captain of Mirdita, Gjon Markagjoni, operating in the North.
In the news bulletin “Bashkim i Kombit”, which was published every month until the end of 1949, the national and international political problems, as well as the tragic internal developments in the captive Kosovo, are treated in the most serious way of the time. In this news bulletin, the executions, tortures, imprisonments and all forms of tragedies in Kosovo are followed with attention, city by city and village by village.
It is written with deep pain about the Massacre of Tivar, the Uprising of Drenica, and the heroic battles of Mulla Idriz Gilani with his forces, against the Serbian-Montenegro communist forces supported by the communist regime of Enver Hoxha. From the articles published in this news bulletin in exile, it is clearly seen that the Kosovar Group in Exile has comprehensive contacts with the homeland and knowledge of any kind of internal development in the ethnic homeland.
At the same time, this news bulletin is seen as aiming to integrate the Group in question with other nationalist political forces in exile, regardless of who they represent. The various writings of “Brithyes” (pseudonym of Dr. Xhelal Mitrovica), editor and chief founder of the bulletin in exile and of the newspaper “Bashkimi i Kombit” in the homeland (Tirana, November 28, 1943), are of a strange height even for today’s time. Dr. Xhelal Mitrovica was one of the most famous Albanian journalists in that period, and he was also one of the harshest researchers and polemicists of the time.
Historical studies and fine political analyzes of Prof. Rexhep Krasniqi, published in this bulletin, stand up to each time. Tahir Zajmi also makes a special contribution to this news bulletin, with reports and various descriptions of the time. Meanwhile, the reports (announcements through private letters to his close friends) of Xhafer Deva, published without his name, are shocking information on any kind of internal development, both in their ethnic homeland and in the Balkans. This so-called newsletter has completely disappeared and is on its way to extinction.
The 13-14 issues I have are barely readable due to the age of the paper and the printing of the newsletter on a simple typewriter. The people who created it were patriots and prominent political and military activists during World War II and the most respected personalities from the Albanian population of Kosovo at that time. As a sign of respect and memory for Rexhep Krasniqi, I bring here for the readers an article published in “Bashkim e Kombit” in Damascus, Syria, in January 1948.
Dr. Rexhep Krasniqi
TO BE WISE
During the short period of publication of this notebook, the issue of a closer cooperation of the Albanian parties in exile, at least the synchronization of their activities regarding the vital issues of the Nation and the presentation of them to the outside world. This initiative begged to be taken up by people with experience and patriotic merit. However, the fate of the people and the Albanian State seems to be left to cry with tears.
While the Albanian people are endangered and annihilated by the red rule, the Albanian emigration, for more than three years now, is fighting among them for merits in a war that, as the conclusion shows us, was done for others and brings Albania under the darkest slavery that the sharp, but true reality has announced. If everyone thinks wisely and is free from the passions of partisanship, I beg you to accept that a joint action gives the best opportunity to fulfill our goals than to separate, even if you criticize each other in between being close to strangers.
In itself, our problems of vital importance are quite simple, today free the country from terrorist rule, and tomorrow gather the entire Albanian people in a free state, and ensure their national and economic existence. We should not complicate these clear problems, put goals behind them that are only related to small personal or group interests. On top of that, let’s not forget that foreigners look at the Albanian issue only from the prism of their interests, insurance gained over time and more so from the experience of the last war. Foreigners do not know and are not even interested in knowing our internal affairs in detail at a time in which humanity is going through apocalyptic phases of events with a speed and drama not known until today.
Internal problems can be shocking for us, while for them, and especially for the representatives of the big nations, they appear microscopic compared to world events. Therefore, it cannot be expected from these people to find time and interests to listen to the sayings and rumors and to delve into long and boring memoranda and studies of this or that person or group. These types of separate actions take on dangerous forms for the entire Albanian issue, when each Party claims that they alone have the right to present the Nation’s interests between international airports, forgetting all together that after this revolutionary period, they cannot the true will of the people is known, since it has not had the opportunity to express its free opinion. Such claims without serious support hurt us in the fact-seeking outside world.
One thing is known today for sure, this poor people want to be freed from the communist choice. But with the current attitude of the Albanian emigration that divides where union is begged, that complicates where the issues are clear, that relentlessly claims support that relentlessly criticizes common benefit, this human demand cannot be met.
Our people and political parties should already have learned from the past forty years and accept that the Albanian people are very little known, and unfortunately, do not enjoy sympathy in the outside world, due to the old propaganda of their neighbors. ‘Us and their friends. As a small nation with few intellectual opportunities, power and economic productions, there is no way to attract the interest of the big ones to be taken more seriously into consideration.
For once we are forced to accept the aforementioned fact for our national pride that the existence of an Albanian State is more dedicated to its delicate geographical position and the disputes over the frequent fragmentation of our land, than a right that begged for this Nation.
You relied on these truths that depress us in the depths of the soul, begging us to be hungrier and seek to adapt to this reality. For the honest protection of our national rights, it is more than late for the union of all positive political, intellectual and fighting forces. Only if it is presented to them organically, compactly, prepared and organized, we can serve our issues better and we can enjoy the understanding, and perhaps the sympathy of those circles that have a different opinion on the fate of the peoples of little ones.
In no way should we repeat the mistakes we made in the Peace of Paris after the First World War, where two or three delegations, each claiming to represent the Albanian people, reduced our chances, in few cases, until their minimum.
Precious time has passed; we hope it is not too late! Memorie.al