By Hysen Selmani
Part thirty six
Memorie.al/ European and American press have often addressed the subject of the memories of the Albanian King, Zogu i-r, which he wrote and dictated during his exile from Albania. Considering the notes and syntheses that his assistant, Colonel Hysen Selmani, compiled over the years in his service, – always, next to the King of the Albanians, both at home and in exile, these notes, more or less with parts of detached, without strictly following the usual criteria of memoirs, and without having the definite, final form of an edition, they are prepared by Hysen Selmani himself, who has dedicated most of his life, as in Albania, as well as during the exile, serving the First Zog, the King of the Albanians.
Continues from last issue
“They had a very good time there, the adjutant would later write. They showed all that generosity and welcome and help that His Majesty, King Zog I, gave you. And told you to stay in Alexandria, as friends of the King , along with other officers. They were thanking Colonel Hussain Salman, for his peerless nobility and manliness, etc. So, they sent the apostate Sheuvket Suleiman to Alexandria, to show obedience and loyalty to the great leader, King Zog the 1st.
“King Zog, one night, invited as friends for dinner at his house in Alexandria, King Farouk; King Abdulla; the President of Syria, Shyqri Kueatly; the Mufti of Jerusalem, Hussein Efendi; Xhemil Madam Bene, Emile Chamunin and gave you understood about the events that are taking place in Palestine, between the Arabs and the Israelis”, says the adjutant.
“You, – you should study well, how you can find a favorable reconciliation by advising your Arab brothers, to remain wise, and not give them any reason for cruelty, that you cannot do by force nothing,” advises the First Zog. More than anything, the King suffers for the future of the Albanian diaspora, which it seems, will not be easy in the Arab countries. The king thinks about moving emigrants to the USA, France, England and other countries.
While everything has matured for the arrival of the Albanian emigrant, a disaster occurs. Cholera, which strikes in 1947, stops travel from Europe to Africa. This is the problem that Mit’hat Frashëri and many other immigrants cannot go to Egypt. Meanwhile, at the location of the King, the committee of Albanian emigrants arrives, which will deal with their future fate. In addition to Mit’hat Frashëri, who remains without arrival, the following are coming: Sali Muftiu, Ali Këlcyra, Ernest Koliqi, Koço Muka, Qemal Jusufati and Ragip Frashëri. But, suddenly, the King’s plans go in a different direction. The arrival of Jewish settlers and the strengthening of their new state made King Zog foresee uncertainty for the fate of his people. This makes him call to his Court, the heads of International Immigration, to propose a new strategy: Relocating Albanian Emigrants, in the direction of the USA, England, France and other countries. Meanwhile, the Albanian King, after a meeting with King Farouk, King Abdulla, the President of the Syrian Republic Queatly and the Mufti of Jerusalem, Hussein Efendiut, Xhemil Madam Bey, tells them that they should find a solution, for the new difficult problem with the Jewish neighbors, which was just emerging on the horizon.
Alexander, September 27, 1947
“After I presented everything, what was developed regarding the regulation of emigration in Italy and the decisions taken in general and where we agreed, especially that of Mit’hat Frashëri, the King ordered me to put the committee in charge as soon as possible of duty? To arrange their transportation to the places they have to assign. King Zog was very pleased with the actions taken in Italy.
In particular, the King ordered Colonel Hussein Salman to send the visas to the Committee at the Egyptian Embassy in Rome. As well as tickets with the “Farose” company. The King’s idea was that: “as soon as they come, because time will not delay”. He also ordered to occupy a house or hotel for them, with all the necessities, food and other things.
Initially, these were a total of 7 people. Colonel Husein Selmani went to Cairo to the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and telegraphed the visas to the Egyptian Embassy in Rome: Their names were: 1-Mit’hat Frashëri, 2-Sali Muftia, 3-Ali Këlcyra, 4- Ernest Colici; 5- Koço Muka, 6-Qemal Jusufati, 7-Ragip Frashëri. Along with them, Hikmet Delvina also sent a telegram to you about the visas sent to the Egyptian Embassy, to be notified as soon as possible, to leave for Alexander and: “telegraphically, to inform us of the achievements”.
In this way, the tickets were also sent to the “Farrose” Society in Rome and, in this way, Hikmet Delvina was notified, so that he could inform them. It seemed that now, they have no obstacles. The idea was that, they alone, leave as soon as possible, because here the measures for their housing and administration have been taken.
“In Syri, nearly 300 immigration officers and persons have arrived so far. These are immediately installed by the country’s authorities, but they are waiting for the Immigration Committee to go to Syri as well as to Jordan as soon as possible. This is done for the settlement of 6,000 emigrants, in addition to those in Egypt. King Zog, for Egypt, has appointed Husen Terpeza, with 700 Kosovars and some 100 officers of various careers, such as infantry artillery, engineers, communications, and an aviator. There are also 200 students, to the Military Academy”.
Meanwhile, the political situation in the Arab countries is not favorable at all: Unfortunately, the part of Palestine between the Palestinian Arabs and Israel is getting wilder by the day. This, as it seems, will one day take a more serious form, but King Zog, seeing this situation, made a friendly proposal to the Arab States, as far as the Albanian emigration was concerned. Again, he made a proposal to the heads of the Arab States, such as King Farouk, the President of the Syrian Republic, Shyqri Kueatly and King Abdulla. This was related to the bad atmosphere that was created in Palestine and that the King proposed that: “should we bring the Albanian immigrants, according to the conditions you have given us, or stop them”?!
These immediately responded to the proposals made by King Zog, assuring that; we have given all the instructions to the competent authorities, for taking measures to install the Albanian immigration, with all the rights that we have presented to you. And, as for the situation, it is said that it does not tear any changes on immigration, if they come.
Hiqmet Delvina telegraphically announced, at this time, that; both the visas and the tickets were handed over to me, for all 7 people. I told them to leave and come here to Rome, to hand over the tickets, as well as the visas, and to leave for Alexandria as soon as possible. We will inform them of the departure by telegraph”, writes the adjutant.
Now a quarrel has started between the Jiffes and the Palestinian Arabs, so that the Jiffes behave badly even against the British. The Arab League protested profusely at the UNE, but there was no result. The calm, in short, seems to cause some Arab-Israeli conflict, because the sparks of this are clearly visible”, writes the adjutant.
King Zog, from this created state, does not like the moment at all, as far as the installation of immigration in the Arab States is concerned. The fear is that they don’t have a crisis.
For this reason, the King ordered that, until the Emigration Commission arrives, except for those who have arrived, they will no longer be transported, until the commission sees for itself, the locations and the measures taken. However, their attitude is much better in the camps, where they are often located, and it is not at all good for them to move. The king does not have that enthusiasm, as he had before, in these moments for ensuring immigration, says the adjutant.
King Zog invited the general head of emigration to Geneva, to possibly travel for three days to Alexandria, continues the adjutant. He did the same for Peter Son, head of Immigration for Europe. When they came, he kept them as his guests for three days in Alexandria. He explained the plan, making them understand what he wanted for the Albanian emigration. “Except the circumstances (circumstances), created every day, become wilder, between the Arabs and the Israelis, leaving me in doubt that one day they will not remain immigrants on the streets. For this reason, I have changed my thoughts, and taking your thoughts, only for the interest of the emigrants, because they have sacrificed so heavily, lest they suffer another disaster,” he told them.
“I think, said the King, – that with your support, we will transfer them to the United States of America, Great Britain, France, Canada and Australia. Of course, at the expense of IROS, for the travel and insurance of work, in the countries that will be assigned to be transferred. And, as far as this is concerned, I can also give one grade to these countries, for their acceptance and also guaranteeing that; they are the pure element and good”.
King Zog’s proposals were found to be very appropriate and they told him textually like this: “Madhni, you have studied the Arab and Israeli situation very well. It is true that today, emigration to these countries is not at all safe, that one day, that they will not be able to feed their emigration, and no other. You thought that a painful soul, you were nourished by tradition and the love you have and nurture, for your Nation. The best way for their salvation, as well as for the education of the family and their children, this is what you thought. We too, for the fulfillment of these wishes and for the good of the poor, who have suffered and are suffering, we have to do, not only the task given to us, but also moreover, we hope that this will find all that is desired. But, today, we cannot assure you, only that within two weeks, you will have a favorable answer”, they told the King.
With these words, King Zog I sent his American friends, such as the Police Commissioner of Geneva and Peter Sonin, director of Immigration Affairs in Europe. They went as friends and they seem very pleased.
Alexander, October 22, 1947
Today, on October 22, 1947, the Committee formed for the regulation of Immigration arrived in Alexandria, the adjutant declares in his memoirs. Where he was received by the colonel, Husein Selmani, the Minister of the Royal Court, Sotir Martini, Chaberlein, Kemal Mesarea, and many officers. Immediately, he was escorted to a small hotel, which we had all hired, just for the committees. After resting a little, at 11.00 o’clock in the day, they presented themselves to His Majesty, King Zog. “As they were greeted, he sat them down and spoke to you about everything that needs to be studied.”
Unfortunately, Mit’hati, the adjutant remembers, did not come for a week, until he came himself, he had entrusted Koço Muka, deputy. The King stopped them for lunch, and after dinner, at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, accompanied by Colonel Husein Selmani, they went and signed at the Rasetti Palace, and also went to the Crown Prince, Prince Muhamet Ali. Later, they went to the Governor of Alexandria. After these visits were completed, they returned to the Hotel, where the hosts would return their visits.
On October 28, 1947, I received a telegram from Mit’hat Frashër, in which he informed me that I am ready to leave by plane. But, I would also like to take Vasil Andoni with me. “I am asking for his visa and ticket, if it is accepted,” he told us.
Colonel Selmani immediately sent the visa and ticket by telegraph to Vasil Andoni, adding that until you come here, no work would be done. “If you come as soon as possible, we are waiting for you and you have done well to take Vasili,” advised the adjutant.
When his bad luck was that exactly at this time, cholera struck so strong that travel to Europe, both by steamboat and by plane, was stopped altogether. Mit’hat Frasheri, remained with Vasil Andon, in Rome. Hiqmet Delvina telegraphed us for this, that Mit’hat is not granted a visa for Egypt, Lebanon, or Syria, due to cholera, and he was asking how to do it. “We warned them, writes the adjutant – to wait in Rome until the roads are opened, where it is hoped that the roads will be opened soon. We reminded them that strong measures have been taken to eradicate the disease”.
So Mit’hati, remained in Rome, and the Committee, gave you all the necessary medications and injections. They left for Syria. On November 27, 1947, they arrived in Damascus, where they were received with generosity and kindness by the President of the Syrian Republic, Shykri Kueakly, and by all the Syrian authorities. And the President of the Republic declared to you as he had promised that the Albanian immigration will be installed in the best way, where he had given all the orders to the relevant entities and added that they should immediately get in touch with them and not get upset. And, for everything, come here to me, whenever the need arises, he told them.
After leaving the President of the Republic, they went and visited immigration. There remained a small part that had gone that the others had been forbidden forever. “They were 40 officers and 10 doctors, agronomists and professors. There were about 300 in total, where they were taking measures for others who could eventually come. But, His Majesty, King Zog, seeing that the situation, it was getting very critical, between the Arabs and Israel, an order was given, the ban was lifted. In fact, cholera also fell, so the King….”!
His Majesty, King Zog, was always in touch with Mrs. Peter Son, head of Immigration and called him often, to talk in Alexandria, as far as immigration was concerned. But now the King – writes the adjutant – had changed his mind, that if an Arab-Israeli conflict broke out, emigration would remain very difficult. The Israelis still did understand neither King Farouk, nor Shyqri Kueatly, nor King Abdullaj, nor Xhemil Madami that the Israelis were guaranteed by the Anglo-Americans. They protected themselves against any threat from them and this was a disaster for the Arabs.
Although, it continues in the memories that King Zog always explained to King Farouk, King Abdulla, the President of the Syrian Republic, Queatly and the Mufti of Jerusalem, Hussein Efendi, Xemil Madam Bey, not to give rise to an armed conflict with the Israelis. “But to try with the Anglo-American side to find a conciliatory solution, and to put some conditions, between the two Arab nations: Israel in the State of Palestine. But the Arabs, their minds had grown, and they did not see that Israel was supported by all of Europe. That, when they installed them, they gave you all the protection guarantees, but they didn’t listen to them”.
The atmosphere continues in the memoirs – in the Arab states it keeps getting worse, now even agents of Soviet Russia dictate. “They have brought more than 600 people to the Russian Embassy, in addition to the flowers (agents) that they have distributed to all sides. They make an almost open propaganda, that here they find enough support to develop their program. It is a people poor, and in conflict with each other. You can almost say that the Waqf party is like the Egyptian pillar, but they do not see the interests of the state, against their personal interests.”
The Committee in Syria was very pleased with the reception and kind words of the President of the Republic His Excellency, Shykri Kueatly. “But, they were not satisfied by the authorities, because they move very slowly, and the reasons are not the budget: not the housing, etc. Even this minority of immigrants, they have not found the proper stabilization. Also, the engineers, professors, agronomists well, all those Albanian specialists have not been given jobs. Today and tomorrow, they don’t see that anything will be achieved. Now they are also afraid of those Arabs, clearly they will flee from Palestine.
The roads have not yet been opened for the movement of steamers or planes, for the cholera matter. Mit’hat Frasheri, with Vasil Andoni, were in Rome. Mit’hati himself, left for Greece, Athens. Whereas, he left Vasili in Rome, waiting for the roads to open. Where did he recognize us, because he didn’t stay in Greece? Just two days later, he left for Istanbul, Turkey. From there, he will be at his sister’s place for a few days and, from Istanbul, he will write to us.
The Chairman of the Committee in Syria, Salih Myftia, writes to us that: Colonel Fiqri Dinja in Greece wants to come to Syria with 600 people. “We don’t know what to do, whether to send them the ‘attestations’, i.e., the permit here, that they accept them. Or, according to the first order, to stop them altogether”.
We, as the Eye Committee, answer you. Also, we wrote to Colonel Fiqri Dines, that they should not be moved from the camps until a second order. That we talked above all, with Mr. Peterson, head of Immigration, who has to better help immigrants. We explained to them, says the colonel, that the proper installations and needs have not been arranged, as they were needed by the emigration. Memorie.al
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