By Kevin Haxhiu
(On the occasion of being awarded the title “Honorary Citizen” by the Municipal Council of Lushnja, on July 28, 2020)
Qerim Bajram Haxhiu was born in Lushnja on February 7, 1920, in a civic, noble family with patriotic traditions, as he was the son of the famous patriot, Bajram bej Haxhiu, who was one of the members of the Initiation Commission of the Summoning and Organizing the Congress of Lushnja. Qerimi completed his primary education in Lushnja, and his secondary education in the “Madrasa” of Tirana and then continued his higher education in Theology at the “Al-Azhar” University in Cairo, Egypt. Since he was in Albania in the ’30s, he became active as a footballer with the football team “Congress of Lushnja” of the city of Lushnja. He was one of the football players of the first generation of the Lushnja team and the first to start the long journey of the surname that made history in Lushnja and Albanian sports (“Haxhiu”), a path which would later be followed by his brother, Abdurrahman Roza Haxhiu, one of the legends of Albanian sports after 1945.
Emigration to Egypt in 1938
In the autumn of 1938, Qerimi left Lushnja traveling in transit to Thessaloniki and then arrived in Alexandria, Egypt. This long journey for Qerim was unforgettable, for the fact that for him it was a road back to the homeland, until 1967, when he managed to get a permit to visit the homeland. The patriot Qerim Haxhiu was physically in Egypt, but with heart and soul, he was always in his homeland, Albania that he loved so much. This is shown by the fact that he always published articles about the homeland, his beloved Albania and the national cause, publishing them in newspapers, magazines of the Albanian diaspora, and Egypt as well, he had also written cycles of poetry, where he stood out longing for the homeland.
Naser Memorandum Tito, on the situation of Albanians in Yugoslavia
Qerim Haxhiu has been the initiator of many activities, organizations and the drafter of several memoranda and petitions, all for the Albanian national cause. On April 7, 1939, Qerimi drafted a petition and he was one of the Albanian students, the main organizer of the protests in Cairo, against the occupation of Albania by fascist Italy. In 1958, when the head of Yugoslavia, Marshal Josif Broz Tito, was to visit Nasser in Egypt, Qerimi launched a 20-page memorandum on the situation of Albanians in Yugoslavia. In the content of Father Memorandum, data were given on the Golgotha of the Albanians in Yugoslavia and there with historical facts he argued and explained that the Muslim population lives not only in Bosnia, but also in Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and elsewhere and that they are nationalities. are Albanians. The memorandum, although addressed to Nasser (to be given to Tito), was not recorded in the offices of the Institution of the President of Egypt, but was delivered to the Yugoslav embassy in Cairo. This led the patriot Qerim Haxhiu to be arrested and held in solitary confinement whenever Marshal Josif Broz Tito visited Egypt.
Poems for the Bektashi Tekke of Cairo
On July 9, 1941, Qerimi would write the poem “Magauri Teqe”, dedicated to the Albanian Bektashi tekke in Cairo, Egypt, which became a “second home” for Albanians who emigrated there after the occupation of Albania by fascist Italy. Haxhiu was among the well-known Albanian personalities who emigrated to Egypt and a staunch patriot for the Albanian national cause in the Albanian Colony of Egypt, as he dedicated his whole life to the homeland, Albania, Kosovo, the Albanians of Montenegro. , Macedonia and Chameria. Qerimi was an ardent anti-communist and a nationalist who never forgot to remember the figures and personalities who had left traces and contributions in the history of Albania. Thus, on the 21st anniversary of the death of Andon Zako Çajupi (July 11, 1930-11 July 1951), Qerimi gave a speech on his life and work, during the homage paid by the patriots of the Albanian colony of Egypt, at the grave of Andon Zako Çajupi. Of all the activists of the Albanian Colony of Egypt, Qerim Haxhiu was the only one who wrote a summary (history) of the Albanian diaspora in Egypt, which was needed by the Pan-Albanian Federation “Vatra” in the US. Even in Egypt, throughout his life, Qerimi stood by the Albanians and for this, he said: “Everywhere I go, I look for Albanians, because without them the day does not go”.
Meetings with King Zog and Farouk of Egypt
During the period of emigration to Egypt, Qerimi had the opportunity to meet King Farouk of Albanian origin, a meeting which took place during an iftar that the king organized for students and once again in the Albanian Community. Also in Cairo, Qerimi met important Albanian personalities, such as: King Zog I and the Albanian Royal Family (Queen Geraldina, Prince Leka I, Skënder Zogu), Ernest Koliqi, Abaz Kupi, Nexhmedin Qorraliu, Qemal Butka, Aleksandër Meksi, etc. During the stay of the Albanian Royal Family in Alexandria, Qerimi maintained friendly relations and this was a continuation of an old friendship that began in 1920, in the Congress of Lushnja, of Qerimi’s father, the initiator of the Congress, Bajram Haxhiu, with the delegate of Matit, Ahmet Zogun, who with his forces secured the work of that Congress. Qerimi often visited the Albanian Royal Family at her residence in Alexandria, where he would always find her generous hospitality. Also during the summer season, Qerimi stayed at the residence of the Royal Albanian Family, where he taught Arabic (reading and writing) to the grandchildren of King Zog. Qerimi also had friendships with Abaz Kupi (Hero of the armed resistance of April 7, 1939 against fascist Italy) and with his son, Petrit Kupi, who were peers and close friends. Qerimi has volunteered to teach Albanian to Albanian children in Cairo, where he has also given lectures (3 times a week) to Albanian students at Cairo High School.
Visit to Albania in 1967
In 1967, almost three decades later, the Albanian emigrant Qerim Haxhiu, managed to obtain a visa (after overcoming numerous bureaucratic obstacles of the dictatorial communist regime), to visit for the first time his homeland, Albania, which was also the visit of first after going to study in Egypt in 1938. This would be his first and last visit to the homeland, he shared and remembered throughout his life. A touching moment of this visit, the patriot Qerim Haxhiu never forgot and about which he would tell: “From Tirana to Lushnje I have not stopped crying. When I arrived in Lushnje, the backyard was crowded. I met everyone with a lot of longing. When I entered the room where my father (Bajram Haxhiu) was staying, as soon as he saw me, he shouted: Qerim! And he fainted! It was not his fault that he had not seen me for 29 years! These are the impressions of this day that I will never forget. ” Qerim Haxhiu was married to Mrs. Shukrane, originally from Prishtina, but living in Cairo, the daughter of Dr. Shyqyri Çupishti, who was a surgeon and Director of the Vlora Hospital in 1933-‘35. Qerimi has left two children: a boy and a girl. The Illyrian son is a pharmacist working in the factory for the production of medicines (medicines) in Istanbul, Turkey, while the daughter Dhurata, Doctor of Chemistry, is a professor at Koç University in Turkey. Illyrians studied at Cairo University, while Dhurata studied at the American University. Qerim’s children not only speak and write fluently the Albanian language that his father taught them, but they also know some foreign languages.
The house of Qerim Haxhiu, a “little Albania” in Egypt
The house of the patriot Qerim Haxhiu in Egypt was a completely Albanian environment, but in foreign lands. His library was “an open door”, mainly for Albanian students studying in Cairo (originally from Albania, Kosovo, Albanians from Montenegro, Macedonia and Chameria), who often visited the well-known patriot and received books from his library or even consulted with him on various issues, mainly on Albanian issues. His rich library consisted of selected literature in several languages such as: Albanian, Turkish, Italian, English, French, etc. The main books in the library of the prominent patriot, Haxhiu, were those that told about the history of Albania and the Albanian national cause. On some of the shelves of Qerimi’s large library, there were almost all the books written by his favorite author, “Albanian Homer”, Padër Gjergj Fishta. Fishta’s books often brought him back to his homeland with his mind and heart, but without forgetting one of the special paintings for him, that of Guri Madhi, with which he brought out the goods for the homeland, which Qerim loved so much and had contributed immensely. on the Albanian national issue. Qerim Haxhiu was an erudite, but he could not give his contribution in Albania, because at that time, the communist regime of Enver Hoxha had “closed the doors” to intellectual personalities educated abroad and living and working in and abroad. However, he continued his patriotic activity in Egypt with his great contribution to the Albanian national cause.
“The Last Renaissance” in the Colony of Albanians in Egypt
Qerim Haxhiu is rightly considered the “Last Renaissance” in the Albanian Colony of Egypt. He passed away on January 1, 2003. Several pages have been written about Qerim Haxhiu in the book “Albanians of Egypt” (Author, Emin Azemi, Shkëlzen Halimi, Published, Logos-A, 1993 Skopje). Also, on the occasion of his death, in the newspaper “Illyria” (New York, 1209, January 21-23, 2003), an article was published by Prof. Beqir Ismaili, with the title “An activist of the Albanian diaspora also left this life: Qerim Haxhiu (1920-2003)”. In the International Scientific Conference “The Role of the Diaspora in State Formation”, Prizren, (10-13 June 2012) organized by the Ministry of Diaspora Kosovo, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Albanian State, an article was published about the great patriot Qerim Haxhiu. In the year of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the patriot (1920-2020), the Municipal Council of Lushnje with Decision No. 67 Dated 28/07/2020, decided to evaluate with the title “HONORARY CITIZEN OF LUSHNJA” Mr. Qerim Haxhiu (after death) , with the motivation: “Son of a very famous family from Lushnja, Mr. QERIM HAXHIU, remains a great patriot among the Albanian diaspora in the world. In distant Egypt, where he lived and worked, for almost 60 years he created a small Lushnja and Albania, did everything for the teaching and dissemination of our ancient language and exalted the beautiful moral and cultural values of our country “./Memorie.al