By Adil Biçaku
Memorie.al/ In this short article I want to show the efforts that His Highness, the late Leka I, King of the Albanians, has undertaken throughout his life, to save the Albanians from the savage Envero-Stalinist dictatorship.
One of these, very important, was the Assembly in Madrid. It was 1972. My family and I were in Mallorca, Spain, for the summer holidays. At the end of June 1972, I was called by the late Colonel Hysen Selmani, permanent adjutant of the N.M.T. Zogu I and also Leka I.
My wife and I met the Queen Mother, Colonel Hysen Selmani, Captain Qazim Preni, the King’s Secretary for Albanian Affairs Mr. Prof. Dr. Athanas Gegaj and Mr. Viktor Daragjati, on 17 May 1968. The King was not in Madrid that day. It was the day I got married in Madrid. My lady Julita, is Spanish from Segovia province.
From Madrid we went by train for our honeymoon to Alicante, We knew that M.T. was on holiday in Altea, a fishing town near Alicante, in southeastern Spain.
We foamed there and asked in a café if they knew the King of the Albanians. “Yes,” was the answer, “he comes here at one o’clock,” the bar owner told us. Here was the first meeting with King Leka I.
We went to Madrid every year-end, as for the Christmas and New Year holidays; we were guests of the Royal Court in Madrid. Nana Mbretëreshë Geraldinë, felt very pleased to have guests from Albania.
We had gone on holiday to the island of Mallorca in Spain. We also had a 3-year-old son, Nexhip. It was the last week of June 1972, when we were there. While we were at the hotel, Colonel Hysen Selmani called us and said: “Dear Adil, we need you to be here in Madrid, for a very important event. Do you have the usual equipment with you like the other times, the camera and the camera? “We need you as a journalist and a photographer.” Yes, I told him. “Then take the plane and come to Madrid,” Colonel Selmani told me.
Following this invitation, on June 26, 1972, we flew to Madrid, where I had my home. We resided in Franco Rodrigues Nr. 53. It was only 10 minutes away from each other. The next day we went to the King’s office located at Cuatro Caminos No.98. Colonel Selmani and the captain were there all the time. The colonel told us the reason for the call.
“He” – told us that the King – “has called all the leaders of political parties in exile and various organizations to find a way to liberate Albania from the communist dictatorship. You, Adil, will be the official photographer and filmmaker of the meeting”?
The king had invited all the leaders of the political parties in the diaspora, without any political distinction or attitude. Everyone responded to the call, with the exception of one party that stipulated its participation and another that criticized it. The party that did not participate and criticized it was what it was called: The ‘Balli Agrar’ party, whose chairman was Mr. Abaz Ermenji, based in France.
The other was Mr. Ismail Vërlaci (son of the former Albanian Prime Minister Shefqet Vërlaci), who represented the ‘Independent National Bloc’, who lived in Italy. Vërlaci had come to Madrid for a meeting with the King since the last week of June and he was trying to convince Lekë I not to allow the participation of the party ‘Albanian Heroism’, which was chaired by Mr. Ndue Pjetër Gjomarkaj. Vërlaci insisted that; ‘Albanian Heroism’, was not legitimate, because it had come out of the ‘Independent National Bloc’!
- Vërlaci stayed in Madrid for four days, with daily meetings with King Leka I, but His Majesty had clearly stated that; all political forces were welcome at that meeting, without any distinction. Make it clear to the king that; all political forces were welcomed without distinction and he continued not to drop a single thread on that issue. Vërlaci received only one release, to have a representative, who would be only as an observer. This was a student, Mr. Gjon Buçaj.
Here I will mention all the gentlemen who participated in that Assembly:
- The association ‘Vatra’ was represented by Mr. Hajdar Tonuzi who was also from the OKLL party. (National Organization Legal Movement)
- ACEN (Organization of Communist Slave Countries) and its chairman was Mr. Vasil Germenji.
- ‘The Second League of Prizren’ with Mr. Xhaferr Deva as chairman and Hamdi Kaloshi as secretary.
- OKLL (Party of Legality) honorary chairman Mr. Major Abaz Kupi, z. lawyer Selim Damani, chairman of OKLL, Mr. Fuad Muftia its secretary, Mr. Arif Fazo member of the National Council of OKLL.
- The party of ‘Balli Kombëtar’, Ali Këlcyra branch, chaired by Mr. Kadri Cakrani.
- The party of ‘Balli Kombëtar’, Hasan Dosti branch, was represented by Mr. Petraq Ktona.
- ‘Katundare Party’, chaired by Mr. Isa Ndreu and secretary Mr. Lec Shllaku.
- The party ‘Albanian Heroism’, chairman Mr. Ndue Pjetër Gjomarkaj.
- The party ‘Albanian Democratic Union’ with chairman Mr. Loro Stajka.
- The Observatory of the ‘Independent National Bloc’ Mr. Gjon Buçaj.
The delegates arrived two or three days earlier and were accommodated at the CISCO Hotel in central Madrid, which was booked by the Royal Court.
The meeting day schedule was very punctual. There were vacations, lunch, visits to historical sites, etc. An impressive visit was that of Toledo. An entertaining night was also reserved in a typical bar with Spanish folklore: “NOCE DE FLAMENCO”, Flamenco dance / dance night. This was on July 2, in the evening. On the 3rd at 19.00, a press conference was given, for many journalists of foreign countries.
9:00 Opening of the Assembly
Just before 9:00 a.m., July 2, comes the N.M.T. Leka I, accompanied by Colonel Mr. Hysen Selmani and Captain, Qazim Preni. Entered the hall of Hotel ‘Ciso’ where all the delegates were waiting around a large table and in an armchair in front of the table, were Mr. Prof. Dr. Athanas Gegaj and I, Adil Bicaku, assigned to reflect with photos and footage of that very important and unique event for the Albanian diaspora.
When the King and his entourage entered, they all stood up and greeted the N.M.T. Leka I. The king delivered a short speech, but very concrete and meaningful. After the speech He wished us good talks and said: GOD BE WITH US. After that, the King and the adjutants left.
The meeting as usual started according to the pre-prepared program. Delegates elected the president of the meeting. In respect of the Albanian Province of Kosovo, Mr. Ing was elected president of the meeting. Xhaferr Deva. While the secretary of the assembly, Mr. Lec Shllaku. As chairman of the Joint National Council of the Albanian political diaspora in the US, was elected, Mr. Masar Pustina, doctor and military man during the reign of Zog.
The talks lasted two days. Many decisions were taken in the spirit of a joint effort for Ethnic Albania with the occupied Albanian Provinces, Kosovo and Chameria. Among other things, it was decided to establish a joint New York-based national council. The Assembly finished its work on July 3 at 18:30.
The Speaker of the Assembly, Mr. Xhaferr Deva, thanked the delegates with touching words for their participation and fruitful talks towards the right national goals, as well as for the trust given to him and Mr. to chair the meeting. Lec Shllaku.
On July 3, at 20:00, we were invited to dinner by Her Majesty, Queen Nana, Geraldina. The dinner was very successful and with a very happy atmosphere.
Around 23:00, when we were going to leave the house, after we had finished dinner, N.M.T. Leka I and Nana Mbretneshë, thanking us for our patriotism, which appeared during the talks in the assembly for the benefit of ETHNIC ALBANIA and ALBANIANS and in parting: “TEN GOD to see them free ETHNIC ALBANIA – with KOSOVO” and .
I took a lot of pictures and filmed both days as well as in the places we visited.
Albanian National Army in Madrid
As a result of the decisions of the Assembly of Madrid, in the N.M.T. Leka I, I think of a concrete plan. He traveled everywhere in the democratic countries of the world where there were Albanians, to test their desire and readiness, to respond with the boys of the diaspora, to form the nucleus of a National Army.
The king married on October 10, 1978, the late Susanne Culleneard, who received the title of Queen. I had the privilege and honor of being the official photographer and filmmaker of the Royal wedding, which became a manor somewhere outside Madrid, called Iliescu. At the time, General Franco was ill.
The wedding was magnificent and there were Albanians from all over the world. But in the meantime, Nana Mbretneshë was signaled that people from the Albanian embassy in France were there. Some guys from the US wanted to beat them up and kick them out, but Queen Nana advised them not to. “And they are my Albanians,” she said very kindly! How big a heart she had, as if she were a saint!
After a few months, the King started from the premeditated plans. He already had Queen Susan by his side to help him. The king called on parties and organizations in all states to send the boys to the army to be formed in Madrid. By 1976, many Albanian boys had applied to be soldiers of the homeland. The center was chosen outside Madrid, in a municipality called Pozuelo. There the King bought a manor with a large dwelling and all this, thanks to the King of Iran, Rezah Pahlev, who financed it.
The army began to take the form of a regular army. There were the flags of Albania, Spain and America, of all those countries where the boys had come from, to do training and to create the nucleus of an Albanian National Army. There were specialist instructors, who had participated in various countries of the world where there had been crises and armed conflicts. From Stockholm, the following boys left: Xhaferr Elezi, Kujtim Berisha, Selim (Jahuz) Kuçi and Ramazan Selami. There were boys in the army, from almost all Western countries, even from Kosovo.
The army continued with preparations for war, training in various disciplines. The creation of an army in a NATO country was a great courage and it had to face only cleverness and diplomacy, which was not lacking at all to King Leka I. Unfortunately, at that time, General Caudillo Francisco Franco, had passed away. As a result, Spain came under great international pressure, where Josif Broz Tito, began to organize various states in order to put pressure on the Spanish government, as he was afraid of raising awareness of the Kosovo issue. The leader of Yugoslavia at that time, Josif Broz Tito, knew that King Leka I, like Zogu I, had the issue of Ethnic Albania in the foreground and for him, he did not make any concessions or compromises.
Make no mistake, at that time; two years after Franco’s death, the Socialists in power had come to Spain. The King of Spain, Juan Carlos, had a friendship with our King and among other things; they were of the same age. But with all his kindness, Juan Carlos could not withstand the all-out pressure even though he felt sorry for our King. The Spanish government demanded that King Leka I leave Spain. Thus, the Minister of Interior gave him 7 days deadline, so that the King could get his people, all the materials and weapons and military arsenal.
Here I want to mention, that our King had different types of weapons. He had a license for everything because he was a specialist in military technique and a specialist in combat incursions, both offensive and defensive. King Lek I also served as military adviser to the President of South Vietnam, General Thiu. Based on this, the King went to Vietnam during the civil war that took place there. The King was also an arms collector, and at his headquarters at Cuatro Caminos 98, Madrid, there was a museum-shaped room with various weapons, dating back to the middle Ages.
As a specialist in martial arts and piloting, weapon manufacturers in various countries around the world forgave any new weapons they produced, and from this, he had a large arsenal of weapons. But this became a problem when it came time to transport weapons, when they would leave Spain. But according to the Albanian tradition: “The Albanian refuses to disarm”, have the intended effect. Here the N.M.T. intervened, Juan Carlos who offered our King a plane to take the soldiers, the family and all the armaments, and leave Spain. That’s how it was done. In 1979, (January 31) Our King left Spain, where he had lived since 1962, a year after the separation from the life of the N.M.T. The First Bird.
Here I want to specify that; for the weapons that the King was accused of in Africa, (and which was banned for several days), came as a result of the malice of some governments of neighboring states. King Leka I has had an arsenal of licensed weapons since King Zog I was alive. The destination of King Leka I, was Rhodesia, which was in civil war and so the King and our sons, took place in the guerrilla war in Rhodesia. The Stockholm boys have told me that; it was a very valuable preparation as a professional army. King Leka and the Thai colonel conducted exercises in the jungles of Africa.
After the English withdrew from Rhodesia, it was renamed Zimbabwe and at that time, King Leka with his soldiers, went to South Africa. As world politics took a different turn, then the army of our King Leka I, was forced to disperse. So after a while in South Africa, the boys left, going through their places where they had been before.
With this short story, I want to show and inform together my Albanian patriots, wherever they are, that: King Leka I, has worked and fought, risking his life, to liberate Albania from the tyrannical Stalinist anti-national regime of Enver Hoxha. I, who made this short story about an era that has passed, have been all the time informed, eyewitness and present, in many events it happened in Spain, since 1968, continuing in all the events after the departure of the King from Europe. He often came to France, because he had his headquarters at Colonel Ylli Spahia. We met there again in August 1990, when the family was returning from vacation in Malaga, Spain.Memorie.al