Memorie.al/publishes the unknown speech of Ismail Qemal Vlora held in front of the parish of the city of Vlora in February 1913, where he among other things explains to his fellow citizens and through the press all Albanians, and why he decided to come to Albania to declare Independence, all the reasons and reasons how he was prevented from raising the flag in the city of Durrës and was forced to come and raise in Vlora, the formation of his cabinet, why he was forced to include Esat Pasha Toptan in his cabinet and the requests that Pasha Toptanas presented to him with points, the help and support of various European states, relations with neighbors, starting from the Slavs, Greeks, Italians, etc., the issue of Kosovo that was and should be remained Albanian, etc., until the echo of the act of declaring Independence in the press and news agencies of different countries of the world!
Today, November 28 of this month, marks the 108th anniversary of the day marked, when Ismail bej Qemali, or otherwise known in the history of our nation, as the wise old man of Vlora, raised the national flag and declared the independence of Albania, proclaimed the independent Albanian state. About that distant event, which is rightly considered as one of the most significant days in the history of Albania, has already been written and spoken by many local authors, as well as by scholars, historians, publicists and foreign albanologists.
Unlike the event of November 28, 1912, the period of the government of the cabinet of Vlora, headed by Ismail Qemali, which lasted until January-February 1914, as well as all the vicissitudes that the first Albanian cabinet went through until that time, are less known and thus that period of time has created a vacuum in the historiography of Albania. Based on this fact, in this article we are publishing the speech given by Ismail bej Qemali in October 1913, where he talked for several hours with a representative of the citizens of Vlora, recounting all the vicissitudes he went through to come to raising the flag on November 28, 1912, the formation of his cabinet, the critical situation in which Albania was at that time, the betrayal of Esat Pasha and the release he made to the city of Shkodra, handing it over to the Montenegrins, the conversation of with Pasha Toptanas and why he was forced to include him as a cabinet member !.
As well as all the efforts made by his cabinet during those 11 months of government to lay the foundations of the consolidation of the new Albanian state that he had proclaimed independent and the plans that Ismail made as prime minister had for the future of this country. This conversation of Ismail bej Qemali with his compatriots from Vlora, which is published for the first time during these 108 years, Memorie.al is publishing it in full in the dialect and written language of those years, making only a few brief explanations.
Speech of Ismail Qemali in Vlora in October 1913
Gentlemen! Please feel that I made you wait for me but I have to tell you good news brought to me by Mr. Koshull (consul) of Austria, with whom I have spoken so far. This news will reward the effort that the receivers have been waiting for so far. Mr. Kushull informed me that the Serbs were removed from all the areas they had occupied recently and even these days they will be removed from those two areas where they are still. I hope that soon I will give you good news that the Greeks were removed from the areas determined to remain in Albania. I wanted to mature with you and tell you what the government does and does not do to this day and why some deeds were done that probably should not have been done. It is now eleven months since we are living under the shadow of the flag of free Albania. Today, for a long time, when foreigners violated all parts of Albania, it is as if, without any objection, we, the sons of this country, had only one task left; to try to form a government, which by keeping free the areas that had not yet fallen under the rule of foreigners, to try and raise our voice for the salvation of other areas and for the rights of the Albanian Nation.
Ismail Qemali: The people of Durrës did not understand us!
I, without power, with a group of friends all connected with one mind, came here to Vlona, not as in my place, but as in a center where the work and the goal for which we were striving could be completed. We intended to live in Durrës, the work we did here; but when they set foot in that city, without the meaning of the Durrës people, they gave us to know that such a job could not be finished there. the salvation of the Motherland, they answered us: “You are traitors, you seek the loss of the homeland, the destruction of the kingdom; you lie that Turkey did not lose and does not lose; “The Turkish army has occupied many Bulgarian cities and is now returning to Serbia.”
How can we fill the heads of these people? So, we were forced to say goodbye, God bless them, and we left for Vlona. The next day we arrived here, without hesitation we raised the sacred flag of freedom. The great goal and desire were to see Albania free with its administration with its own canons and customs. So, we supported the invited delegates from all over Albania, proclaimed the freedom of the nation and elected the government, which tried to protect the rights of the Homeland. I was elected chairman of this government without any objection, giving me the right, as a rule, to elect the members of the government. I did not politicize this right of mine by wishing that the rulers, all be elected by the messengers of the people. Congress granted this wish and elected other members of the faith to work with me. It is possible that from then until today the government does not do some things that should have been done, or does some other things poorly; if you are sure it worked that way you could not behave differently. A work of great value cannot be denied to our government, holding high the flag of freedom. Is this an important job? No doubt! In addition, you should note the efforts made by the government to keep the poor from suffering. When Europe was deciding its fate, we lived in this closed city, without any relationship with the outside world and without knowing how to begin our cause. It is easy to understand, then, that it is in our best interest to go out and fight for our rights at stake. We found a way out, we dualized and first of all we tried to open the block, which surrounded Vlona and which had brought so much pressure to the people of these areas, that despite all the measures of the government, the people were very afraid the next day. Outside we understood how even who had strived for the good of this country.
“Kosovo has been and will be Albanian”
After it was decided to become an Albania, the issue of the southern borders was under discussion because from the north and northeast the conference had given the death sentence to Kosovo and Dibra. Undoubtedly, it was the former duty of the Government to try not to be any Albanian outside Albania. But, unfortunately, we were not prepared enough and although Austria kept 1 million soldiers on its feet, and Italy tried in every way and England had to protect us but, in order not to start a European war, it was forced to slaughter us. Indeed, the great Powers of Europe know this horror, and it should be a relief to our misfortune. We must not lose hope; we must always keep in mind that Kosovo has been and will be Albanian. For the borders of the South, as you know well, you cannot escape the pieces that from Ftela down we are forced to enjoy the part that is from Ftelea to Korça. Now another problem that remained to be solved was that of the government of Albania. Europe was not assured that we, the Albanians, would be able to rule our country. Therefore, we thought that we needed a moral force, which would help the government of Albania with advice and an agreement. permanent on both sides. Europe’s goal cannot have a cause only for our good: yes, a control as soft and ornate as it is called, since it comes from the world’s opinion about the inability of the Albanians to govern themselves, we feel which are not very satisfactory for the Albanian who loves the moral happiness of Albania, This help is the control commission.
“Why did you put Esat Pasha in government”
It remained to confess that we are connected and we will never be separated, but the turmoil, which has long since calmed the unity of all Albanians, came this time to disturb the peace which was barely born. This danger came from Shkodra. This city, which was surrounded by Serbs and Karadaks, brought the work to the point that Europe, in order to repel the enemies, sent a fleet of ours with a great power of stereo, to implement its decision, i.e. that Shkodra be the capital of Albania. Unfortunately, at this very moment, Esat Pasha surrenders the city to the occupiers (those who had surrounded it). Our world marveled; no one expected this matter to receive such an unbelievable pound. This event hurt us so much that it could not be told orally, but with all this we endured, wanting to cover the guilt of the guilty to save the honor of the Albanian, we said that Shkodra fell because the army was weakened, since the scarcity of food (hunger) caused great misery. Duall then other confusions caused by that man. As commander of the Turkish army, Esat Pasha asked for conditions (conditions), which, as Albanians, out of shame, we dare not show. Then we exchanged many telegrams with him. Without going to Europe, he came to Vlona without any conditions. I told him about the danger in which Albania is today, I told him what the enemies say about us, and what doubts there is in that part of Europe that loves us well, about the aftermath of Albania, I told the square that his demands, in the way they have shown, treat a halal proof of the guilt that Europe throws at us, reminding us that we will never be united. Please wholeheartedly remove from the hands of the enemies that weapon against Albania and the suspicion of the friends for the Albanians. With all that said, Pasha proved obedient and we decided to step into the cabinet. He asked for the ministry of the army, neither I wanted nor could I give it to him since Mr. Mehmet Pasha (Derralla), from Kosovo, was elected by the national congress. I had only the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which I left to Mr. Mufi Bey, who was removed to leave the Ministry of Interior to Pasha. After this appointment he got up and went to Europe and, on his return, without spending much time with us, he left for Durrës. At the moment when two international commissions entered Albania to determine the borders from the North and from the South, and when Europe started to draw from the territories that it recognized and will recognize Albania, Serbia and Greece, n At that time, Esat Pasha again came out to disturb the peace of poor Albania and the goodwill of Europe; as Minister of the Interior, he rebelled against his government, demanding things that were and are against the interests of the Homeland at this time.
“What did Esat Pasha ask me?”
What did Esat Pasha ask for? 1. The current capital of Albania to be raised from Vlona and widowed in Durrës. 2. The ministers of the present government to give up and in their vent, Pasha with me to make a new cabinet. 3. To convene a national meeting, which will be held accountable by the old government and cooperate with the new government. As for the government going to Durrës, you understand very well what your purpose was. Most of the ministers who are here today have been elected by the people and it is not up to me or Pasha to remove them. Can a national assembly be convened in Albania when half of the territory of Albania is in the hands of foreigners and when the majority of Albanians cannot participate in the assembly? Or we need to say today that what is left of Albania and the Albanians reaches us because that is how Esat Pasha loves him. Think about this job and tell me. But when we thought and wondered about this unjustified behavior of Esad Pasha, the issue of Dibra and Gjakova came up, which raised the curtain of this mystery a little. It seems that the Serbs intended to confuse the areas of upper Albania again and drown the poor Albanians in blood. He oppressed them so badly, he made them so wicked, that out of desperation, men, women, sought death as the only salvation from disgrace, kidnapping and murder. Our Dibra, as much as they could, rose and fell to the Serbs, who were few in number, were removed to return with greater power so as not to leave a foot in Albania and prove to the necessary Europe abduction of the divided Albania as Esat Pasha had shown, before. Because of this, there are 150,000 homeless Albanians today, with their hands tied, we do not know how to help them as brothers we have. Yes, today, we have a joy from the news I gave you at the top of my speech, because Albania was liberated from the Serbian army and these poor Albanians will be able to return to their country. Today, Albania, so poisonous and torn by that Esat Pasha lives a government in Durrës; Shkodra in the wind and all the areas from Himara to Korça, in the hands of the Greeks, all these are poisonous things (bitter things), and make us think about how this work will start. We have always thought and continue to think about how to connect all Albanians and how to strengthen Albania. For this, without escaping Esat Pasha, we made a canon, (regulation by law), which was accepted with little objection. In this canon you will see if I want to divide Albania or I want to divide it and unite it more.
The issue of Albania’s self-government and the issue of the bank
The government of Albania until the day of its freedom has been after the pleasure of Turkey, not after the needs of the country. Turkey has never tried to win and advance Albania, but always to lose and hinder it. As an example, are the divisions of sanjaks and kazas, which had no other purpose, but since the Albanian did not come forward, since every verge of giving was sent to break in Istanbul and outside Albania. Now that God has given us freedom and we have an Albania not for foreigners but for Albanians, it is necessary to give this Albanian Albania a completely national government, better all Albanians. Our work for the government of Albania would be very easy if we did not have in front of us these confusions, which come some from the evil of some people, some from the nature of some events without the will of anyone. We have the government of Vlora with all the Laberia and the Sandzaks of Berat and Elbasan from the part of Albania that had remained free until today, they are in our hands and we have put them on the road as best we can. Durrës, with all its kazat (localities), which until yesterday was under our rule, was divided because of one man, as I told you a little while ago. Shkodra is almost in the wind. An international commission (commission), formed by the admirals of the Six Great Powers, governs from the day it was taken from Montenegro until the day before when the admirals left and the tranquility of the city was left in the hands of the stere army of the Great Powers. Today we must think about the government of all Albania. Our thought, our desire is not to divide and divide Albania, but to strengthen it by connecting and uniting all parts of Albania under a strong and national central government. For this reason, we tried hard and with a lot of objections, we made and established an organic canon which you will see and judge in the ashes for the division or unification of Albania.
“Freedom of Albania” in Sofia published the news of European newspapers
Echo of the declaration of independence of Albania in the foreign press
The event of November 28, 1912, when the wise old man, Ismail Qemali, raised the flag in Vlora, declaring the independence of Albania, had a great echo not only in the four vilayets of Albania, most of which at that time were under occupation of foreign armies, but also in many European countries. Among other things, this is made known by some of the few newspapers that were published in the Albanian language at that time in Albania and in some other countries, where there was a colony of Albanians. One of those newspapers that at that time published the echo that Albania’s declaration of independence had in Europe, was “Freedom of Albania”, which was published in Sofia, Bulgaria by the colonial patriot, Kristo Luarasi. We have detached from that newspaper and are publishing some foreign press releases, which we are publishing (making only a few linguistic changes) in this article.
Rome 15. The agency “Stefani” receives this article, from Vlora, with the date: “Albanian delegates gathered in a house here under the chairman ‘Ismail Qemali, declared today, the autonomy of Albania. The Albanian flag was raised in the middle of the general joy of the people, who filled the streets and made large demonstrations in front of the consulates of Austria and Italy Rome 16. Agency “Stefani” reports from Vlora: After the declaration of self-government of Albania, the meeting delegates elected an interim government: chairman Ismail Qemali, Muslim, vice-president, Nikola Kaçorri from Durrës and secretary Luigj Gurakuqi, the Albanian flag was hoisted over the Vlora inn and all Albanian houses, after receiving the news that Serbs had entered Durrës and Elbasan, where autonomy had been declared, Ismail Qemali wrote (sent a telegram, our note), in these cities not to oppose the Serbian army, because Albania is now considered an impartial country, which the Great Powers will thus protect as other Balkan nations advocate. Vienna, 16. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was informed by the head of the Albanian interim government Ismail Qemali who says:
“The national meeting formed by Albanian delegates from all over Albania, without change of religion, gathered today in Vlora, declared the self-government of Albania and formed an interim government which was charged to protect the rights and being of the Albanian nation and to liberate the place by the entrances of the armies of the neighboring kingdoms. After announcing the above, your Excellency, I have the honor to ask the government of the LMT Emperor and the King to recognize this change in the political life of the Albanian nation, which enters the ranks of the nations of Europe, among which ay he has the honor of being the eldest and pursuing only one goal: To be at peace with all the kings of the Balkans and to become one (equally, our note), with them. I believe that the government of L. M. T. the Emperor and the King, as well as the whole civilized world will gladly welcome the Albanian nation and will protect it from anything that frightens its ‘nation’ and will be against the partition of Albania. “It is reported from Rome that such a call was also sent to the foreign affairs mission of Italy and San Giuliano”.
Letter from Durrës
(Serbs and the self-government of Albania)
On the 20th of this morning, the Serbs arrived in Cetin by a large majority, and after taking Karadak, Leshi (Lezha, our note), left Montenegro there, crossed the coast of Matje and the day before yesterday entered Krue (Kruja), with honor without doing any dam. Today, a delegation consisting of Mr. was sent from Durrës. Ali Kuli and Filip Serreqi and some others whose names I do not know.
They also took with them the flag of self-governing Albania, which he did with the advice of Mr. Ismail Qemal bey, who came here these days and I go to Vlora together with some other gentlemen like Luigj Gurakuqi with friends to raise the flag of self-governing Albania. The Serbs came with great speed to Durrës; but I cannot write to you any longer for today that Durrës is closing and the post office is leaving quickly, today I have a week to write to you anyway./Memorie.al
Durrës, 27.XI.1912. “Shqipnia”