By Idriz Lamaj
From the works of the apostles of ethnic Albania
In light of his own letters and other diaspora revelations
Memorie.al/ Probably like many others, I often browse letters with my friends and associates, who are no longer in this life. Browsing through them, for a moment unfolds memories that it seems to me that some of them can serve our history. Then, I return to the awareness of the current difficult situation in the ethnic homeland, caused by the quadruple of Albanian politics, I say to myself: “What can my memories of others or the letters of the people of dead?”
Without being the ominous instigator of pessimism, thinking as always of a better future, I return to my obligations to my friends, and as an icy observer of time, without any claim of historical service, when I am given the opportunity of publication, write what I have in mind, always based on their writings and letters. This principle is also followed in this book about Xhafer Deva. I knew Xhafer Deva in person; we exchanged visits and had a strong correspondence.
I spent days off at his house and inherited all of Xhafer Deva’s correspondence with Rexhep Krasniqi, his closest friend, for more than 40 years. After many years, I talked on the phone with Mrs. Deva’s daughter and son-in-law. In the conversation going on, taking advantage of the old friendship, I asked about his letters and they informed me that it was all Qefali Hamdia, a friend of their family.
In June of last year (2001) I went to Kenosha, Wisconsin, a guest of Qefali Hamdia, to look at Xhafer Deva’s correspondence, which Mrs. Deva sent her years ago, when she, due to her advanced age, was closed his house to go to the house of his 5th daughter and son-in-law, Mrs. Burgl Dagmar and Rev. Dennis Logie.
After reading the bulk of the letters, in the languages I knew, I took with me more than a thousand pages of his correspondence, covering a period of over 30 years, 1945 – 1978. Xhafer Deva spoke and wrote seven – eight languages. His correspondence is: Albanian, English, German, Italian, French, Turkish and Serbian. Xhafer Deva’s letters and writings, with the exception of those in Old Turkish and Serbian in Cyrillic, are mostly typewritten, well-kept, and alphabetically arranged, with the persons he dealt with.
That includes his family letters. He carefully kept a copy of every letter he sent and every letter he received. Mrs. Oswalda Deva, daughter Burgl, son-in-law Dennis Logie and Mr. Qefali Hamdia with family, expressed his heartfelt thanks for the trust they gave me. With special gratitude I recall here the help given to me by my brothers – Captain Nue Gjomarkaj and Nikoll Gjomarkaj, in the preparation of one of the most important chapters of this book.
Kapidan Nou, in addition to making available the subject on Xhafer Deva’s relations with the ‘Independent National Bloc’ and sending paratroopers to Albania and Kosovo, reviewed with me each document of that period, and we formulated the text in the form of a conversation; while Nicholas, deciphered the letters, transcribed and translated from Italian, the unpublished materials to date, which were published in this chapter.
Continues from the last number
Xhafer Deva’s life and activity in exile
– Kosovo in the time of Ethnic Albania –
Xhafer Deva in the light of his own letters
In the United States.
This article also calls on political parties to celebrate the 28th of November holiday with the ‘League of Prizren’ and “not separately”. If you look closely at this article, to tell the truth, it does not matter what the political parties gave and the reaction they made. One of the main reasons is that the article is not clear at all and is written in a rather vague way. Apparently the terms Resolution and the National Liberation Council refer to the Bujanovac Conference because it coincides with its developed dates, which Albanian nationalists saw only as an attempt by some communists to justify their close relations with the Yugoslavs during World War II World.
Representatives of political parties urgently gathered in the office of the “Free Albania” Committee and expressed their deep concern over this article. Chairman of the Committee, Dr. Krasniqi tried to convince party representatives that the article was of no concern, and that Deva would clarify her views in Congress, which was on the verge of development. Despite his best efforts, he failed to persuade them to keep quiet. Finally, in order to maintain solidarity with the parties, in their presence he compiled this letter which he signed together with the others:
President of the Congress of the “League of Prizren in Exile”, Honorable Ladies and Gentlemen, Na: We bring you the most fraternal greetings and heartfelt wishes for the success of this Second Congress of the ‘League of Prizren in Exile’.
The “Free Albania” Committee and the Albanian nationalist political organizations have sympathetically followed the line and activity of this ‘Kosovo Movement in Exile’ and wished your enterprise to be crowned with the greatest success in realizing the high ideals inspired by the Congress. History of the League of Prizren in 1878, which resounded with the decisive proclamation of the immortal motto “Ethnic Albania”, a motto repeated and approved at the First Congress of the ‘League of Prizren in Exile’ in 1966, based on its Statute. In such crucial moments that the Albanian nation crosses today, here and there unjust borders, the Committee “Free Albania”, Albanian Organizations and Political Parties have followed and will follow with perseverance and full confidence their programs and which are summarized in one word sacred: Ethnic Albania.
We have fought and will fight for an ethnic Albania, regardless of the circumstances and national unity, no matter how much power or prestige its obstacles have in the world. We have followed and will follow with great attention and understanding the internal efforts of the Kosovo Albanians for the greatest possible rights within the statutory conditions of Yugoslavia and for beneficial evolutionary developments, but we will not accept and, even, will not we become the inspirer of any disintegration that does not recognize the right of the Albanian population in Yugoslavia to self-determination for a union with mother Albania. The minimalist programs of a seventh socialist republic can be discussed and argued in Kosovo, as a temporary need to ease the pressure of the Serbian centralist bureaucracy, but never as a natural disintegration, especially by those lucky enough to live in the free world. .
The so-called historic decisions of the “national liberation” of Albania or Yugoslavia, taken as the basis for the outbreak of the ethnic problem in Yugoslavia, are deceptive maneuvers to prepare the Slavic captive in the Albanian population in Yugoslavia that has been accepted without any opposition by the traitorous regime. In this sense, we wish all the best to the Second Congress of the “League of Prizren in Exile”, to faithfully preserve the traditional principles of the ‘Historical League of Prizren’ and the Constitution of the “League of Prizren in Exile” for a Free ethnic Albania.
Signatures. To: OKLL, Dr. Fuat Myftia, Asllan Zeneli and Ragip Lohja; for BKI, Dr. Ismail Vërlaci, Ing. Ago Agaj and Tahir Kolgjini; for the Committee “Free Albania” Dr. Rexhep Krasniqi and Ing. Vasil Gërmenji.
The letter was approved by the branches of Balli Kombëtar of Dosti’s group, Halim Begeja and the Albanian Democratic Union led by Isa Ndreu. Finally, the congressional date is approaching and Xhafer Deva is coming to New York, on November 23rd.
The first night was spent by his friend Hysen Pllana. The next day he came to the office of the “Free Albania” Committee, to be specifically informed about the reaction of the political parties and the situation created. After lunch, he booked a room at the Commodore Hotel, 42 Str. “Lexington Ave”, where the Congress took place. He did not use the reserved room at all, although he stayed in New York for nine days. Xhafer Deva looked tired and upset. The concern was ingrained in his mind for two reasons:
After the plans he had made to leave the presidency, against his will, he was once again the Chairman of the League.
And, as he said, “If we had agreed in time, everything would have ended without an overnight stay.” The tense situation among the members, gathered in New York for the development of the Congress, disturbed Deva greatly. Many of the League branches (about 12 of them in the US and Europe) knew nothing about the crisis their organization was going through. The leadership of the League was divided into two groups, the “moderate” and those who followed the “old” course, led by Deva. Xhafer Deva rises to the podium and announces the opening of the ‘League’ Congress .After a short greeting speech; he read the response letter to the Albanian political parties in exile:
Honest Lord. First of all, through this letter I would like to express my personal thanks to the members of the ‘League of Prizren in Exile’ for your heartfelt letter and the fraternal greetings you addressed to the Second Congress of this organization. Regarding the unpleasant event of the Proclamation in the notebook ‘Dielli’, dated November 3, 1971, he made a mistake in the name of the “League of Prizren in Exile”, through which it is requested that the Albanian nationalist political organizations in exile, support the idea of an Albanian Socialist Republic, within the framework of the Federal Socialist Republics of Yugoslavia, I attach the honor to present the letter directed by this Congress, to be published in the historical journal ‘The Sun’.
This letter was compiled in the spirit of the statement made by the Presidency of the League in the presence of all representatives of the Albanian diaspora and was repeated on the first day of the Assembly of the ‘League of Prizren in Exile’, at the Hotel “Comodore” , in New York, dated November 26, 1971. This spirit, as can be seen, is clearly reflected in the attached letter sent for publication in the notebook ‘The Sun’ in Boston, Mass. Finally, I would like to emphasize once again that the ‘League of Prizren in Exile’ will continue to maintain fraternal relations with all Albanian nationalist political organizations in exile in full compliance with its Constitution, which specifically emphasizes this point. In this sense and with unwavering conviction that the Albanian Nation in its tansy, sooner or later, will be liberated from the double tyranny of the Slavs and communists, I remain with special honors. Xhafer Deva.
After the applause, from the end of the hall, there is a reaction and noise. Deva with a harsh tongue calls for keeping calm. For two days, Congress ran smoothly but quite coldly. Despite the free reports and debates of League officials and the speeches of representatives of political parties, the Second Congress did not take place in as enthusiastic and emotional form as the First Congress. Secretary Berisha, after reading the report of the activity of the ‘League’ between the two congresses, publicly accepted the responsibility for the announcement in the newspaper ‘Dielli’. He assured the audience that he would give his help for the progress of the ‘League’ and left the hall of Congress. His sudden departure caused a deep chill in the hall. At the Second Congress of the ‘League’, Kalosh Hamdia played an important role in mitigating the controversy created around the publication of the article in question.
He agreed to run for mayor, without agreement with Deva. Hamdia writes to Deva (December 6) a four-page letter, with detailed explanations about the course of events, before the opening of the Congress. He says he had arrived in New York two days before Congress and had tried to get in touch with him immediately. Hamdia also states that, at all times, he was accompanied by Ismet Berisha, and Ismet had informed him of all the preliminary preparations of the Congress. As after this letter, Ismet had expressed to him the only concern, about the possibility of any criticism against Deva by Hysen Tërpeza. He states: “… A few hours before the opening of the Congress, I heard some whispers from my friends, that You would not lead the League for health reasons, so I put up the candidacy for President, so as not to leave my friends in the mud at a time critical “.
As per Hamdis’s letter, he would lead the ‘League’ until a suitable chairman was found. Hamdia closes the letter, assuring Deva that there was no conspiracy against him and the political line of the ‘League’. At the end of the letter he states that he was satisfied with the successful conclusion of the Congress, and the results would be even more successful if Deva met with him and Ismet, before the opening of the Congress. In his correspondence are also some letters of Krasniqi and Lamaj, about the return of Ismet to the previous position. They write to Deva that Ismet was the only person who could reactivate the League’s activity. Meanwhile, the friend of Deva and Berisha, Dr. Halim Begeja, writes to Deva, regarding this issue: “Is Ismeti should not be blamed for the behavior of Vendresha in the League. If he (Vendresha) has manipulated the ‘League’, which I am convinced, Ismet is not guilty, he is an honest, energetic man and only he can keep alive the activity of the League in the center of the world, in New York, returning to the position of Secretary General “(10/3/1972).
After a few months, Deva wrote to Berisha and asked him to return to the post of Secretary General, emphasizing that Kalosh Hamdia also demanded his return. Ismet Berisha, returns to the previous position after two-three months, and in a way, the political crisis of the League ends. After the Congress ended, Deva spent a few days in New York preparing the press issue. In those days he also prepared the letter addressed to the newspaper “Dielli”: An explanation from the “League of Prizren in Exile”. Mr. Editor, On the second page of the notebook ‘Dielli’, dated November 3, 1971 – vol. 63 / No.38, an announcement was published on behalf of the ‘League of Prizren in Exile’, in which, among other things, an appeal was made to the Albanian Nationalist Political Parties in Exile, to support the efforts of the Organization in exile, in relation to with the eventual summary of the entire Albanian population in Yugoslavia, in one: ALBANIAN SOCIALIST REPUBLIC, WITHIN THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA.
The announcement in question had rightly caused deep dissatisfaction among the political diaspora in New York, which appeared in a joint letter of theirs, personally delivered to the Chairman of the ‘League of Prizren in Exile’, Mr. Xhafer Deva. The latter, in a wide meeting of the representatives of the groups in question, expressed his personal regret and that of the Organization which presides over this unpleasant event, and I promise that I will present their letter to the Second Congress of the League of Prizren in Mergim ‘, which was under development. On the first day of the Congress, in the presence of representatives of Albanian nationalist political parties, the President read the letter and at the same time stated that the Announcement of the ‘League of Prizren in Exile’, published in Boston’s famous notebook, ‘The Sun’, was compiled and published without the knowledge and authorization of the Chairman and the Executive Council of the League.
On this he underlined the fact that the Proclamation is in flagrant contradiction with the lofty national goals and with Article Two of the Statute of the ‘League of Prizren in Exile’, which among other things literally states: “Relying on the historical ideal of the ‘League of Prizren ‘, of the summary of the Albanian Nation in a single, free and independent state, in an ethnic Albania… “The plenary session of the Congress, with frantic and unanimous applause, supported the statements of the President, which forces the cause of the above announcement, to follow the leaks of his misconduct and withdrew from the ranks of the “League of Prizren in Exile” (I). I pray that this explanation is published in the notebook you are directing, I remain with special honors, Xhafer Deva, President of the ‘League of Prizren in Exile’. New York, December 10, 1971 (1).
The word was withdrawn from the ranks of the ‘League of Prizren’, refers to Shemsedin Vendresha. In those days, before and after the Congress, Xhafer Deva, although tired and upset, also had a sense of humor. I remember the lunch hours in the office of the “Free Albania” Committee, when he was harassing Krasniqi. During those days he stayed in New York, he spent three or four nights at my house. In the evenings, when we returned from the city (Mohattan), he would talk to my father Shpend and uncle Alush, who had stayed in the mountains of Albania for several years, without surrendering to the communist regime. Hasan Isuf Zherka, my uncle, who lived near us, was also present in the conversations.
Hasan recounted events of World War I and the time he had served in the Austrian army. Deva followed the conversation with attention and pleasure, and from time to time entered into long conversations of the Second World War. Their conversations did not impress me much. After he started to know his uncle’s temperament, he also teased him on my back: “Baci Alush, to this young boy, our conversations seems like fairy tales; how does he give importance to our conversation, because he has read (read) some 50 books of Enver Hoxha”. Uncle replied nervously: “You can see the hair of Enver’s books as others have seen it”. Memorie.al
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