The man in love with Peace
*(Gandhi of Balkans - Ibrahim Rugova)

Friendship threshold
The writer Shefki Hysa, my friend, is like magicians. He has the ability to realize everything that passes in his mind. Believe me, you just have to stay with him for some time, as I have stayed and you will be convinced that he do not know to lose if he starts a work; he will reach there where he desires to go if he takes a path. He passes every obstacle providentially.
To convince you about his unbelievable power, I am telling you concretely about his fellowship with Ibrahim Rugova. More precisely I am carving a portrait of the former president of Kosova, Ibrahim Rugova, apology pastry, after the view of the author Shefki Hysa.
It was the summer of 1991 although in Albania dominated the wintry political climate. The war between two main political forces, PS in power and PD in opposition, do not promised good times for Albania. Neither in Kosova was not tranquility. Every time a wintry wind rose in Albania, the frost sprang onto Kosova and vice versa. As it seemed, the jinni of Greek and Serbian’s secret structures had occupied their caves in both places and frowned the crisp drift’s outbursts whenever they wanted to stir the Albanian political weather. And that jinni combined so neatly with each other the yelps that reminded you the accuracy of the mechanism of seasons’ change with the only difference; they made winter whenever they wanted. So Albania and Kosova could never get over and it seemed like political developments of one part deterred those of the other part, and vice versa. And one part used to curse the other one through the teeth instead of getting together and finding the devil source and the ways how to avoid it.
In Albania the communism was broken and the pluralist political forces pretended to build the best democratic order in the world with just a puff of the whistle, by fish’s order or with the blank check of Gramoz Pashko. Kosova was self-proclaimed Parliamentary Republic (under Serbian dominion), but it was still unknown by everybody. Even Albania lingered. Eh, once it hardly knew it, maybe with any secret order by American politics.
In Albania ruled PS and in Kosova ruled LDK of Ibrahim Rugova. Two opposing that mostly saw each other awry as two stepmothers instead of collaborating. The main Albanian issue occupied powder over the politics’ tables. Hot issues as cham issue were avoided with terror like they burned the politicians hands or they were turned the backs as frightening taboos.
The intellectual Shefki Hysa, journalist and writer, at a young age that time, about 33 years old, in flourishing of the powers, tried to propagandize his ideal, cham issue, even it usurped by pseudo-patriots self-proclaimed as leaders of cham community who more prevented and deterred its recognition rather than supporting it. Shefki Hysa rebelled against them but without barakah. He was just a journalist of “Ēamėria” newspaper who tried to make echo to Chameria and Kosova through his pen. He used to write too much but he could hardly publish its writings. About writings that handled acute problems, even the “Ēamėria” newspaper itself was spared, controlled by a naive clan politics, to not mention the others where the jinni’s yelps were prevailing.
In such a turbulent moment, Ibrahim Rugova, the chairman of LDK came to visit Albania. He was the guest of Sali Berisha, the chairman of Albanian Democratic Party. He was placed in “Dajti” hotel, in downtown of Tirana, the best of those years for the reception of foreign delegations of a special importance.
The journalist Shefki Hysa, an incorrigible idealist, as his friends used to call him, was immensely enjoyed by Ibrahim Rugova’s arrival, the same as Kosova itself had come in Albania. Immediately he had the desire to meet him. He went a walk in downtown, entered straight in Dajti’s hall, under the observance of rigorous eyes of all sorts of companions, bodyguards with civil suits and employers of the Guard of Republic. All knew the journalist Shefki Hysa as the friend of their chiefs although it seemed he was bothering them or somehow frightened by his presence. He was a strong pen. In political circles he was known as a journalist who didn’t laze to problems and troubles if you become an obstacle for him, that is why everyone hurried to include him in the friends’ queue rather than opponents’ one. And so, the journalist Shefki Hysa, so petite and light-footed, was founded sooner than all his friends in the information’s source he wanted.
He knew very well that in the bars and restaurants of “Dajti” hotel seethed the intrigues and hearsays. There got together and occupied the corner’s tables all the main politicians, Albanian and foreign diplomats, ministers, vice ministers and directors, writers and journalists of the yard, those well paid (it is known that they could afford it) and drank coffee and whisky, ate lunch and dinner, made shopping and invented intrigues. Be understood, there could be found all sorts of declared and secret agents of all those secret services which were interested in Balkans turbulences, like hunting dogs smelling, on the qui vive and in pursuit of the prey.
It was evening. Shefki Hysa, fast as a whirlwind, in that suffocating fug prevailing the hotel environments’ interior, looked around bars and restaurants which were seething by political-diplomatic hearsays and as he did not see the face he was interested in, he turned straight to the reception. He smiled to the known face of the receptionist and took a promising smile.
- I can guess why you are here, - said the white shirt.
- Eh, you are not here for nothing, - replied Shefki Hysa with humor.
- Tomorrow by ten o’clock, - bowed whispering the slender white shirt.
- Certainly, meanwhile have a look to the writing about Naim Frashėri. Is a new fact there, - winked Shefki Hysa and gave him the new number of “Ēamėria” newspaper.
The white shirt fulminated by a silent pleasure laughing meanwhile the newspaper disappeared under the bench, be understood, together with its tip inside, a banknote with the photo of the renaissance writer Naim Frashėri.
The next day at ten o’clock, Shefki Hysa was again in “Dajti” hall. The receptionist raised his arm in a stirrup sign. The index finger was marking the left direction along the corridor of that floor. That sign in midair, meant that the friend from Kosova was in one of the press conference’s halls. The journalist turned back the salutation to the receptionist with a slight nod and turned round on the left while humorous was whispering as a refrain the expression:
- Viva the receptionists, the waiters and the bodyguards!...
Suddenly he crashed in a gigantic body with black suit who occupied his path. It seemed as he was suffocated by a puff of sweat wind, aftershave and whisky.
- No, no, the bodyguards! – He whispered to himself by the discontent caused by that ogre.
- Chief, I am sorry; it is not allowed this way! Order of the Big Chief, - said the bodyguard with a tone that could not be discussed.
- But we know each other, you know that I am the friend of the Doctor, - replied the journalist as occupied in the **** by walking one or two steps back to see better the face of the gigantic.
- Back, chief, today could not joke!- snarled the bodyguard with a frozen face as a marble statue.
The journalist raised his shoulders.
- Commandant, the Chief is my man, - heard a voice after his back.
Was the white shirt, the receptionist.
- Impossible! – rejected embarrassed the gigantic.
- There are the journalists of TVSH, then those of ATSH, of RD, after that those of…
- After that those of Chameria! – added the white shirt and approached and whispered something to him.
The gigantic bowed to hear well.
- I do not have order for Chameria! – was inflated again the gigantic although somehow smoother.
Meanwhile were hugger-mugger flocked into hall a group of journalists of some newspaper of different parties. Got together also a group of leaders of some nongovernment organizations and burst a great clamor. Some bodyguards sprouted by the environments’ corners and with their bodies put the journalist forward as a livestock toward the exit. Burst even more the mess… Unfortunately sprang onto the hall the leaders of the Homeland Political Association “Ēamėria”.
One of them, the General Secretary, Arshin Rexha, once saw the journalist, made a reproachful voice:
- And you, what are you doing here Chief?!...
- I have a meeting with Rugova for an interview, - replied the journalist not without rancor from that surprise.
- Ou, Rugova do not disdain to receipt us?! – leaped ironically the secretary.
- Maybe he is not interested to meet you, you are just offices’ bureaucrats, but with me yes. I am a journalist, - turned fierce the journalist.
-You, Shefki Hysa, look here; you must come to the editorial office to get permission about the interview. Did you get permission? You do not. The unplanned interviews are not published, - interfered the chief editor, Bashkim Kuēuku, a literary critic with a didactic voice. That voice was enough and the journalist Shefki Hysa was almost erupted by an unprecedented rancor.
- Listen, professor, listen to me well! I did ask neither you nor your friends when I chose to become a journalist. When I made up my mind to write for a problem, I find one thousand ways and I realize the article. I don’t step back even if the world turns upside down. I am a free journalist and I have made up my mind to interview Rugova and I am going to interview him even if I am impeded with a gun after my head. I do not get permission by nobody. If “Ēamėria” newspaper does not publish my interview I do not care. Bless God we are in democracy and there are a lot of other newspapers!...
- Do not talk that way to the professor! He has been your docent. – interfered with a tone somehow conciliatory Ballkiz Halili, a former old journalist already retired.
- As a human being, I love the professor, but now I am talking as a professional. The professor and his friends, chiefs of Chameria, are wrong in trying to impede, madam, - replied the journalist with respect and with a decisive tone.
- Well, you are in your right to make the interview, the professor as the chief editor has the right to not publish it, - coldly stepped backward the dowager.
- Let it be so! From your mouth straight in the God’s ear, - replied with the same tone the journalist and turned his eyes by the bodyguard, almost twenty steps away who was signing him to go closer.
He left back the rancor whispers of the organization’s chiefs and hurried toward the bodyguard who deflected to allow him pass. He thanked him with nod and with voice, and hurried toward the door of the press conference’s hall. The door was half opened and the profile of Rugova could be seen, with slightly curling hair, black to brown, with the red scarf round the neck, with a dark brown suit. He was surrounded by some journalists who were trying to convince him to be interviewed. He, graciously, with a twilight and tired picture, was pleading to leave him in peace because he had other plans in his agenda. His attendant, a known face, officer of the Republic’s Guard, from those who accompany foreign personalities, was trying with his body to keep them further by Ibrahim Rugova.
- Open yourselves, open yourselves my friends! Wait once because it is Chameria’s turn, then you, - entered with momentum among the colleagues the journalist Shefki Hysa as the savior of the situation and despite with a body about 160 cm, he scattered them as a strong wind reel.
All were spellbound astound, Rugova with his attendant as well.
- Well, my friends, you know that Kosova cannot evert Chameria and Chameria to Kosova because they are like two twin sisters grown up far away by their mother and far away to each other. Two sisters with two stepmothers, Serbia and Greece, think what a beautiful destiny, or not professor Rugova?!...
He smiled. Opened his arms like an eagle when getting ready to fly, or as he wanted to say to the participants that he already had find what he was waiting for, was slightly turned and embraced as his son the courageous journalist.
- My friends, I told you that I had other meetings, and here came Chameria and I have to respect it, now I believe that even you do not have controversies, - said with his slightly hoarse voice Ibrahim Rugova, already blown in the face.
Even the bodyguard was blown and hit by the shoulder the journalist who saved them by that problematic situation.
- Ou, Chameria has always the doors opened! We all have obligations for Chameria as we have for Kosova, - said almost unanimously the journalists and frolicsome, with laughter and hugger-mugger, they went out of the hall.
Went away even the attendant by pulling the door and the journalist Shefki Hysa remained alone with Ibrahim Rugova, the legendary leader of Kosova, who like Gandhi with Balkans colors, was placed face to face to the tyranny of Serbian Empire.
If you carefully note Rugova, with that thin and long stature, slightly bent as by the weight of many years, with that red scarf that encircled the neck and with the face slightly wan, with that deep wrinkle among the forehead over the thorny nose, gave the impression of a highly noble professor who had suddenly been out by the warm auditoriums in an unknown environment extremely cold, which made him trembling and urged him to snuggle in himself.
This was the first impression, but just for a moment, because when he started to talk, his voice, slightly hoarse, but with those warm tones, like all the paternal voices as if he made you spell and in front of you, you saw another man, grandiose, with a royal view, rolled as with a divine light, as a special creature of God created to be His Vicegerent in this world. So, that man had indeed a regal view, behaviour, attitude and action. He was born to be a Leader. His royal picture disarmed even the head devil and not an ordinary person.
The leader of Kosova, Ibrahim Rugova and the Cham journalist, Shefki Hysa, sat side by side and began to talk comfortably quiet as the father and the son, united after a long separation. It was a conversation with curiosity and with a kind of longing, that maybe stemmed by blood or by their genes, where must have been registered the same mutilations, the same wounds and pains caused by enemies which had taken too much by each other, specifically as resembles the Serbian with the Greek.
After a friendly discussion for the same blood and the common troubles, the sufferings and the lessons, the solutions, differences and attributes, of Chams and Kosovars, without being noticed, the conversation took the proper flow. They began to exchange professional thoughts. The journalist Shefki Hysa naturally asked:
- I believe this is the first time you come in the pluralist Albania. Do you see any change comparing it with the communist regime? Are in the proper way the promised reforms?
Ibrahim Rugova smiled and replied:
-Yes. I am coming for the first time. I can say that here is a political calming of the situation. Some kind of spiritual of reformation of people is felt immediately while for other reforms and especially the economic ones, would be a great thing to follow with the same step the psychological changes. An urgent intervention is needed for the resolution of social and economic issues to create also in people lucidity in the flow’s judgment of democratic processes. I have been moving a lot these days to see from closer and to understand better the changes. I have had many meetings with really good people. In the meetings we had in Kavaja, Rrogozhina, and in any other city, the people seek to see concrete steps, the concrete realization of promises, although Albania was opened these recent months and it is difficult for it to make accelerated steps also in economic and political plan. Anyway, economic reforms are more difficult than those political, but this does not mean that it is impossible to walk with the step of time. Another delay is already harmful.
- Political parties, parliament, Albanian government, albeit with delays, finally recognized the Republic of Kosova. Is this one of the premises that provides the recognition of the Republic of Kosova even by international organisms? What other help could give Albania? Must not it help more, as the mother helps its daughter?
Rugova thought for a while and then continued:
- Despite it was delayed, the recognition of the Republic of Kosova by Albania is in fact a pleasure that in a form or in another would urge the recognition in international dimensions. It is unknown how things will be developed further, if the resolution’s duration of the whole Albanian issue is close or far away, slow or quick, but being recognized by Albania the Republic of Kosova, which was its obligation, is the first step and it is never late in this plan. Let Albania democratize itself, to be worthy integrated in European processes, and that will be the great help it is going to give to Kosova, all Albanians in Yugoslavia, Chameria, to that national joint we aim.
The Cham journalist, Shefki Hysa, admitted with nodded, as he was of the same opinion with the Leader of Kosova. That is why he asked again with curiosity:
- Democratic League of Kosova is really the biggest political force in Kosova. Which is your activity inside and outside the country to be on top of the movement for self-determination? Ibrahim Rugova smiled thinking for a while and with a wasted look somewhere inside himself, continued:
- LDK has already its branches and sub-branches in the major part of Kosova, it has been accepted not only by its population but also by national counties, especially the European ones. It has played a great role in creating the political culture in people; however we cannot say that we act freely. The police follow us in every step; bans the affinity despite we consider legality and legitimacy under the federal law. We are not allowed the precise activity but we find the ways and means of the indispensable organizing. In the outer plan we have made not little, we have achieved to appeal the public opinion and also many diplomats of the Albanian issue in Yugoslavia and of the whole Albanian issue. This has been understood and is understood that Albanians are an important factor in those ethnic lands and which cannot be ignored anymore in Yugoslavia, naturally in international circles as well, the Albanian issue in general…
Rugova was a little silent.
Shefki Hysa, taking advantage by that silence, asked:
- Alliances are not only a help factor but also a common interest and goals expression. What forces do you consider as alliances in Yugoslavia?
- In Yugoslavia is created such a situation where everyone tries for himself, worries about self interests. There exists a certain political national egoism. All had desired us, Albanians, to pour the blood and them to win. But with the new political organization and with the maturity of our people, these recent years this is not happening anymore, although those who desire our blood pouring urge it with all ways. We, Albanians, want to be a political subject and to participate in the resolution of Yugoslavian issues. At the moment we can say that we have certain collaboration and alliances with some Slovenian and Croatian parties, for actions and democratic resolutions, for a temporary dialog. The contacts I have had with governments of other countries and republics are another thing. So, the issue of coalition is difficult and controversial, notably in strained situation that Yugoslavia is already passing. That is why we are all suffering…
The expression “strained situation” used by Rugova with an insecurity tone, reminded to the cham Shefki Hysa, the abrupt flow of the violent events which involved Chameria, within few days, at the end of that black June of 1944. He reminded the shocking stories of some elderly who had seen with their eyes the massacres, had seen how Greek bandits, butcherly with knifes in their hands, slaughtered people as if they were livestock. That is why he asked:
- The arming of Serbian and Montenegrins, the creation of Chetnik bands, the current repression of Albanians in Kosova, remind you that bloody atmosphere that prevailed in Chameria of the year 1944, before the beginning of the exterminating massacres by Greek chauvinists who brought the violent displacement of Muslim’s Chams by autochthon lands. Can be afforded just with democratic means this possible scenario, organized by violent Serbian bureaucracy toward Kosova?
- Everything can happen, but we have care and utmost vigilance to not prepare a second “Chameria” in Kosova as well. There is even an international factor which has, let not say a control, but a responsibility that can effect avoiding a new tragedy. Could not be excluded the opportunity of help and interference of different democratic countries. In such conditions, we insist for dialog, as the only way for the resolution of all Yugoslavian problems. In the dialog table, where to be even we Albanians as equal, can be avoided the possible conflicts, would be resolved even the problem of Kosova. We consider also the changes in East Europe, mostly of them in a democratic spirit. Only this way could be reached an inviolable arrangement by either party. But, in Kosova, human rights are still violated, with isolations, differentiations, firing of people by jobs, attacks toward our culture and history, toward the press. In Kosova they still kill people. Before some days, in Albanian border was killed a kid of 16 years old. But anyhow, we must keep the situation in our hands.
Rugova was so painstakingly in answers that he did not give the opportunity to turn back to the same issue. The conversation flow brought you simultaneously another question inside the spirit of his logic. Excited by this precision, Shefki Hysa continued the conversation:
- The Party of Albanian National Union has as goal, as motto, the national union. It works and fights for the United Europe to find also the Albanian nation united in its lands. What advice, what way, what means would you recommend to it, as a relatively new party and to the “Kombi” newspaper to realize this great mission?
- To say the truth, I have not fully seen your program, but by some information I have, it reveals that you have to deal with a party that has given to itself the duty of the national union, that is the Albanian issue and dream, but the political opportunities must be considered to realize such a process, the integration of Albanian nation in the united Europe. Not only your party, as the party of unity, has this aim, but many other parties, maybe with other ways and means, aim the same scope. Differences do not cause us so many troubles, the scope to be achieved. That is why must be worked to have this issue affirmed not only within Albanians, but also outside, to have it internationally. You, as it seemed, do have these opportunities, but is needed too much concrete work, to see how you are going to contribute. A great role has also your newspaper, which made the first step with the right foot.
Ibrahim Rugova joined the hands in the form of a big fist and shook as he wanted to say that prosperity is brought by people who work together for an idea. This manner of behavior so friendly warmed even more the heart of the journalist Shefki Hysa who instantly thought the destiny had brought him a friend so special. He rubbed his hands and asked:
- Finally, Mr. Rugova, which would be Your call or message for Albanian nation?
Rugova smiled friendly and nodded in an affirmative sign.
- To keep faith we have created recent years among us. We are one, Albanians, as in the motherland, in ethnic lands remained outside borders and in Diaspora. This faith is an inner spiritual liberation that must be cultivated, concretized and transformed in a form of our life and work. I do not call for a fictive unity but for a real unity that must be increased with contacts, information, free collaboration, because it was violated by former parties, they talked for pseudo-unity that had between the Berlin wall or the dividing wall of Albanian border. So, too much work is needed even in these difficult conditions, in this social and economical tense situation for Albanian people, when the old system is broken and is created and growing up through difficulties a new system. The previous system does not have strong economic basis but the government and political parties must try for a fast economical stabilization. The politic cannot be done without economy. That is why, Kosova needs just a strong economically Albania. It would help its current situation and that of Albanians in general. To not loose time and to not deal with differences after this or that policy, but to find common points to walk, to find a consensus, anyhow to find collaborations forms to go out of difficulties on behalf of the fast resolution of the whole national Albanian issue. The integration of the united nation in the united Europe, this would be one of the most beautiful finals for us, Albanians…
Rugova was filled with breath and was silent while waiting. His face, with haunted look somewhere in perspective, radiated a kind of compassion, a type of hope and faith’s light, as if the future of Albanians would really be bright.
The journalist Shefki Hysa, remained without words by erudition and the art of speaking which characterized his new friend. He knew well that Ibrahim Rugova was one of the best journalists and writers in Kosova in handling social problems. He knew that he was even a good literary critic but he did not expect him to be at the same time so eloquent. It is said that usually, the great writers, by devoting themselves mostly to the imagination and artistic thought, which are necessarily needed to imbued literary creativity, forget the art of speaking and could hardly be expressed in press conferences or in conversations and meetings. Ibrahim Rugova, on the contrary was an eloquent intellectual, one cicerone of Kosova.
The friend from Kosova reminded and asked him about the relations with Chameria and the journalist Shefki Hysa briefly described himself, the relations with the leaders of Cham community and the manner how Cham issue was handled by Albanian political opinion, more as a taboo rather than a problem that must be resolved.
Rugova was listening and nodded skeptical. It seemed that he was informed for that kind of attitude or as he wanted to say that was expected something like that.
- Is needed work, too much work, - he said suddenly with the eyes somewhere inside himself. The journalist accompanied the words of the friend with frequent nods. After a short silence, he remembered to ask him about his life, as he wanted to please him, not without hesitation to not be annoying. He did not want by no means to lose that friend already; on the contrary, he would make the impossible to deepen the fellowship.
Ibrahim Rugova felt satisfied and began to talk about himself. He confessed that he was born on 2 December 1944, in the village Cerrcė of the Istog’s commune, in Kosova. On 10 January 1945, when he was one year old, Yugoslavian communists shot his father, Ukė, and his grandfather Rrustė Rugova as well, who had been a distinguished fighter against Serbian Chetnik bands. It is known that those bands once have caused many disasters to Albanians. These bands acted in Kosova also during Second World War. The murder of the household head and his grandfather was a great loss for him. Anyway they survived; he had a difficult childhood. He made the primary school in Istog, the high school in Pejė in 1967, while the Faculty of Philosophy – for Albanian Language and Literature in Prishtina.
In 1976-77, in Paris, in “Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes”, under the supervision of Prof. Roland Barthes, he deepened the studies about literary theory. In 1984 he had his Doctorate for Literature in the University of Prishtina.
Rugova confessed that even he had worked as a journalist in different editorial offices. About the years 1971-72, he had worked as an editor in the students’ newspaper “Bota e re” and in the scientific magazine “Dituria” which were published in Prishtina. For some time he had also worked in the “Fjala” magazine. Later he was placed and developed his scientific activity at the Albanology Institute as a literature researcher. Some time he worked as chief editor of the magazine “Gjurmime albanologjike” of the Albanology Institute.
With literary creativity, that was in his heart more than everything else, he had been in deal since the beginning of the years sixteen. He had published many scholarly items, critical notes, biography, etc. He had summarized the major part of his writings in some books. Rugova emphasized that, in 1988, was appointed chairman of the Associations of the Writers of Kosova, which was made a powerful seed of the Albanian movement, movement that rejected the Serbian and Yugoslavian communist dominion in Kosova.
- It is understood, - continued to confess Rugova after he was filled with breath, - the problematic situations in Kosova, finally obligated me also to enter in politic. We were a group of unsatisfied intellectuals, to not say rebelled, with the pressure Serbian circles used to exert. We got together and decided to create a political force. Thus, on 23 December 1989, we established Democratic League of Kosova, the first political party in Kosova. They chose me the chairman of this political force, maybe because I had more experience than the others…
The journalist Shefki Hysa, felt delighted after the confession of his friend from Kosova.
Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, was indeed a rare intellectual and everybody could learn by him. He made you create the idea that he was a live encyclopedia. He continued to speak and the journalist listened with attention as he wanted to exert the art of listening in front of the art of speaking that his friend possessed so well.
Rugova was saying that the new party, the abbreviation LDK, immediately began to challenge the Yugoslavian communist regime in power. It is known that it was already the leader political force in Kosova and it had got together the majority of the population round itself. In collaboration with other Albanian political forces in Kosova, as well as with the Kosova Assembly, Dr. Rugova and LDK achieved to close the legal framework for the institutionalization of Kosova’s independence. On July 1990 met the assembly and was read the “Declaration of Independence” and Kosova was proclaimed Republic. On 7 September 1990 was approved also the Constitution of Kosova…
- So, in few words, this is my activity in Kosova, - ended the confession with a slight smile the friend, Ibrahim Rugova.
The journalist rubbed his hands with entire satisfaction as he was in front of an abundant lunch and with sincerity almost naive, he asked the friend:
Do not get me wrong, Dr. Rugova, but I would love to be your friend… I do not want to end the acquaintance with you just with a newspaper interview and with a conversation…
Rugova laughed with loud voice and naturally replied:
- Then I am waiting for you to come in Kosova after you have published the interview.
- I am coming after some days, - said the journalist without thinking by a kind of childish impatience.
However he could not believe. The laugh and the flippant tone of the interlocutor sounded in his ear more as a joke rather than a serious invitation to strengthen the fellowship. Why does Rugova needed the fellowship with an Albanian journalist sometimes with behavioral like a young boy? Nevertheless he did not show this, he did not want to seem faddish as a caressing and immature boy in the eyes of the other. Better to let this to time. It would be the best judge of their fellowship.
Rugova stood up.
The journalist, distracted for a while, jumped upwards as busy in fault. So hastily, like he did not wanted to impede anymore the friend, he thanked him, shook the hand, hugged him and went out almost running by the conference hall.

Better a friend than a ranch
The meeting with Ibrahim Rugova, the personality number one of Kosova, impressed the writer Shefki Hysa. For him, that figure was a distant star or like a kind of intellectual ideal that must be followed as a model in life. The interview was published but the tough Albanian reality turns even the most beautiful dreams in cold frustrations. Even though he had a great desire to visit Kosova, he did have the opportunity neither for some days nor for some months. And the fellowship with Rugova, remained behind as a distant remembrance.
However, he was following with a great interest the developments in Kosova. He was a journalist and is understood, he must be well informed.
Then after some times, almost at the end of September 1991, was held the popular referendum for the independence and the sovranity of Kosova. Some months later were realized also the first multiparty elections for Kosova Assembly and on 24 May 1992, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova was appointed the President of the Republic of Kosova.
So, now his friend Dr. Rugova was a President. It was the greatest dream the man could realize on earth. The highest leader of a state, under the holy books, is the Vicegerent of God. Such was already Dr. Rugova. And he deserved that, with that titanic work he had done for the organization of leadership structures of a small country like Kosova against the big Serbia, leader of a great empire like Yugoslavia.
The journalist Shefki Hysa, had revived the desire to visit Kosova. Maybe by the fact because his friend, or better his candidate for friend as he frequently says to hiself about Rugova, not without a kind of humor of a man who dreams a lot and does a little, he was the One of Kosova, and the journalist nothing. This fact put him in touchiness and pushed him to find new opportunities to be more useful for Chameria.
Very soon he became the chief editor of the newspaper “Kombi” and later of the newspaper “Dielli”. In January of the year 1992 he created the Publishing House “Bilal Xhaferri”, as an institution for the publications of books with national problematic, especially for the publications of Chameria. At the same period he published also his first volume with short stories “Turtullesha dhe djalli” (the Turtledove and the Devil) which was very welcomed by the readers and gave a great impetus to his creativity. He published some of the most selected works of disident Albanian writers like: Bilal Xhaferri, Kasem Trebeshina and Pjetėr Arbnori. He translated and published also some works of foreign colossus like: Alfred De Myse, Zhan Pol Sartri, Xhek London and suchlike. So, also he was progressing already, was one of the best Albanian writers and publishers and the best of Chameria.
With the election’s victory by Democratic Party on 31 March 1992, the writer Pjetėr Arbnori was appointed the chairman of Albanian Assembly. This fact strengthened even more the postions as leader to the writer Shefki Hysa. Pjetėr Arbnori, the Balkans Mandela, was his friend. Why not to deal and strengthen the fellowship with the Balkans’ Gandhi as well, the President of Kosova, Ibrahim Rugova? It was the best moment. Or now or never!...
And such happened. He went to Kosova and met with Rugova. They became friends.
In the year 1993, with his intellectual friends from Albania and Kosova, with artists, journalists and writers, friends of Chameria, the writer Shefki Hysa created the Chultural Community of Chameria (Cultural Association “Bilal Xhaferri”). This institution was a cultural organization which supported Albanian national culture, especially the Cham one. On May 1995, with the support of Albanian state, he went to USA, in Chicago, from where with a splendid ceremony, brought to Albania the bones of the dissident writer Bilal Xhaferri. That time he began to republish in Albania the magazine “Eagle’s Wing” (an Albanian-English magazine established since October 1974 in Chicago by Bilal Xhaferri) as an organ of Chameria Cultural Association. The magazine “Eagle’s Wing”, a monthly political, cultural, literary and social magazine, became a strong tribune of the free democratic thought. The publisher Shefki Hysa, was already a completed intellectual personality, a worthy friend for the politicians Arbnori and Rugova.
On March 1998, Dr. Ibrahim Rugova was reselected President of the Republic of Kosova.
Meanwhile, the author Shefki Hysa, to be closer to politics, with the desire to affect as much as possible for the resolution of Cham problem, still a taboo for some politicians, had become part of the administration of the Assembly of Albania. Besides the image as a cultural leader realized through multiple publishing and publications of himself, of the Albanian and foreign intellectuals, he necessarily needed also the support of the main leaders of the politics in Albania and Kosova. He was everyday with the officials of Tirana, whereas with those of Prishtina, aha, once in a year and this was much! He had no opportunity of frequent meetings with the politicians of Kosova…
Whatever, Rugova was the same good friend of the first meeting. As any time, with the characteristic scarf around the neck during winter but also during summer, with that quiet view, soft sight and visionary like Gandhi of India, he always spoke with a quiet and deep voice like the flow of a wide and slow river that fully fills its delta.
The publisher Shefki Hysa has been deeply impressed also in one later meeting. He remembered as it was now what Rugova said to him, with that debonair voice:
- Balkans needs a great support by democratic world to be free from devil anxieties and to be civilized. It needs the lobbying of powerful and distinguished politicians like the famous, American President, Wilson!... Only America and its friends will bring western civilization in Balkans, in Albania and in Kosova. Only those can make Kosova free because we have so many years working and we still cannot save it by the Serbian tyranny chains. You have to know that one day Kosova will literally become a legal European state. The same as Albania. But we, Albanians, seem as we have forgotten the traditions of our ancestors, as the Balkans devil has caught us by throat. The Balkans devil does not let us walk ahead, without being pushed by others. Never forget this, my friend! One day, Americans will give us again the courage, as the great Wilson did…
Like that he had been told once by Rugova, this Balkans’ Gandhi, and such happened. And the intellectual Shefki Hysa, had understood that the frequent intervention of American leaders, of the secretary Baker, of the President Bush (father of the President Bush, Junior), of the President Clinton, of the secretary Albright, of the Prime Minister Blair, of the President Bush - Junior, of the secretary Hilary Clinton and the intervention of many other ambassadors and diplomats of USA, to make Albania survive in 1997, that zero year, which almost undid us Albanians as a nation and turned us back to the old civilization. Moreover, was needed the persecutions of this American titans to save Kosova in 1999 by the exterminating epidemic of the bad devil – Serbia. Was needed the intervention of NATO, with American veto, to make Kosova survive and to become an independent state. He remembered that the President Ibrahim Rugova, with a smiled face, had told him in one moment.
- How do you think, do I look as those oracles of Dodona, the skilful astrologers and fortune-tellers from Epirus, your ancestors, my Cham friend, who predicted the losses and victories of the famous king, Pirro of Epirus?... I have told you and I am repeating that the great goods will come from American politicians… From fighter diplomats like Richard Holbrooke… I believe you know him?...
The writer Shefki Hysa, answerd laughing that he had heard everything about him but he had never had the opportunity to know him from closer.
- You will know him, - assured him the President Rugova.
- I think yes, - replied Shefki Hysa, - if your predictions are reliable like an Epirus’ oracle of Dodona. At least, until now, you have predicted all the developments’ flow in Balkans…
And indeed, the President Rugova and his friends, made it possible that the intellectual Shefki Hysa knew from closer the Golden Ambassador, Richard Holbrooke, as he later used to call him in the eyes of his interlocutors.
The Ambassador Holbrooke was a rare personality, magical; who gave the idea that he had activated all the potentials of spiritual and mental energies, till in over-fatigue, to realize his objectives. As if he used some special hypnotic virtues to be imposed to every person who needed to negotiate. And he always used to win. At least, this was and remains the thought of the intellectual Shefki Hysa…
The ambassador Richard Holbrooke was the one who knew how to put with shoulders to the wall the Serbian dictator Milosevic, how could be calmed the brutal heart of the turbulent Balkans, how could be given and taken the form that golden mind created… So, due to his insistence and of the American politics, today is a peaceful Balkans.
The idea of that man with golden mind and heart was also a lobbying organization: “Diplomatic Mission Peace and Prosperity”, with many connections with powerful politicians and diplomats in the world. So, thanks to the ideas and talent of the ambassador Richard Holbrooke, today acts in Balkans the international organization “Diplomatic Mission Peace and Prosperity”, with the objective to make it a quiet familiar paradise. God blesses the soul of the ambassador Richard Holbrooke. God blesses the staff, partners and the collaborators of the organization “Diplomatic Mission Peace And Prosperity”!...
My friend, Shefki Hysa, often confesses that the President Rugova, loved, estimated and honored too much the ambassador Holbrooke. He, with the dedication toward Kosova’s issue, was like a part of the family of Rugova. He entered and exited as a family member in the office and familiar environments of the President Rugova.
Also Richard Holbrooke, one of the diplomats who played the principal role for the changes in Balkans, during the years ‘90, expressed the greatest respect for his friend, Rugova. Holbrooke often emphasized that the President Ibrahim Rugova was an extraordinary leader, that the population of Kosova was fortunate to be leaded by such a magnificent man. This was his thought before the war of Kosova with Serbia in 1999 and later, in postwar period.
Richard Holbrooke supported the President Rugova also when LDK won the majority of votes in the first local elections sponsored by internationals, in the postwar Kosova, on October 2000, and in the first national elections in 2001. LDK won the second local elections as well in 2002. It won again in the last national elections in 2004. These victories, be understood, were gained by the vision and tendencies of the politician Rugova, to be a whole popular leader. Exactly for this fact, he was sympathized and supported by Richard Holbrooke. He was definitely a vision man for himself and he knew what he was doing.
Maybe, the ambassador Holbrooke, at Rugova’s dream for a Kosova and Balkans in peace, saw also the realization of his dream for the future of the Region’s peoples that is why they discussed so often the common ideas.
- It is important that Albanians be united around a clearly program for full independence and respect for the rights of all minorities in Kosova, for their cultural, religion, political, ethnical and lingual rights. This is essential. Without protecting these rights will be impossible to be realized the dream that has troubled the Albanians of Kosova over centuries, - often emphasized the ambassador Richard Holbrooke.
As it seems, he saw the President Rugova as a peace and union factor, as a godly Leader who knew to lead his people in the right path.
The President Rugova, worked and sacrificed for Kosova as rarely other leader in Balkans till the day he died on 21 January 2006. His death was a great loss for Kosova and Balkans, for his family and his friends. Also even for his enemies because the President Rugova was a worthy opponent for them. Thus, often emphasizes my friend, Shefki Hysa.
The President Rugova was buried with high state and military honors. In the ceremony of goodbye participated from the most world personalities.
Among estimates of many world leaders for Rugova after death, are distinguished especially the words of the ambassador Holbrooke as statement of a rare memorial in devotion of an immortal work.
- I will always remember him with respect. When I met him, he had his permanent scarf and said that he would not put it off until Kosova would be free. Later, when I went again in Prishtina, I saw him without scarf around the neck. It was something wonderful. He was a great person and the people of Kosova have a historical mission to complete. Now even more, as an honor toward the memory of doctor Rugova. Maybe, Kosova would be inexistent today without his vision and insistence, - is expressed Holbrooke, whose thought has been supported by all those world leaders, who knew the work of Rugova, by all friends and lovers of Kosova.
- The souls of such godly people, as the great Ibrahim Rugova, I believe that are part of God’s Paradise, - often tells me my friend, Shefki Hysa.
And I think he is right. Maybe for the fact that his word always becomes reality… I can never take away from my mind that the writer Shefki Hysa, is a kind of magician of word and action…

Paulin Ranzi