The enigma – Bilal Xhaferri

Bilali’s life was a life burdened by problems and worries. It was a life with wars, attempts and loss. It was a life with winters, lightning. It was a life that didn’t recognize the joys…
Bilal Hoxha (Xhaferri) was a meteor, a star that very soon detached from the motherland and the eternity wrapped him in its chest.
Bilali was born in 1936 in Ninat country of Konispol region. His mother left him minor. A brother with three sisters. In the beginning of 1945 his father, Xhaferr Ferik Hoxha (Mustache), was arrested and executed without trial. The children remained orphan. They were grown up by their sightless old grandfather. In the age of 12, Bilali went away from his birth place and went to Saranda where he worked as a courier. These were the attempts of a child to survive. Later he carried out a technic-geometer school. At a very young age Bilali was everywhere in Tirana, Durres, Kruja, Laci, Shkodra highlands. The profession and all these weave knew him with numerous people and different environments. During these years he became manhood. The poet’s soul, the future writer was filled with life experience, with longing for his sisters, with amazing landscapes that would be all poured in his creativity. To immortalize his unjustly executed father, in put in his creativity his father’s name as his surname.
Bilal Xhaferri had a limited education, but he was an extraordinary talent. He started to publish stories from 1962 to 1968. He was welcomed from all literary bodies of those years. Bilali was a silent person, somewhat distanced from the joy that life gives to youth. I can add that when he wrote the novel “Krasta Kraus” in a hotel room in Tirana, I have seen a bit further the desk, in a plate: a loaf of bread, less cheese and any fig. In this way he pushed the hunger. In 1966 the volume with short stories “Young people-ancient land” (“Njerëz të rinj-tokë e lashtë”) was published. In 1967 the poetic volume “The red meadow” (“Lirishta e kuqe”) was published but it wasn’t released. In 67-68 he finished the first part of the novel “Krasta Kraus”. He has unpublished stories and poems, reportages and sketches. The life of this talent passed through Albania with a dazzling glow and speed of light but I still think that for a biography need to be picked moments, events, memories, facts; all early benevolent of Bilal could frankly testify. Thus they can contribute in his literary heritage supplements. Being far from his shelter, family warmth, from road to road, from yard to yard, Bilali, to this Shkespearian stroller, was imposed irregularity. The ground that molded his creativity, swallowed it…
In this short biography of Bilali I can’t stay without noting the final, that fatal case that influenced so much his life. In 1968 in the room of Albanian League of Writers and Artists, the discussion of the novel “The wedding” (“Dasma”) of the known writer Ismail Kadare was being made. After many thanksgivings Bilali stood up and with convincing and sincere arguments criticizes the novel. This action has nothing to do with premeditation, but it was feed by the numerous weakness of the novel, and it has nothing to do with that color that the great writer Ismail Kadare has given in “Invitation in studio” (“Ftese ne studio”) book. Mr. Kadare has spoken at random, as security officers of those years, which that case they tried to complicate and to call as an action of an organized group against the most innovative, revolutionary work written till that day. The life of “The wedding” (Dasma) novel is known… Is enough for Mr. Kadare just to remember the warmth smile that gave Bilali when he stood up to speak. “ Here,- has Kadare thought in those difficult moments,- this new talent rose to protect me, this silent person that we haven’t once heard to speak. I believe that he will satisfy my sensibility…” But it didn’t happen that way and Kadare was disappointed…
Bilal often has painfully mentioned to me the unexpected that he made to Ismail. Bilali had thin feelings. He was full of virtues and could never be lifted against the truth, even for the sake of weakness that he had for Kadare greatness. Life recognizes multiple instances that great people have denied their sayings when they are devalued by reality. A case like this would mostly magnified Mr. Kadare. Ultimately, the truth is in Bilali’s side. I don’t want to linger with the attitude of security bodies and the treatment that was made to Bilal after that discussion. What does the communism born in such case is already known by all.
… Bilali was interned from Durres and was sent in the Tower section of Sukthi farm where he worked as a worker.
For approximate motives, with my whole” Mane” tribe, approximately 56 members were interned and evicted, a part in Kryevish and the other in Hamalle. Then we were 5-6 km far from each-other but we still met every day, wrote, exchanged thoughts. We also created a common volume with poems “A silhouette in the dark” (“Nje siluete ne erresire”). Often happened to notice that we were seen and followed by special people. And maybe God has helped us not to be incarcerated. Poor we Albanians what a black luck have we had!
At the beginning we tried to realize the ideas of Bilali’s escape from Durrës port, but we soon saw that this action was reckless and with consequences. Bilali went to his birth village, became acquainted with the place, prepared the terrain and after 3-4 months together with his brother-in-law, in 30 August 1969, he escaped from Albania. He left with the idea to come back one day. “Dead will I be, will change my name, plastic operations will I make but a day I will come back”. So he told me. And he believed in himself.
We don’t know much about Bilali’s life away from Albania. It is sure that in USA, Chicago, he has created a magazine with the title “Eagle’s Wing” (“Krahu i shqiponjes”) that has a prominent anti-communist accent. Many other things are misty, enigma: just within a magazine is Bilali’s literary creativity finished?! What has happened with “Krasta Kraus” novel? We know that the first part he took from my house. The second part he had finished as sketches. Has he stopped here? It is said that after the operation of a tumor in 1986 he has died. It is said the the communist hand has beaten him till there. Until when will it say?! Until when? Let’s hope in the lighting of this puzzle…
Initiatives of the publishing enterprises with the name “Bilal Xhaferri”, with head Mr. Shefki Hysa has set itself the task to lay out before the readers the whole life and the brilliant creativity of Bilali. I think that, at first the right belongs precisely to this office publisher to publish the immortal work of the known Bilal Xaferri. The romance “The bloody love” (Dashuri e përgjakur) is one of the most mellowed creations of Bilali. Lets hope that Albanian readers will welcome it.

Namik Mane
Writer

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