50 Rare Facts for Albanian's Founding Father
It is said that Ismail Qemali was born on October 16, but in history textbooks, his birthday is known as January 24, more precisely because his birthday coincided with that of Enver Hoxha and the latter deliberately removed that information. The dictator did the same with all the descendants of the Vlora family, exiling and erasing them from history.
Below we are bringing 50 rare pieces of information related to the father of the Albanian nation.
1. Ismail Qemali's real name was Ismail bey Vlora. His name was changed during the communist regime on the communist worldview to the title "Bej", but no historian or personality has ever explained this change.
2. Ismail Qemali was one of the most important characters of the famous Vlora family, a rich family with many traditions, and which has produced many important characters in Albanian political life.
3. Ismail Qemali was born on October 16, 1846, in Kanina, Vlora, and died on January 24, 1919, in Perugia, Italy. Only after 1990, it was learned from the Turkish historian of Albanian origin, Nexhip Alpan, that Ismail Qemali's birthday was on the same day as Enver Hoxha. But it has been kept secret, not written in any history book. In the history textbooks of Albania and other textbooks, the date of birth is written on January 24, 1844. In fact it is on October 16, 1844.
4. Ismail Qemali lived 72 years, 3 months, and 8 days or a total of 2628 days. He was of average height and with a body of average weight. Ismail Qemali wore a dress of the time, with a suit of the time, a tie of the time, carefully combed gray hair and a white beard combed as well. The color of the costumes was generally black and he wore hats.
5. Ismail Qemali throughout his life lived in the following countries: Albania, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Bulgaria, Syria, and for a short time in France, England, Switzerland, and Germany.
6. Ismail Qemali graduated from Zosimea Gymnasium in Ioannina and after a considerable career in Turkish administration. Educated in Paris for Legal and Economic Sciences. With this education, he was one of the most educated people in the Turkish administration of that time.
7. Ismail Qemali was also known as a polyglot, a weapon that served him in all his political activity for the Albanian cause. He was fluent in Albanian, Ottoman, Modern Turkish, Ancient Greek, Latin, Italian and French.
8. Ismail Qemali is considered the father of the nation since he has performed the most historic act in the entire history of the Albanian state. He raised the flag of Independence in Vlora, on November 28, 1912, and declared Albania an independent state, asking the international powers to recognize this decision.
9. Under no circumstances and in no situation he did not use this sublime moment to gain and receive appreciation. In fact, in his speech on the day of the Declaration of Independence, he said that, just as God wanted him to be the first to raise the flag of independence, so he became the first hero of the Albanian state.
10. Ismail Qemali is the first prime minister and president in the history of the Albanian state. He remained at the head of the government from 28 November 1912 until 22 January 1914 for 12 months and 56 days.
11. Ismail Qemali raised in Vlora the red flag with two eagle heads, a flag that to this day comes in three variants. The first is that this was embroidered by Marigo, a bride of the house where Ismaili slept last night, the one brought by Spiridon Ilo from the USA, the third variant of Eqrem bey Vlora, according to which he took the flag from Aleadro Kasstriota. The husband of a princess who claimed to be the descendant of Skanderbeg.
12. In the evaluations of the work done by the leaders of the Turkish administration for Ismail Qemali are listed the following words: diplomat, MP, head of state, thinker, and the first president of the Albanian state.
13. Ismail Qemali began his political career as a translator in the Foreign Ministry of Ottoman Turkey in 1860. The second task in the administration of Ismail Qemali was in 1868, director of the Secretariat in the Legal Office in Sofia, Bulgaria, in that time was part of Ottoman Turkey.
14. Ismail Qemali then took over as deputy prefect of the Ruschuk region, a position he held for five years. In 1873, he resigned from that post.
15. Ismail Qemali was appointed Secretary-General of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1876, a task that greatly helped him to know Turkish diplomacy from within, but also from abroad. He remained in this position for a year.
16. In 1877, he suffered a sentence in his career, precisely for his patriotic activity towards Albania. Because he demanded the autonomy of Albania, he was interned for seven years in Kytahja, Anatolia. But the pressure of a part of the Turkish administration, but also the Albanian patriots, made Sultan Avdylhamiti remove his exile and release him.
17. Ismail Qemali is appointed Vali in Syria, a very high task at that time and it would be a land that is further declared as an independent state. He held this position until June 28, 1892.
18. For good work Ismail Qemali managed to become the personal advisor of Sultan Avdylhamit, at the moment when the Ottoman Empire was in its end. A task he held from 1892 to 1900. This helped him to recognize from within the Ottoman empire.
19. From all his duties as an adviser to the Sultan, it is remembered that Ismail Qemali was the one who proposed the construction of a railway that started in Durrës and ended in Istanbul. A work that did not build then and continues to not be even today.
20. On May 1, 1900, Sultan Avdylhamiti for work and good qualities appointed him the Governor-General of Libya, a very high task of that time. But Ismail Qemali left for Tripoli, but on the road he returns and goes to Paris, London, or elsewhere, to work on Albanian problems.
21. In 1908, with the help of the Albanians of northern Macedonia, Ismail Qemali elected a deputy in the district of Berat but in fact, he was a representative of all Albania. During the time that Ismail Qemali was a member of the first Parliament of modern Turkey, he has considerable weight. Ismail Qemali's speeches in the Assembly were oratorical and wise, inciting opponents to attack unjustly.
22. Ismail Qemali stood out in 1871, precisely in the heart of Ottoman Turkey, that there he presented three requests for the opening of Albanian schools in Albania. Although working as part of the Ottoman administration, he participated in a collection of Albanian renaissances in Istanbul to make the Albanian alphabet.
23. In 1865 Ismail Qemali started working for the independence of Albania, thus making another club in the capital of the empire, Istanbul, together with Konstantin Kristoforidhi.
24. The security service of the Turkish administration reveals that while Ismail Qemali was working for Turkey, he had drafted a document for the project of an independent Albania. This was also one of the best causes of the persecution that was undertaken against him.
25. Ismail Qemali died in mysterious circumstances in Perugia, Italy, a few moments before giving a press conference. To date, there is no explicit variant of his death, but now doubts have been cast.
26. The biggest suspicion is thought to be that he was poisoned in food by Greek and Italian anti-Albanian, which saw Ismail Qemali as a personality with great influence on Albanian problems.
27. The body of Ismail Qemali was kept in Perugia for two weeks after his death, with the idea of embalming. But this added to the suspicions of poisoning, as they removed all the internal organs to eliminate any signs of the autopsy.
28. Ismail Qemali has been buried twice. The first time in February 1919 in Kanina, the place of his birth and ancestors, and the second time on November 28 in Vlora, 1932.
29. The second burial was made by the special command of King Ahmet Zogu, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Independence. Zogu and the party of that time paid tribute to the body of Ismail Qemali since it remains in the grave that is still in Vlora today.
30. The ceremony for the reburial of the remains of Ismail Qemali takes place as the biggest ceremony organized by Ahmet Zogu throughout his time. He has done his best to preserve the father of the nation.
31. Ismail Qemali is one of the political and state personalities who wrote his memories. But his memories have never been published in full.
32. The biggest accusation towards Ismail Qemali is that he conceived after independence the division of Albania into cantons, a model like Switzerland. According to the people who made this accusation, this would be done to make it easier for the neighbors to separate Albania.
33. For the first time in the history of the Albanian state, it is discussed to remove the name of Ismail Qemali from an institution. This scandal happened exactly when the rector of the University of Vlora, Tanush Shaska, proposed that the name of Ismail Qemali should be removed from the University of Vlora. This proposal provoked a very harsh reaction from politics, media, intellectuals, and the public.
34. The most active descendants of Ismail Qemali today are Darling Vlora, Nedim Vlora, and Ariana Vlora. Most of the other offspring have died, while the rest are in emigration many years ago.
35. Qamil bej Vlora (1895-1950) was the last son and child of Ismail Qemali. Qamil was the only son of Ismail Qemali who did not leave Albania. Although he did not engage in politics, in 1946, after refusing to cooperate with the communist regime, he was arrested under the pretext of "illegal possession of weapons", after a revolver was found, more ancient than functional. In prison, he contracted tuberculosis and died at the age of 55.
36. Ismail Vlora and Xhevdet Vlora were the two grandchildren of Ismail Qemali. They were polyglots who worked for the bread of the mouth. Ismail Qemali's two grandchildren refused to cooperate with the communist regime and were thus forced to work in different villages by manual labor.
37. Ismail Qemali was married twice and in both cases to a Greek citizen. For the first time with a widow from Konica, with whom he had no children after she died during childbirth together with the girl. He married for the second time in 1886, to Kleoniqi Surmeli, the daughter of a Greek nobleman from the province of Edërne.
38. Ismail Qemali was forced to kidnap his second wife because the laws forbade the marriage of a Muslim to an Orthodox one. As Ismail Qemali writes in his memoirs, on the advice of his father-in-law he kidnapped the future bride, while the marriage was officially recognized in 1886, he was 23 years old.
39. From the second marriage Ismail Qemali had 9 children, three daughters, and six sons. The girls were called Myvedet, Alije, Ylvie. The boys were Mahmud Bey, Tahir Bey, Et'hem Bey, Xhevdet Bey, Qazim Bey, and Qamil Bey.
40. Ismail Qemali's speech on the afternoon of November 28, 1912, Vlora, lasted about five minutes. The speech contained 450 words and was interrupted several times by the calls of people who had gathered in the town square. The longest interruption of Ismail Qemali's speech is at the moment when he pulls out the flag and waves it in the air and says "Long live Free Albania!".
41. Ismail Qemali's speech at the Declaration of Independence was read in Albanian. It mentions the Declaration of Independence, the war of Skanderbeg, the sufferings of the Albanians, and finally, a prayer to God to protect the Albanians and Free Albania.
42. The most special sentence of Ismail Qemali's speech in Vlora is: “God Almighty,… admit that from now on I will be the first martyr of the Homeland, just as I had the honor and fortune to be the first to kiss him and make it wave-free. Our flag, in our free homeland."
43. The first decision of Ismail Qemali after the signing of the Declaration of Independence and taking the role as Prime Minister, was to send the news to all regions of the country and send telegrams to major countries for recognition of independence.
44. Ismail Qemali is the son of Mahmut bey Vlora who was punished several times by Sublime Porte and Hadije Hanemi from the well-known Alizoti family of Gjirokastra. Ismail Qemali had a sister and a younger brother, Sulejmani. Sulejman died during the exile of his family by the Turks in Thessaloniki, around 1871.
45. The copy of the Declaration of Independence document, published in 2007, is thought to belong to Lef Nosi, who in the first Albanian government as Minister of Post and Telegraph. The Albanian text of the Declaration of Independence consists of only four lines and they are the ones where it says: "Albania to be separate, free and independent". Then follow two lines in Old Turkish.
46. From the text and proclamation of Independence, many names have been removed by the communist regime from the signatories of independence. But in the proclamation, some passages have also been removed.
47. The cabinet of the government of Vlora consisted of 10 members. Prime Minister - Ismail Qemali, Deputy Prime Minister - Nikoll Kaçorri, Minister of Foreign Affairs - Myfit Libohova, Minister of War - Mehmet Pasha Dërralla, Minister of Justice - Petro Poga, Minister of Education - Luigj Gurakuqi, Minister of Finance - Abdi Toptani, Minister of Agriculture - Pandeli Cale, Post Telegraph - Lef Nosi.
48. To this day there is no photograph from the moment of the Declaration of Independence on November 28, 1912. The reasons are still unknown. While the photo that shows the raising of the flag in Vlora by Ismail Qemali does not belong to November 28, 1912, but to December 1, 1912.
49. The Declaration of Independence of Albania was not recognized on November 28, 1912, by Europe. Albania's independence from European countries was recognized only in 1913, also this year Ismail Qemali was recognized as Prime Minister of Albania.
Referring to an article of Tirana Observer.