Isa Boletini, the fearless hero of Albania
Isa Boletini was a prominent patriot, popular strategist, organizer, and leader of movements for liberation and national unification. He was born in the village of Boletin in Shala, in a family with patriotic traditions. He participated in the Assembly of Ferizaj (1908), of Junik (1912), and in the Declaration of Independence of Albania. He also was a member of the delegation that, under the leadership of Ismail Qemali, went to London to defend the rights of the Albanian state and nation. Also he was organizer of the armed resistance against the new Serbo-Montenegrin invaders (1912-1913) and the rebel forces in Central Albania in 1914-1915.
Isa Boletini connected his life and that of his family with the fate of the homeland, the love, and loyalty to which he expressed with the words: "I am good when Albania is good".
Isa Boletini had 14 children (9 boys and 5 girls), with three wives: Hamida, Qamila, and Gjylë. Isa Boletini's mother, Ajshe Potera- Boletini was born in the first half of the century. XIX in the village of Zhabar i Poshtëm and died in 1915 in Mitrovica. She married Adem Boletini, who was known for his bravery and generosity, not only in Shala of Bajgora, but also beyond. It is said that father Haliti, when he accompanied Aisha as a bride, gave her a “kobure”.
The Boletini family was subjected to savage and barbaric persecution, causing lsa Boletini's sons, nephews and granddaughters to be persecuted, shot and imprisoned. The same thing happened with the rest of Isa Boletini's family who were in Albania. Where in 1 943 Isa's son, Adem Boletini was killed. Also some of the nephews of this family suffered in prisons and internments.
As a result of this policy pursued by the regimes of Belgrade and Tirana in the span of 80 years,15 people from lsa Boletin's family were killed or executed and ten others suffered for years in prisons and internments.
The communist regime of Tirana, following and holding the same attitude towards the Boletini family as that of Belgrade, did not give lsa Boletini the place he deserved in the History of Albania. As a result of this attitude, until 1962 he held only the order "Skanderbeg" and in that year, in the framework of the 50th Anniversary of Independence, he was awarded the high title "Hero of the People". After that, about 20 years later in 1981, a magnificent monument was erected to him in the city of Shkodra. At the inauguration, the two nephews of lsa Boletini, Enisi and lsai, who lived in Tirana, were not invited.
Isa Boletini was killed during a shoot-out in Podgorica under unclear circumstances. There are different stories about his death in Podgorica on 23 or 24 January 1916.
BUT what’s the truth? How was Isa Boletini killed?
According to a relative of Isa Boletini, known also as “Tafili’s story”, the grandson of Isa Boletini, reflected in Skënder Luarasi's book "Isa Boletini", published in 1971, in 1915, it says: “About 80 gendarmes were on both sides of the Ribnica bridge, the prefectures in the opposite, near the Catholic church. My two brothers and I, according to the announcement, were returning home to my uncle (Isa). The patrol at the top of the bridge stopped us. The gendarmes asked: Who is Isa Boletini ?! But the officer intervenes saying: Do not shoot, it is none of these! ”. At that time Isa Boletini, had taken his first steps on the planks of the Ribnica bridge. An officer asks the Albanians to hand over their weapons, but Isa Boletini acts. I previously thought it was Pero Buriqi from Vasovic. Immediately flame to flame also responds Isa Boletini and loaded with two revolvers in his hands. Within minutes, all of them, Isa Boletini and two sons, Halili and Zahidi, who was a student in Vienna, two grandchildren, Jonuzi and Halili, Hajdar Selim Radisheva, Isa's brother-in-law, Hajdari's brother's son, Idriz Bilimi and Misin Bala from Isniqi were dead on the ground.”
Who took Isa Boletini’s gun after he got killed?
The soldier who killed Isa Boletini took the gun as a trophy and it still stands in the Gjillas family as a sign of triumph. The son of the man who killed Isa Boletini, Milovan Gjillas, became one of the leaders of communist Yugoslavia, a close friend of Josip Broz Tito, and later his political opponent. Milovan Gjillasi, therefore, proudly boasted that his father had killed the Albanian nationalist Isa Boletini. In Montenegro, it was a tradition that when the family of the murdered and the killer agree, the killer returns the stolen weapon to the family of the murdered. Perhaps it is the case that Montenegro will hand over Isa Boletini's cobra to the Kosovo authorities. This will probably be an act of reconciliation between Kosovo and Montenegro, which nowadays are living in peace.
In front of the “Boletin tower”…!
It’s not only the greatness of this fortress but also the pain that was through those walls, which holds within a part of the pride of the history of Mitrovica, Kosovo, and the Albanian nation. It has been burned and rebuilt six times. THE FACT that it was constructed over and over again shows the spiritual value on it and the power it had on showing the Albanian resistance towards the enemy.
Don't worry, you don't need to wear a 'plis' to look as patriotic as Isa. For that we created T-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, mugs and a variety of products with Isa Boletini themed. Here you can find all the products we made with passion, in honor of Isa Boletini, this legend that dedicated his life to Albania.