Bajram Curri

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This page is about the Albanian national hero - for the town named after him, see Bajram Curri (town).

Bajram Curri (1862 – March 29, 1925) was an Albanian chieftain, politician and activist who struggled for the independence of Albania, later struggling for Kosovo's incorporation into it following the 1913 Treaty of London. He was posthumously given the title Hero of Albania.

Biography[edit]

Curri was born in Yakova (modern-day Gjakova), in the Rumelia Province of the Ottoman Empire. Whilst the present-day regions of Albania and Serbia were under Ottoman control, Curri represented the interests of the Albanians. He successfully fought in 1912 against the Young Turks. During World War I, he organized a guerrilla unit as part of the Kachak movement through the Committee for the National Defence of Kosovo which he was a member.[1] In 1893 he participated in a revolt in Kosovo led by Haxhi Zeka, which was quickly suppressed by the Ottoman army.[2] In 1899 he became a founding member of Zeka's League of Peja.[3] In 1906 he became one of the founders of the Yakova branch of the Secret Committee for the Liberation of Albania.[4]

Like many educated Albanians at the time, Curri initially supported the public aims of the Young Turks including their promises to respect Albanian traditions and right to bear arms, and for this reason Curri together with Nexhip Draga assisted them in the Young Turk Revolution. Their repressive activities and broken promises, however, led Curri to resume militant activities against the Ottoman authorities.[5] He had an active role in the Albanian Revolt of 1912, fighting alongside Hasan Prishtina, Isa Boletini, Themistokli Gërmenji and others against the Turks.[6]

In 1915 he became a founding member of the Committee for the National Defence of Kosovo.[7] This organization later established relations with the Comintern (which gave support for the self-determination of nations), with Curri later saying in December 1921 to the Soviet minister in Vienna that, "The Albanian people await impatiently the determination of their frontiers not on the basis of brutal and bloody historical considerations, but rather on the basis of the situation which actually exists today. With the firm conviction that Soviet Russia will be able in the near future to determine the boundaries of Europe, especially in the Balkans, in a just manner, I pray that the great Soviet government will grant our just requests at that time."[8]

Following the Congress of Lushnja in 1920 he became a minister without portfolio in the Albanian cabinet.[9] In Albania's politics he identified himself with the left-wing forces of Fan Noli against Ahmet Zogu.[10] In December 1921 he became Minister of War in the unstable government of Hasan Prishtina, replacing Zogu. Within days, however, Zogu assembled his fellow Mati tribesmen and overthrew the government, forcing Prishtina, Curri and others to flee northwards.[11] In March 1922 Curri and Prishtina began a revolt against Zogu which failed to succeed owing to the efforts of the British ambassador to Albania, Harry Eyres, who convinced one of the rebel commanders to surrender.[12] Two years later, having stayed in the meantime in the mountains in order to evade Zogist forces, he issued the call to arms which began the Bourgeois-Democratic Revolution of June 1924 against Zogu.[13]

Following the defeat of the revolution Curri continued his opposition to Zogu. On March 29, 1925 he was surrounded by Zogist troops while hiding in a cave near Dragobia. Rather than face capture he committed suicide.[14] Years later Dragobia was renamed after him.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jacques, Edwin E. The Albanians: An Ethnic History from Prehistoric Times to the Present Vol. 2. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. 1995. p. 383. Elsie, Robert. A Biographical Dictionary of Albanian History. London: I.B. Tauris. 2012. p. 93.
  2. ^ Malcolm, Noel. Kosovo: A Short History. New York: New York University Press. 1999. p. 232.
  3. ^ Elsie, p. 93.
  4. ^ Vickers, Miranda. The Albanians: A Modern History. New York: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd. 1999. p. 51.
  5. ^ Elsie, p. 93, Malcolm pp. 237-238.
  6. ^ Pollo, Stefanaq & Arben Puto. The History of Albania: From its Origins to the Present Day. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. 1981. p. 144. Vickers, pp. 65-66.
  7. ^ Vickers, p. 91.
  8. ^ Pano, Nicholas C. The People's Republic of Albania. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins Press. 1968. pp. 27-28.
  9. ^ Elsie, p. 93.
  10. ^ Vickers, p. 101. Pollo & Puto, pp. 187-188.
  11. ^ Vickers, pp. 104-105.
  12. ^ Vickers, p. 106. Malcolm, p. 277.
  13. ^ Pollo & Puto, p. 192. Vickers, p. 111.
  14. ^ Elsie, p. 93.