Bilal Xhaferri, real name Bilal Xhaferr Hoxha, 2 November 1935 – 14 October 1986, (or 10 May 1935 - 22 August 1986,) was an Albanian poet and novelist, and a political dissident against the Albanian communist regime. He was born in Ninat, Konispol in southern Albania, and died in Chicago, USA.
Bilal Xhaferri grew up in Albania and published his first pieces of poetry and short stories in various journals in 1962-1963. He was a grandnephew of the philosopher Hasan Tahsini. His father was shot by the partisans at the end of World War II, due to his support and sympathy for Balli Kombëtar. In memory of his father, Bilal carried the last name Xhaferri instead of the family name Hoxha. During his youth he did several random jobs while showing a passion for poetry. His first book publication were "Rrugë dhe fate", (English: Roads and fates), and "Njerëz të rinj, tokë e lashtë", (English: Young people, ancient land), published in 1963 and 1967. A novel, Krastakraus, was written in 1967 but only published posthumously in 1993.
His position would decline fast after a debate with Ismail Kadare, for the last one's novel "Dasma" (The wedding). His family biography would pop up in the eyes of the communist censorship, and since then he would be a target. In 1968 he was prohibited from further publishing, and in 1969 he escaped to Greece and a year later to the USA. In 1974 he founded the emigrant Albanian magazine Krahu i Shqiponjës (English: The Eagle's Wing), which published literary and anti-communist political material. He would be target of dubious attacks, possibly from the Sigurimi agents, and died in 1986, while being hospitalized for a surgery, allegedly from Sigurimi agents in cooperation with a local Serbian doctor.
After the end of the communist regime in Albania, he was posthumously honored by the President of the Albanian Republic with the title Martyr of Democracy in 1995, "for his dedication as publicist and dissident politician in the fight against communism and dictatorship, for his deep national and democratic aspiration". On May 6, 1995, the Albanian government, in cooperation with the Bilal Xhaferri Cultural Association, made possible to rebury him in Saranda.
According to some critics and members of the Albanian League of Writers and Artists back in the time, Xhaferri was not a real dissident, he was dedicating part of his work to glorifying the communist regime in Albania, he was the one accusing Kadare that his novel "Dasma" was denigrating the socialist reality, he escaped to Greece quite easily and therefore he was much probably a Sigurimi agent himself, and that his work is being overvalued.
Ag Apolloni, would write in an article published by "Gazeta Shqiptare" on 19 May 2013: "Dasma" was a novel that "denigrated the Albanian woman", "revisionist novel" and therefore "failed". These epithets that Xhaferi would issue with anger, would be interpreted by some scholars as dissidence. Accusing someone of "revisionism" back in the communist era would mean showing up in the eyes of the Communist Party, because the word "revisionist" in the communist doctrine would be used to label traitors....So, Bilal Xhaferi protected communism from the revisionist Kadare, and is claimed as a dissident today. This is the limit of paradox. Alternatively, one can clarify all questions regarding the "dissidence" of Bilal Xhaferi: Why, after fleeing from Albania and settled in America, he didn't become a dissident? He lived there until a year after the death of Enver Hoxha and didn't fire any dissident cracker to inform the world about what was happening in communist Albania.
Ardian Ndoca, would raise questions about his relationship with Sigurimi, and the real size of his work and contribution to Albanian literature. In his article "False expectations in literature" (Albanian: Pritmet e rreme në letërsi), published on "Drini" magazine on 04/05/2013, he would state: What was ruining a little these mythifications, was the fact that this young Cham writer, although his father was shot in 1945 as anti-communist, had arrived so far as to take part in meetings of the League of Writers and Artists of Albania, and had even published two volumes of poetry before his escape to Greece! ...Later, a large part of the creativity of Xhaferi came out to consist of novels and stories fragments, sometimes fragments of just a few pages, however, the "fragment" that really made him famous inside the "literary" environments of Tirana, was his criticism during a session of the League, on April 1968 to the novel "Dasma" of Kadare...There are some scholars and critics today, who want to convince us that Bilal Xhaferi, which father getting shot did not prevent him to publish two volumes of poetry during communism, and was present in four over-controlled bodies of PPSh: "Zëri i Rinisë", "Drita", "Nëntori", and "Ylli", and did not even stopped him from participating in the League's sessions, was somehow seriously ruined by the communist spirit criticism to the "Dasma" novel of Kadare!.
- "Rrugë dhe fate" (English: Roads and fates), (1963)
- "Njerëz të rinj, tokë e lashtë" (English: Young People, Ancient Land) – summary of stories, (1966), OCLC: 40893965
- "Lirishta e kuqe" (English: The Red Glade) - novel, (1967)
- "Dashuri e përgjakur" (English: Bloody Love) – romantic novel, (1992), OCLC: 475228763
- "Krastakraus" - novel, (1967), (Published post mortem 1993), OCLC: 35559442
- "Eja trishtim" (English: Sadness, come) - poetry, (1995),
- "Ra Berati" (English: Berat surrendered) - novel, (1995), ISBN 9994390457
- "Përtej largësive", (English: Beyond distance) – prose and articles (1996), ISBN 9789992719398
- Uragani i meteorëve: Bilal Xhaferri dhe Ismail Kadare ballë për ballë (Hurricane of meteors: Bilal Xheferri in front of Ismail Kadare), Fatime Kulli, Skopje, 2004, ISBN 9789989222771
- Diplomacia e vetëmohimit: zhvillime të çështjes çame (The Diplomacy of self-denial: developments on the Cham issue), Shefki Hysa, Tirana, 2008, ISBN 9789995665036
- Të fala nga Çamëria (Salute from Chameria), Namik Selmani, Tirana, 2009, ISBN 9789995633288
- Disidentët e rremë (False Dissidents), Sadik Bejko, Tirana, 2007, ISBN 9789994356195
- Një përmendore për poetin disident Bilal Xhaferri [A monument for the dissident poet Bilal Xhaferri] (in Albanian), Gazeta Shqiptare Online, 14/05/10, retrieved 2013-09-27
- Robert Elsie (March 19, 2010). Historical Dictionary of Albania (2 ed.). Scarecrow Press. p. 489. ISBN 978-0810861886. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
- Debati mes dy shkrimtarëve, Kadare: U bëre dhe ti Bilal të flasësh! [Debate between the two writers, Kadare: Bilal, even you are talking!] (in Albanian), AlbDreams.net, March 24, 2012, retrieved 2013-09-26
- HYQMET ZANE (September 1, 2013), "Si u ekzekutua Bilal Xhaferri" [How Bilal Xhaferri got executed], Gazeta Nacional (in Albanian) (Tirana) (214): 2, 3, retrieved 2013-09-27, "On May 6, 1995 his remains and reburied in Saranda, Albania...
On November 25, 1978, in New York City, he got attacked and wounded with a knife from unknown people...
In 1981, the editorial board of the magazine "Eagle's Wing" with all his manuscripts and other writings was destroyed by fire...
In cooperation, as said, with a Serbian doctor who worked in this hospital, the person entered Bilal's room and hit him with a strong metallic item in the head, exactly in the surgery wound, causing complete death..."
- Noela Yzeiri (November 1, 2012), In memoriam – Bilal Xhaferri, një trokëllimë qiellore! [In memoriam - Bilal Xhaferi, a heavenly clatter!] (in Albanian), Gazette of Durres, retrieved 2013-09-26, "...with the medal "Martyr of Democracy", with the motivation: "For commitment as a publicist and politician in the fight against communism and dictatorship, for profoundly patriotic and democratic aspirations.""
- Ardian Ndreca (04/05/2013), Pritmet e rreme në letërsi [False expectations in literature] (in Albanian), Revista Drini, retrieved 28.09.2013
- Ag Apolloni (19 May 2013), Bilal Xhaferri disident? Ai i tha Kadaresë revizionist [Bilal Xhaferri a dissident? He called Kadare a "revisionist"] (in Albanian), Gazeta Shqiptare, retrieved 2013-09-28
- Ag Apolloni (19 May 2013), Bilal Xhaferri disident? Ai i tha Kadaresë revizionist [Bilal Xhaferri a dissident? He called Kadare a "revisionist"] (in Albanian), InfoArkiv, retrieved 28.09.2013