Cham Ballad

The rainbow, like a tearful greeting of goodbye,
Disappeared beyond the distances,
Over the crests’s flame,
through the rain…
Beyond the distances disappeared inflamed Chameria
And all our streets lead to north.
Roars the Mediterranean wind over the ancient Epirotic lands,
over the dearly ancestral lands.
In the abandoned pastures are grazing the thunderclaps.
The unharvested olive-groves thunder like the waves along the hillocks.
And everywhere the Cham land,
covered by the clouds,
groans muted in blood and tears,
left lonesome,
without Godhead.
We are shown the way by the bullets that whistle in darkness.
We are lightened the way by the flames that have swallowed up all earth.
Behind our backs the windstorm hits the ramshackle house doors.
And the streets prolong and prolong in north.
We, a muhaajir population, walk through the rain…
Goodbye, Chameria!

Bilal Xhaferri
Albanian Dissident Writer

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The big Cham concussion

Shefki Hysa is the author of many narratives and story books in which echoes the troublous Cham wind and where people’s fate is connected with their land like the roots thrust deeply into stones but also like the life fingers which blooded, they grasp reality. As the author, he likes realism and the truth, no matter how shocking it is and that’s why he becomes its historian, strong witness, and feeder of collective memory. Aforetime I have written that in meanwhile the massacres in Kosovo are so close and still vivid, when “The Balkans’ executioner”, the Serbian Milosevic, the last communist dictator, keeps on being judged for anti-humanism crimes to the Court of Hag (in TV screens was often displayed like in the Bible, the escape of Kosova population, the expulsion from their Dardan lands since the world was created), we are haunted to another big expulsion of Albanians in the Illyrian south, the most ancient as well as cruel, although it didn’t have international televisions as witnesses nor the worlds army were congregated, NATO, to punish the evil. And so the Cham nationalities were forced from their Epirus land, houses were set on fire, people were slaughtered together with livestock, olive-groves and the future were destroyed, and the national mythology was being killed. Their terror peregrinated towards the mother-land and then came like another massacre the cruel deaf-forgetting. Nobody used to say nothing, even though after three thousand years, in the mythical Balkans, another Troy was set on fire in modern times. In meanwhile, the Chams found in their homeland a dictatorship, which not only didn’t ask to protect the rights of its compatriots, but contrary, it didn’t let them in peace, it persecuted them even more than the others, devised enemies and imprisoned them. In order to meet their dreams, Chams people among their motherland communist prisons joined the Kosova’s people to elope from hither to thither but, the only thing they touched were the rusty manacle… In this way, while Albania was cruelly fragmented by the others, Albanians did fragment inside by themselves. Later on was difficult to remember Kosova and Chameria, nothing was said about them in geographic scholastic prints, history didn’t dare, conscious was stifled…
Nonetheless, collective memory, secretly strengthen and sharpen the right resistance, which flowed like a subterranean river. Literature achieved to bring out some anonymous songs about splitted lands, any tremulous Cham wail or a blustery Kosova’s elegy. Folk-dancing’s recalled apocalypse with their hullabaloo, while writers tried to create metaphoric possibilities or to say something about Kosova and Chameria through Aesop’s language. I remind that, if the poet from Kosava, Ali Podrimja, would go in Chameria after the state border, like in our big sorrow and there would write hermetic poems which he could secure triple: from the Albanian dictatorship, the Serbian conqueror and from the Chauvinist Greeks. Here, in the remaining Albania, Cham writers felt difficulties and prosecution, their books were prohibited, and they set themselves in prisons, eloped, remained silent, waited… Now the Cham voice has came back from its sorrow ember, covered with the ash of the ancient obliteration, to shines with Promethean fire and the world is always seeing and feeling more and more its illumination and its heat, it will be burned without quenched for the Truth and Justice… and a massacring population deserves to be given back their land and their spirit, wealth, songs and the future… A shocking deep crying is the literary creativity of Shefki Hysa, bearer of the tragedy of its population, to have the mythical Balkans finding its calmness…

Visar Zhiti
Albanian Writer

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Cultural Community of Chameria

The Program

Cultural Community of Chameria (Bilal Xhaferri Cultural Association) is an international nongovernmental organization with a humanitarian character, created from the voluntary union of the Albanian and foreign friends and well-wishers of the remarkable dissident writer Bilal Xhaferri.
This organization, founded in 1993 by an initiatory group of artists, journalists, writers and other representatives of the cerebral elites, was legally approved with the no. 28 decree of the Minister of Culture, on 30 October 1994. It has been put at Albanian national culture’s service, especially at service of art, literature and Cham culture.
It has its center in Tirana and operates in all the Albanian territory, in Kosovo, in Macedonia and in all the states where are concentrated the Albanian communities, especially in USA, where Bilal Xhaferri has lived and worked until he died on 14 October 1986.
Cultural Community of Chameria (Bilal Xhaferri Cultural Association) aims to achieve these objectives:
The figure of the remarkable dissident poet, narrator, publicist and politician Bilal Xhaferri, who was infringed by the former Albanian communist dictatorship, needs to be retreated.
His name will be glorified and perpetuated in different cultural and educative institutions.
His work in poetry, prose and publicism will be collected and published.
His major work will be disseminated in the Albanian territories and also translated and published in foreign languages with the purpose to confront these Albanian values with those of the most advanced world civilizations.
The poet’s bones could return from USA to his homeland in collaboration with the Albanian state.
He was decorated as “Martyr of Democracy” and other degrees by the President of the Republic.
The publication in Albania of “Eagle’s wing” magazine, founded in Chicago by Bilal Xhaferri as an organ for the dissemination of the association’s activity, of the Albanian national issue and of the Cham ideal.
The selection, the publication and the dissemination of the young talents’ works and their encouragement in the difficult conditions of trade market to avoid the same traumas that Bilal Xhaferri had suffered.
The cultural, the artistic and the social activities of the young talents, especially the talents of the Cham community in all the fields, will be encouraged.
His works- national and international values, will be selected, published and disseminated and also put at service of Albania’s and Diaspora’s compatriots.
Artistic and folkloric groups of Cham territories will be put up.
The activity of the publishing house and printing -house “Bilal Xhaferri” will broaden and put at Albanian culture’s service.
The library “Bilal Xhaferri” will be built up.
The museum “Bilal Xhaferri” will be built up.
Chameria’s figures and personalities will be glorified.
Short films about Bilal Xhaferri’s life and work, about personalities that were near him and also other remarkable personalities of the Cham territory, will be realized.
Young talents and intellectuals of the Cham territory will be stimulated to follow state or world universities and also specialized.
The technical assistance for the Cham young talents and intellectuals will be assured through the collaboration with the western world and especially with USA.
The talented boys and girls of the Cham community will be employed in the Albanian state administration, in foreign legations and in Albanian legations in foreign countries as diplomats and ambassadors of the Albanian culture and the Cham ideal.
The association’s activity will be coordinated with the Albanian state’s structures for the realization of its objectives and purposes at service of the Albanian national issue and of the Cham ideal.
The association’s work will be coordinated with the activities of foreign governmental and nongovernmental organizations, with powerful institutions and personalities of the West in support of the Cham issue.
The association will join international organizations etc., etc.

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