The President: Rifat Berisha’s lifetime engagement was the union with Albania

Prishtina, May 17th 2019 – The President of the country, Hashim Thaçi, participated today at the Memorial Academy held in honour of the hero Rifat Berisha.

President Thaçi said that in the eve of the twentieth anniversary of the liberation of Kosovo, we are remembering a bright figure of our national history, the vice president of the Bujan Conference, the vice president of the Kosovo Antifascist Council.

“A just lifetime political and national conviction has a foundation in each of the personalities of our national movement. The village of Berisha, was the birthplace of Tahir Berisha, Rifat’s uncle, one of the wisest and mature people our nation has grown. His uncle was a distributor of Albanian books during the dark times of the Yugoslav kingdom, and he was connected to the most eminent patriots and intellectuals of that time, such as Hasan Prishtina, Bajram Curri, Shtjefën Gjeçovi and others,” said President Thaçi and added that the initial source of inspiration and patriotic education for Rifat Berisha was this mature man with immense natural intelligence.

The head of state also added that education in Albania further strengthened his patriotic characteristics and shaped Rifat Beisha’s character.

“Despite years spent in Albania, he never forgot Kosovo, which under the Yugoslav kingdom enjoyed no rights whatsoever. As a junior officer, Rifat served with the Border Army,” said the President.

Knowing every inch of the Albanian borders, Rifat so in close detail the division and fragmentation of the Albanian lands, said the President.

That was the most tragic border in the Balkans, or as he used to say, a border “with foreign pyramids in Albanian lands.”

“As a sub-prefect of the Gjilan district, Rifat Berisha was formally part of the central government of Tirana of the time, but in his heart and acts he was a true antifascist. During this time, he secretly cooperated with the Albanian antifascists, backed and supported the Albanian population displaced from the south eastern lands, under Bulgarian occupation. Rifeta Berisha very early noticed the deceptions of the Serbian and Yugoslav communists. At the Bujan conference, where he was elected as its vice president, Rifat Berisha insisted that the resolution was not signed without the clear inclusion in it the principle of the right for self-determination and union of Kosovo with Albania,” said President Thaci

The decisions of the Bujan Conference and establishment of the national antifascist liberation councils all around Kosovo, were, according to the President, the one and only engagement of Rifat Berisha, until the end of the Second World War, an engagement based on hope and faith for unification with Albania.

“But, the official Belgrade had planned to disrespect the political will of Kosovo Albanians. The annulment of the Bujan resolution and proclamation of military administration on February 8th 1945 are the most heinous and anti-Albanian documents of the Serbian communists,” said the President.

The head of state added that there is nothing more absurd and paradoxical than to align on the right side of the global history and to suffer the hardest in the national plan.

“This happened to Kosovo. Heroic resistance of the Shaban Polluzha’s brigade was ended in pools of blood. The Kosovo Albanian antifascists who did not become tools of the Serbian and Yugoslav government, became persecuted, murdered, imprisoned and so on,” said the President.

Rifat Berisha, even though a member of the republican parliament, and chairman of executive commissions, according to President Thaçi, never accepted to be turned and broken down.

“Together with a number of patriots, he established the Albanian National Front, with aim to organise a nationwide revolt against the Yugoslav communist regime. Seeing that he had remained a pure patriot and his influence in the masses, after being followed for a long time, the military tries to arrest him. In fact, May 17th 1949 clearly showed the ideal which he had been raised with. He would never fall alive in the hand of OZNA. To the contrary, Rifat and his faithful fighters for the national rights, chose armed resistance,” said President Thaçi.

Surrounded by the large military and police forces, President Thaçi said that Rifat Berisha, together with Mustafë Berisha, Islam and Ibrahim Berisha, fell at the trenches of honour, resisting until the last second of his life.

“The armed conflict with the Serbian government showed best Rifat’s ideals. His aim to cross into Albania did not come true,” added the President.

A special chapter of pain and sacrifice, according to President Thaçi, are the living members of the Berisha, men and women, sons and daughters.

“They were systematically murdered, imprisoned, dismissed from work, deprived of their right to schooling, irrespective of their gender, and a number of the family members crossed into Albania. It took the communist system to fall in Yugoslavia for Kosovo to be liberated, that Rifat Berisha’s image to be publicly honoured. The times when Shaban Polluzha, Mehment Gradica, Rifat Berisha, Imer Berisha and other personalities were excommunicated has ended once and for all,” said President Thaçi.

Through this academy, said the President, we are serving the highest institutional honours to this patriot and unwavering love for his nation.

Based on his constitutional and legal competencies, President Thaçi, bestowed the honour of “Hero of Kosovo” to the patriot Rifat Berisha.