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March 2004     



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The Ivanaj Brothers
Martin Ivanaj, Mirash Ivanaj
(1888-1940), (1891-1953)


click on the picture for another site


The very gifted Ivanaj brothers are still well remembered by Albanians because they exemplified dedication, integrity and trustworthiness. It would be good for Albania and the Balkans if these qualities could resurface in Albanian - and Balkan - political life, regardless of religion, party, gender or ethnic background.

Martin Ivanaj was born in Podgorica (Montenegro) in 1888 and died in Istanbul in 1940. He was awarded a doctorate in Jurisprudence by the University of Rome in 1921. During the early 1930s in Albania he was Attorney-General.

Mirash Ivanaj also was born in Podgorica (Montenegro), in 1891 and died in prison in Tirana in 1953. He was awarded degrees in Literature and Jurisprudence from Rome University in 1921 and 1923. He became Minister of Education of King Zog's government from 1935 to 1937. From 1937 to 1939 he was the head of the Council of State which advised Zog. He was exiled with Zog when Mussolini annexed Albania on 7 April 1939.

Mirash returned to Albania in October 1945 hoping to continue his work in education as a teacher, where his talents were desperately needed after the war and occupations. He also wanted to be re-united with his fine and valuable personal library.

Mirash's diary describes his difficulties getting back to Albania:-

Monday 24 September 1945, 8:30 - left Istanbul.

25 September, 8:00 - arrived Svilengrad.
9:00 - left Svilengrad.
12:00 - arrived Plodvil. Russian soldiers questioned me... Some adventures with them...

26 September, 14:30 - arrived Saranvor. Slept there.

27 September, 9:30 - left Saranvor.
13:30 -arrived Sofia
23:00 - left Sofia for Skup: railway carriage without windows...dark..

27 September, 2:00 - arrived Skup. Problems finding a room.

28 September - changed dollars in bank...
17:00 - departure for Bitolj. Adventures at station with Partisan customs official... Got a place in the Goods Van...
29 September, 10:00 - arrived Bitolj. Took carriage to find the Albanian authorities. One of them invited me to dinner... He gave some official 20 Turkish pounds to avoid trouble in crossing Yugoslavia. To Albanian Mission about wheat transport. Slept in Hotel Sollun (Selanic) only two hours because no alarm clock. Got up at midnight, left hotel at 3:00...Went to goods siding. Waited there 2 hrs. Left at 5:00.

Sunday 30 September 1945 - left with military wheat transport to Elbasan.
5:00 - Ohri. Into Yugoslav truck...Arrived Strug. Crossed Yugoslav border without incident - but checks on Albanian side took 1½ hrs. from 21:00 - 22:30. Ate
in the van....Then we left - but were stuck in the cold mountains for 5 hours because the engine broke down...

Monday 1 October 1945 - 12:00 - arrived Elbasan. Fahri Rusi gave me 20-Napoleon bill! Left in a small car with a Partisan officer.
14:00 - arrived Tirana. A Partisan escorted me to Hotel Continental. Dhimiter Evangjeli, Nikolla Ivanaj and Gjergj Kokoshi came later to see me..

2 October - Qemal Butka's mother and sister came to see me.

6 October - Left hotel and went to Sali Tagani's house. Our house was de-requisitioned from the government but Nikolla Ivanaj and his family were living there. Government provided everything to clear house. Part of library had been saved for me in National Library building. Today I was supposed to meet General Enver Hoxha: couldn't find him.

8 October 11:00 - met Enver Hoxha. He sounded soft, polite and patriotic as befits a leader of 50,000 Albanians. Pleased with interview. Put in a word for Qemal's mother.

At this point the diary ends.

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He was arrested on May 15, 1947 on virtually no grounds whatever; there was no evidence or likelihood of any risk from him to the new Communist government of Albania.

But he was swept up in the purge of intellectuals, "bourgeois", liberals and democrats. Not to mention that the new dictator Enver Hoxhas had had his scholarship in France terminated by Mirash when he was Minister of Education:

"Kingdom of Albania, Department of Education, Tirana - February 6th, 1934:
Notice: Scholarship of student Enver Hoxha to cease at the end of March this year.
- Mirash Ivanaj,
Minister of Education."

This fateful decision was based on the fact that Enver Hoxha was a very bad student. He had not taken any exams for three years and was considered to be wasting Albanian public money. So Enver Hoxha had his revenge:-

"Accused Ivanaj, Mirash, the son of Doda and Zoga, age 57, indicted as follows:-

A strong supporter of the pro-Fascist Zogist government in his capacity as Minister of Education, his zeal and dedication to the Royalist cause was rewarded in April 1939 with the position of Head of the Council of State.

During the Occupation he fled to Greece together with the Royal clique and from there to Turkey, where he was in the pay of foreign operatives such as the English agent Sterling. He formed a group in Jerusalem to further Anglo-American interests in Palestine. He returned to Albania as an Anglo-American agent in 1945 in order to foment resistance and terrorism against the legitimate government of the Communist Party of Albania. Associated with Kost Boshnjaku, Ali Bakiu, Gjergj Kokoshi and others, he plotted the overthrow of the Government of the Albanian Socialist People's Republic."

Born in polyglot Montenegro where Turkish, Albanian, Croatian, Vlach and Serbian were all spoken, Mirash Ivanaj wrote in Albanian, Serbo-Croat and Italian. "The Human Epic" is a cycle of poems apparently composed by both brothers Martin and Mirash in October 1908 when Mirash was 17. It was written in Serbo-Croat and was translated into Albanian by Lazer Radi (author of a book "The Mysteries of a Minister" dedicated to Mirash Ivanaj). Here is one poem from it:-


Poison ivy marches from my grave
As the wooden cross slowly decays
A timeless shield above past misery
A living fence protecting what once was me

Creeper rooting in cold wood-rot
Couch-grass tangling on the mound
Corpse that neither knows nor cares
Whether violets bloom or not

Withered grass the colour of death
Mouldering fence that someone bought
Humble weeds with deadly leaves:
Life poisoned by unspoken thought.

ng Mirash's papers there was also found a three-act drama "Il fuoco di Sant' Elmo" ("Saint Elmo's Fire") for a cast of 16, on 111 typewritten pages.
One of the most remarkable manuscripts is an account of the flight of King Zog from Albania, describing the 24 hours it took before the Royal party arrived in Greece in April 1939.


Light and darkness '39 -
So I mourn the king's departure,
So I yearn for what can't be,
So the longing consumes me...

The following poem from 1953 was given by Mirash to Arjan Çarçani, a fellow-prisoner who was with him in Tirana hospital as he lay dying:-


Farewell O life, farewell O world!
Ploughed with poison, soaked with tears,
Ground with flesh, kneaded with blood -
O dreamworld strangling me for food.

Executioners, what is your joy ?
O jailers always watching me,
What kind of heart or soul have you ?
What 'heart' is you cannot know!

In my whole life I never laughed,
From birth till now just misery
And bitterness, tears and lament -
Such is the time that I have spent.

God, how can you bear to see the ruin
'Your' creatures make of what you made ?
Or have you handed your control
To any strong man with no soul ?


His death was strange. He died mysteriously, neither in prison nor at home, neither free nor in prison, neither amongst friends nor alone.

Click here to visit The Ivanaj Foundation web site.

With thanks to Drita Ivanaj the daughter of Dr Martin Ivanaj for sending me this article below:

E Merkure, 28 Janar 2004 ( January, 28 2004)


Jeta e te medhenjeve eshte epokale "Dr. Mirash Ivanaj, emer i bardhe si debora, te cilit rinia shqiptare i mban ne zemer nje vend mirenjohje "

Mirash Ivanaj një ndër atdhetarët dhe personalitetet më të shquara të kombit, njohës i 11 gjuhëve të huaja, me dy fakultete të kryera në Romë, atë të letërsisë dhe të jurispondencës, ministër arsimi në kohën e Mbretit Zog, dënohet dhe persekutohet nga regjimi komunist, gjersa vdes në burg. Ky personalitet i kulturës kombëtare është edhe poet i talentuar.

Libri i tij i shkruar me bashkautor të vëllanë Martinin, gjithë-gjithë 22 poezi, dëshmon për klasin e tij edhe në rrafshin e poezisë, edhe pse u shkruan në moshën e rinisë. Njëzet e dy poezi (1908-1918) krijuar nga Martin dhe Mirash Ivanaj përfshirë në librin "Epopeja e Njeriut" janë pak, fare pak për një poet që të hyjë në historinë e letërsisë. Mirëpo kur këto poezi jane poezi, nder me te mirat e kohes kur u linden, nder poezite elitare te periudhes 1908-1940, na nxit te perseritim sentencen se, jo sasia por cilesia eshte vlere. Mund te shkruash me dhjetera e dhjetera libra, madje edhe voluminoze, por nese vlerat artistike, estetike dhe kumtore jane te nivelit te ulet, ato kenaqin vetem autoret medioker dhe lexuesit medioker.

Poezite e Martin dhe Mirash Ivanajt, kane nje specifike te vecante: jane perjetime te çasteve, momenteve, episodeve, te shfaqjes se dashurise te pasioneve te medha dhe, perjetimeve te thella te raporteve dashurore ne kulme kenaqesie, po edhe ne drama ndarjeje e tradhtie. Madje ajo qe perben thelbin e personales artistike te poeteve eshte pasioni i fuqishem i dashurise, e cila jepet si nje force magjike gjithe energji si dashuri shpirterore, platonike dhe idealiste.

Poetet Ivanaj e shohin te bukuren te shpirti, te idealja, te pasioni i madh dashuror dhe jo tek akti i fundit, seksi. Kjo optike buron prej moralit te kohes kur jane shkruar poezite, sipas psikologjise rinore te moshes se poeteve si dhe, nga ndikimet dhe trajtimet e kesaj teme nga letersia boterore. Eshte nje alternative poetike, nje veshtrin poetik, qe lidhet edhe me filozofine dhe estetiken e se bukures ne natyre, shoqerine njerezore dhe, nga botekuptimi dhe morali i njeriut te asaj kohe.

Po le te kthehemi perseri te poezite e Martin dhe Mirash Ivanajt. Dukuri tjeter ne poezite e librit "Epopeja e Njeriut" eshte misherimi artistik i fiozofise se jetes dhe vdekjes, te te perkohshmes dhe te perjetshmes, te se bukures dhe te shemtuares, te cilat jepen poetikisht ne disa poezi si te:
"Kenge per fundin", "Kalimtare", "Nenshtrimi", "Njeriu" etj.

Ja disa vargje nga poezia "Kalimtare":

Dhe ne vazhdojme me ngutje e hov
te bindur se bota me ne fillon,
koha e vdekur maje shpirtit vajton
dhe varri i lagesht e quan veten hyjnor,
pa e ditur se fillimi i fundit troket ne dere
dhe ameshimi n'gajasje shperthyese na perqesh...

E shkruar bukur, me pasion, me situata dramatike e ritem dinamik, eshte krijuar poemthi "Semiramida" qe pershkohet nga frojdizmi, ku jepet me art klasik drama e epshit per seks, medyshjet dhe lufta me veten per incestin meme e bir. Teme kjo e trajtuar nga tragjiket e medhenj greke...Autoret paraqesin me mjeshteri artistike luften e brendshme te epshit per seks, nga Mbreteresha Semiramide, dyluftimin me veten: midis nderit dhe vesit, detyres dhe kontrollit te vetvetes, pasionit qe mbyt arsyen dhe fisnkerise. Pas kryerjes se aktit seksual te Seramides me te birin, qe i ngjante te atit, nepermjet dy vargjeve te fundit,

"Me pas gjithcka rreth tyre, u zhyt ne baltovine
Veç Zoti paste meshire per fjalen qe u gremis",

transmetohet kumti se kenaqesia shtazore kur shkelet morali te mbulon me baltovine, atehere njeriu e kupton mekatin dhe i drejtohet Zotit ta fal.

Poezite e vellezerve Ivanaj, ne kete liber, kane si teme kryesore dashurine ne variacione te ndryshme. Pothuajse te tera poezite i pershkon nje ndjenje e zjarrte, e fuqishme, e paster dhe potente qe buron nga pasionet e medha te dashurise frojdiste te incestit, ku ekzistojne te gjitha ngjyrat, tingujt dhe elementet realiste, romantike dhe frojdiste. Do te ndalem telegrafisht te nje poezi qe i kendon dashurise me shikim te pare, e cila titullohet

Kenga e kengeve.

Tashti gjykome!
Ti sa kalove, une i goditur
i çoroditur mbeta. Shurdhan i heshtur
shtanga, ashtu krejt i verbuar, i drobitur,
si toka kur perqafet e mekohet vetetimash.
As bota s'jeton me, gjithesia krejt e vdekur.
N'heshti jane zhytur yjet dhe toka pezull rri,
n'ket' mbreteri te heshtjes, po vdes
edhe vdekja vete, e pas i vjen gremina

Megjithate, ai pret edhe pse e di se me kot pret:
Me kot pres. Nata te ka fshehur ne gji te saj.
A thua valle ne shpirt i enderron keto gjemime,
a, mos dritherima dhe gazi i hareshem shperthen
prej teje, e ta ndez pasionin pervelues?

Cdo koment eshte i tepert. Ne kete permbledhje poetike ndeshim edhe ne nje poemth te titulluar "Hetera" qe i kushtohet nje prostitute te plakur.


Dikur u rrezua infektuar prej turpesh
tash thirrjet e trupit mundi perplot t'i mbush,
rrethuar e ka vetveten me flligeshti e terr,
e shpirti sterr i nxin mbytur prej mekatesh.
E lind bukurine tek shkel pa meshire vetveten,
e ne floket e dendur neperkat levizin.

Eshte shkruar me art, me figuracion te pasur, ku vendin e pare e zene metaforat, tropet, simboli, epiteti dhe grotesku, qe deshmon jo vetem talentin e poetit, por edhe intelektualin e shquar, njeriun e ditur, vezhguesin e holle, psikologun e thelle, i cili jo vetem zbulon dramat e kesaj prostitute te plakur, por i shtjellon ato me art te mrekullueshem e magjik, duke percjelle kumte te fuqishme njerezore, te cilat burojne prej gjendjeve dramatike te se keqes, prej nga nxirren mesime qe te mos perseriten. Poezite e vellezerve Ivanaj jane perkthyer prej serbishtes nga Dr. Lazer Radi, i cili ka arritur ta shqiperoje bukur duke mos ia bjerre vlerat e saj, duke i qendruar besnik ndjenjes dhe mendimit te autoreve, indvidualitetit te tyre poetik, ritmit, intensitetit dhe gjuhes me kolorit. Radi eshte edhe hulumtuesi dhe studjuesi i krijimtarise se tyre neper arkiva,cka ka bere nje pune me perkushtim dhe me vlere. Mendoj se punonjesit e Akademise se Shkencave dhe historianet e letersise shqipe kane per detyre qe figura te tilla poetesh elitare, te vleresohen dhe t'u jepet vendi i merituar ne hierarkine e vlerave te tradites

Mitrush Kuteli , Mexhit Prenci



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