University of Tetova, today with an academy has commemorated the life and activity of Rafi Halili, the emblematic symbol of our national cause. Initially, with a minute of silence, the participants honored the activity of the immortal hero Rafi Halili that he had done over the years for the national cause.

Vice-Rector for Education of the University of Tetova, Prof. Dr. Vullnet Ameti said that the organization of this academy on the premises of our University we believe will serve as a starting point for the settlement of our national obligations to the most prominent personalities of the level of Rafi Halili and Mehmet Gega and other symbols of national resistance and superhuman sacrifices under the communist persecution of visionaries and noble citizens who put all their lives and activity in the service of great ideals for freedom and advancement of processes. “Rafi Halili personifies the intellectual and the symbol of the resistance of the Albanians in the former Yugoslavia, against the discriminatory and genocidal policy of the former system towards the Albanian nation. He was a rare and extraordinary personality, with high moral and human virtues. The figure of Rafi Halili is a very complex figure that should be studied from a scientific point of view. Its role and importance has been perpetuated in the recent history of the Albanian people. His works and monumental authority are based on love for the homeland and national unity, a willingness to sacrifice, and a titanic struggle for freedom. For all these and many other values, Rafi Halili owns permanent respect from all our compatriots wherever they live, ranking him among the prominent personalities of the nation, whose traces will remain in history. His personality, sacrifice and deeds deserve the highest respect. I am convinced that in the future the educational-scientific institutions will perform their duty, studying thoroughly his patriotic activity, the stoic resistance to the dictatorial hegemonic policy and the extraordinary role, freedom and democracy that we all enjoy today. Today, beyond the organization of this commemoration academy, we bow with reverence in front of the work of Rafi Halili and in front of the sufferings of the Albanian prisoners, to all we express from the bottom of our hearts the eternal gratitude and deep gratitude for the determination and titanic mission in the service of advancing our national cause”- said Prof. Dr. Vullnet Ameti.

The main report on the historical activity of Rafi Halili was read by the historian Prof. Dr. Zeqirja Idrizi. According to him, torches like Rafi Halili made the history of resistance, who would said: “I am Rafi Halili, the land of Albania was born me, in a timeless time”. Rafi Halili was born on October 11, 1950 in the village of Gajre in Tetovo, grew up in a noble family, and was smart, agile and curious about everything around him. He finished the four-year school in his native village, while the eight-year school in the primary school “Liria” in Tetovo, where he showed extraordinary ingenuity. He received patriotism from Bajram Veliu, in the men’s room where he listened attentively to the conversations of the elderly and thus learned about the history of the Illyrians, Skanderbeg and many other patriots and nationals. His curiosity increased every day, so his soul was filled with patriotism, while the figure of Skanderbeg became his idol. Rafi Halili was of average body but had the “heart of a lion”, all the time he was thinking about how it is possible for Albanians, even though they are autochthonous in these lands, to be so oppressed, discriminated and persecuted. He often wondered why in school we do not learn about the glorious history of our nation. All these questions made him as a young giant soul to start activating to change this bitter reality. Rafi Halili had the idea of what the national flag looked like, the flag of Skanderbeg, of Ismail Qemali, for which flag he burned from within “- said among others Prof. Dr. Zeqirja Idrizi.

While the researcher and journalist Mr.Sc. Rudina Zeqiri read the paper dedicated to the life and work of Rafi Halili, taken from her book “Specific forms of communication of Albanian secret organizations during Yugoslav monism”. She said that Rafi Halili was stoic in activities, in prisons and in life. Talking about Rafi’s moral, combative and humanitarian figure is a separate chapter of his sensational life. I feel privileged to have the good fortune to know intimately this outstanding personality and striking figure of our nation’s freedom, this indomitable warrior with strong character and inexhaustible fighting energy, determined and invincible man, with ardent love and insatiable for his own people, with a proud attitude in every situation, but also modesty and care for others, first and foremost for his associates. Rafiu Halili was a devoted and much-loved husband, father, grandfather and brother. It was wordless, but when he spoke he shot at the target, the words took place, in the men’s log and in the auditorium, in the books, in front of the microphone and the cameras. Rafi Halili’s ideas flowed like the waters of Radika, sometimes calm and sometimes with flood abduction, depending on the situations, the moment and the motive. This personality of long experience with the liberation activity, with theoretical and practical baggage, with the heart that beat for his homeland and his freedom, will be studied and known comprehensively, in its entire complex dimension. It is unfortunate that the ideas and views of Rafi Halili for life and war, for freedom and activity, on politics and the future of the nation are not fully recorded, so he took them with him to the grave “, said among others Rudina Zeqiri.

Today’s commemoration academy was greeted by well-known personalities from public life, among them the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, who, among other things, said: “Farewell to the immortal creator of Freedom! Dear family members, friends, co-activists, co-sufferers, co-fighters, of the rare patriot and living and immortal Hero, Rafi Halili, the news of the separation from life of the son, brother, parent, ideal friend, suffering and liberation war, Rafi Halili, although not unexpected, has struck us deeply, as it has shocked all those who have known or read and heard of his colossal work, hardly comparable patriotic, liberating, emancipatory and progressive… Rafi Halili, and his glorious constellation, was the buds and offspring of the patriotic and leading generation of Mehmet Gegë Murtezani and the many activists, before and after him. Rebellious and arrested since high school, Rafi Halili  and his friends appear as heralds and leaders of the spring of November ’68, quickly becoming the protagonists of the Movement that moved history and, in turn, becoming the unifying catalyst of Preceding generations with the next generation, the Albanian Spring ’81 and its continuation until the war of our liberation armies. Neither the three consecutive prisons, nor the cruel tortures, nor the threats and blackmails, nor the seductions and offers did not defeat Rafi. On the contrary, together with Rexhep Malaj and Isa Kastrati and other comrades, they turned the prison into a forge of patriotism, an arena of unification, resistance to war and patriotic activity, inside and outside the prisons… The name of the founded organization, as soon as he was released from the second prison, by Rafi and his friends, “Kushtrimi i Lirisë” reveals the vision and intentions of Rafi and his rebellious generation. Rafi Halili was the struggle of the patriotic and liberation future, in Tetovo and the surrounding area, in one of the most oppressed and persecuted areas of the Albanian lands… Rafi Halili remained an eternal struggle for freedom, tireless, unstoppable, invincible and inalienable and inalienable”- said Albin Kurti.

Also, unable to be present at this commemoration academy, a greeting telegram was read from Fazli Veliu, president of the Association of NLA War Veterans. “The prominent activist of our cause, victorious over followers and anti-Albanians, Rafi Halili – Tetova. One of the activists and opponents, one against all in the state, the curfews of the regimes after the Second World War in the Tetovo Highlands, the Polog Valley, was the young Rafi Halili – invincible hero! After the horrific events that Sadudin Gjura experienced on the shores of Sharr, as well as those experienced by Rexhep Malaj in the Idrizovo prison, there was no other way for the hero of Tetovo, Rafi Halili, except to break the blockade, with home self-defense means. Aware that any setback would be fatal to His ideal Family and companions, he chose the oath: Freedom, or death. At the height of his courage, he was wounded first by the UDB, then by the police and military forces (dressed as policemen), after streams of blood, followed by crawling, as in the darkest times of the raging world. In this way, the attackers killed the dream of the homeland, caused terror, so that others would not act like Him, but surrender, as undesirable to the people of the state, to the role of stepmother. This giant of the Tetovo Highlands, who was known for his bravery, broke the myth of the invincibility of the Yugoslav police and army. His courage spread throughout the space where bread is called bread, and water is called water, giving the new strength of the new Anteus, to oppose barbarism with boyish hands, to the national level, that later, in prisons, exile, with revolutionary fists to defeat the Yugoslav Empire”, – writes Fazli Veliu.

Mehmet Hajrizi, Leader of the National Movement since the 1970s, paid special attention to the commemorative memory dedicated to the prominent activist Rafi Halili, who for objective reasons could not be present at this academy. He says in his telegram: “Thanking with deep gratitude the Rectorate of the University of Tetova for organizing this commemorative event, in honor of the incessant activist of the national cause, Rafi Halili, who passed away on January 28, I want to express my heartfelt condolences to his beloved family, Rafi’s wife, his sister and his sons and daughters, as well as to the organizers and attendees, numerous friends and associates. Rafi Halili was and remains a prominent personality of national proportions. Exploding the local and provincial dimension from an early age, the name and patriotic activity of Rafi Halili constitute one of the rings of the pillar of the Albanian National Movement in general. Therefore, Rafiu was not only yours, nor ours together, but of the Albanian nation that belongs to all his generations. Albanian historiography will talk about this great man, as one of the cornerstones of our national freedom. The memory of our dear Rafi will be eternal “- this is how Mehmet Hajrizi ends his telegram.

In this commemoration academy, apart from the central report and telegrams from many personalities of our nation, there were also the ideal friends of Rafi Halili from all Albanian territories. They evoked memories from their common past for the national cause. The President of the Association of Prisoners and Political Persecuted in RMV, Shpëtim Pollozhani, speaking about Rafi Halili’s activity, said that a fighter without sound logistics could not stand for long and Rafi Halili’s logistics were the Albanian people. “I want to mention the passed away mother and father, sister and wife, that all of them contributed to Rafiu being the one we know. I did not say in vain, heroes are not born, they become. Heroes are not born, they become. Rafiu was confronted seven times with the infamous UDB and its quislings, seven times he was in a situation to be sacrificed, but he did not want to die, seven times he was on the edge of the grave but only the belief in the leading idea kept his ideal alive”- said Shpëtim Pollozhani.

While Rafi Halili’s accomplice, Bejtulla Ademi said that the sacrifices and efforts for freedom of Albanians have never stopped. “I will not go too far in history. From 68 onwards we see a revival of the Albanians, a revival which I understand this way, because the idea that we should be organized politically, outside the clutches of the state party, is crystallizing. In this regard, Rafiu was the leader, because he understood better than anyone that we should be politically organized and founded the organization “Kushtrimi i Lirisë” where hundreds of young people joined “, said Bejtulla Ademi.

The President of the Association of Political Prisoners of the Republic of Kosovo, Hydajet Hyseni evoked memories from the bright past of Rafi Halili, which are closely related to his uncle, whom Rafiu had as a companion of the ideal. “Rafi Halili has united us tonight in a special way. This picture probably best expresses this hesitation. That long-suffering face speaks a lot, speaks in a way about his past. But, that flag hoisting shows pride and radiates the message. This time I will try to reveal only some evocation. I knew Rafi before I met him. I knew him through the stories of my dear uncle, who for me was everything. “Even now, the stories of my uncle, of the group, of the constellation of Rafi’s generation, in the prisons of Idrizova and Shutka, come to me, with the animal tortures that remain heroic together with the efforts to heal these wounds”, said Hydajet Hyseni.

According to the collaborator Elmaz Ademi, Rafi Halili during his schooling in the Gymnasium of Tetova for the first time appears with a spontaneous rebellion that had its source in his national spirit. “As a student at the Faculty of Law of the University of Prishtina, he was confronted with professional literature that examined the freedoms and rights of peoples for self-determination. This literature greatly influenced his rise as an intellectual as well as the rise of national consciousness that pushed him towards the search for an organized rebellion. And, as mentioned earlier, in 1972 in Pristina he founded the organization “Kushtrimi i Lirisë”, which over time will take on the character of a nationwide organization. As a perfect intellectual and as a perfect visionary, these elements that influenced Rafiu to form an ideal with state power”, emphasized Elmaz Ademi.

On behalf of Rafi Halili’s family, in this commemoration academy, the participants in the auditorium, who had come to honor and respect the figure of Rafi Halili, with greeting speech adrssed his son, Shqipodëshmor Halili. “I just wanted to say a few words because here I have my father’s diary. From what we have been able to escape, there are some memories of him, but, since so much has been said so far, I will be very brief. Ladies and gentlemen, he had two wishes and I mention them very often here: to gain freedom and to love Albania. The father has been very persistent and uncompromising in his ideal. He did not doubt that the battles would be lost from time to time but the war goes on and he often said that when it hits the table here to be heard at the end of the room there, but as it is not heard once, it fell more. In his memoirs, he writes that the house without pillars collapses before it is finished. He defined the pillars as culture or language as the shield of culture, identity along with the customs and traditions of what give meaning to being a nation and they are being denied to us. Metastases in Albanian society must be fought first, said Rafiu. Even though when falls in the lethargic sleep. Thankfully, the history of our beloved nation teaches us that medicine is written in our genetic code and heals us only when we love it. These were some memories from my father, they were taken briefly, but I wanted to say once again that my father was of the Albanian nation not only mine, but the father, mother and everything was my mother here, who is still and lives with us. Thank you all for participating “, said the son of Rafi Halili,  Shqipodëshmor Halili.

In this commemoration academy, which was attended by many personalities, activists of the national cause, organizers and participants in demonstrations and activities organized over the years for our national cause, there were also words about the suffering and abuse experienced by the family of patriot Rafi Halili, including his sister Hyreme, along with his wife and children, Rina e Shqipërikuqja and son Shqipodëshmorin.

The leader of the Albanian National Movement, Rafi Halilii, passed away on January 28, 2022, after a serious illness and life suffering in the service of freedom. He passed away peacefully at his family in Tetovo.