Rexhep Ferri

Pristina | Date: Fabruary 4 and 5, 2020 | Duration: 203 minutes

Tajar Zavalani translated that [Mother by Maxim Gorky], he understood what communism is and left, then he worked at Radio London. My mother would listen to it a lot, ‘Communism will end today, tomorrow.’ One is inclined to go from one extreme to the other. When we returned to Gjakova… our property was confiscated and my dad, dad, dad did not, he left, he never… he thought that he would be safe in Gjakova, that he would not have to leave his family. From Fadil Hoxha to Sahit Bakalli, they were his schoolmates and worked together as teachers in the Gjakova Highlands. 

We met with Sahit Bakalli, before meeting him… and Sahit Bakalli said to him, ‘Look Shaban, you cannot spend the night in Gjakova. We cannot protect you from Serbs and Montenegrins, you are the heir of Jakup Ferri, Hasan Ferri, the brother of Riza Ferri, Shemsi Ferri that have led the war against the partisans, and you also were with them. You have to leave and go to Albania, in Tropoja, where you used to teach, where your in-laws are. This tempest will pass and you’ll be alright somehow.’ He followed him out of the town, my dad left and we stayed.  

[…] sometimes when you are lonely, alone, if one person knows two words in Albanian, you think it’s your brother. He would call my mother sister and she would call him brother, and they weren’t even from the same village or city, but from the Gjakova Highlands. Pashkë, Uncle Peshk [Fish] I would call him. He was unlettered, but he smoked like an aristocrat – it seemed to me that way then –  with a pipe. My mother sent to him the clothes that she made with the loom to sell and he sent her off with a couple of lies, ‘Ms. Hatixhe, I heard on Radio London yesterday night that a week will not pass and communism will end.’ And that lie would amuse my mother for a week. Next Monday, he would lie to her again, and the years passed, we grew up.

Erëmirë Krasniqi (Interviewer), Kaltrina Krasniqi (Camera), Jakup Ferri (Rexhep Ferri's son), Renea Begolli (Camera assistant)

Rexhep Ferri was born in 1937 in Kukës, Albania. He is a painter and writer. In 1962 his poetry collection Shëtitësit e lodhur [Worn out wanderers] was published in the literary journal Jeta e Re [New Life] in Pristina. From 1966 to 1970, he did his graduate and postgraduate studies at the Department of Monumental Painting, Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade. In 1971, he received the December’s Prize from the Kosovo Assembly. In 1974, he started working at the Academy of Figurative Arts in Pristina. In 1975, he won the Spring Salon Prize awarded by the Figurative Artists’ Association of Kosovo. In 2000, he was elected as a member of the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Kosovo. Mr. Ferri has published several poetry collections and novels. Currently, he lives with his family in Pristina.