by Rafaela Prifti-
A career journalist, a professional translator and a highly respected colleague, Sulejman Gashi passed away at 61. For those of us, who had the incredible fortune of knowing and working with him, there is a profound sense of loss. Vatra President Elmi Berisha expressed condolences to the Gashi family on behalf of the Executive Council, Board of Directors, branches and all members, describing Sulejman as an exemplary reporter, intelligent mind and a true patriot. His reporting career at TV Prishtina was interrupted, along with his Albanian colleagues, when the Serbian authorities shut down the medium in July 1990. He and his family migrated to the United States. A year later, Sulejman Gashi was a founding journalist and editor of “Illyria”, the newspaper launched with two main commitments: independence for Kosova and democracy for Albania.
Through the end of 1990s, Mr. Gashi was a correspondent for Bujk, Kosova Information Center and other outlets. Throughout the war, his reporting stood out for its high standards of journalism. In 2001, when OSCE Mission established Radio Television Kosovo as an independent public service broadcaster, they reached out to media professionals with excellent credentials like Sulejman Gashi. He conducted live interviews with the highest government officials and international representatives earning the respect of all of them. Years later, he became US correspondent for Kosova national broadcaster, RTK.
Aside from his career in journalism, Sulejman Gashi was a US State Department Independent Contractor. His extraordinary command of English language won the respect and admiration of his colleagues. I was fortunate to meet him in a DOS language training workshop, which marked the beginning of a friendship that has shaped my life.
In 2016, while on assignment in Salt Lake City, Utah, he suffered a cardiac arrest and slipped into comma. Today, Drilon Gashi, surviving son, announced the passing of his father, stating that the burial will take place in his home country, Kosova:
“It is with great sorrow that we announce that our dearest loved one, Mr. Sulejman Gashi, passed away today on September 11, 2020. He fought very hard to recover from the difficult condition he sustained four years ago. Our loved one’s burial will take place in his country of origin, Kosova, which he loved very dearly. Sulejman Gashi lived a life and left a legacy of great significance for his family, his profession, his country and nation. In the coming days we will provide more information on the arrangements. We are very grateful for the respect and love that all have for our dearest loved one, Sulejman, but kindly request that we all collectively respect the public health measures in place due to the pandemic. We greatly appreciate your consideration of the our privacy in this very difficult time for our family and relatives.”
Today, messages of condolences are posted on social media by politicians, media executives, co-workers, friends and community leaders in Kosova and United States. After a few comforting words addressed to his family members earlier, I briefly communicated with former RTK colleagues, DOS interpreters and representatives of the Albanian-American community who join Dielli staff in being saddened by Sulejman Gashi’s departure. Vatra announcement about memorial service details to follow in the coming days.