My name is Sulejman, but here I am Thanasis

Albanians living in Greece wave their country's flag and celebrate prior to the speech by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama at an indoor stadium in Athens, on May 12. [Louisa Gouliamaki/Reuters]

When Sulejman secretly crossed the Greek-Albanian border in 1991 and reached Katerini, he didn't speak a word of Greek. However, he was determined not to return home, at least not without having saved some money to help his family and to later build his life in the new Albanian reality. He worked hard and honestly in the fields of Pieria and there were indeed many times when he was blatantly wronged by certain locals, who believed that even giving an Albanian a piece of bread "was more than enough."

However, he was patient, gradually learned the language, and when the state began issuing residence permits to Albanian immigrants, he rushed to apply. However, he didn't have documents from Albania to prove his identity, just like thousands of his fellow countrymen who crossed the forests and ravines of Mt Grammos and Mt Mourgana, barefoot and ragged, seeking a better life in...

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