Foreign and Greek teenagers voice their views

For today’s teenagers here in Greece, the word «Albanian» is tantamount to a four-letter word. Both Greeks and Albanians agree on this, as was confirmed by a recent poll of students in the Grava schools in Galatsi and in other areas, such as Kypseli and Metaxourgeio. Often Albanian kids feel uncomfortable when reminded of their nationality. «They think it’s derogatory,» said an Albanian student, one of the few to have penetrated a circle of Greek schoolmates. She added: «Many parents tell their kids that the Greeks are different and not to hang around with them. I don’t have a problem.» Like other foreign schoolchildren, she does not believe that her nationality makes her any different from her Greek peers. Many young Albanians hope this might well blur the differences over time. Many of those polled were reluctant to admit that there is a problem of xenophobia in Greek schools. Some hang around with other Greek school kids, most of them from poor backgrounds and less spoilt, with whom they can share their anxiety about the future.