Meet Mihal Grameno, a true Albanian patriot and Renaissance figure born on January 13, 1871. A man of many hats – nationalist, politician, writer, freedom fighter, and journalist – Grameno dedicated his life to the cause of Albanian independence.
Hailing from a merchant family in Korçë, Grameno's journey began with a leap across borders, landing him in Romania in 1885. Bucharest became the stage for his involvement in the Albanian National Awakening, a movement that faced financial hurdles but never extinguished Grameno's fiery spirit.
In 1907, he joined Çerçiz Topulli's guerrilla unit, fighting against Ottoman oppression in Albania. These daring figures deemed the "Apostles of Albanianism," traversed villages, discussing the Albanian predicament and challenging Ottoman forces.
In the fight for Albanian freedom, countless heroes whispered their courage in mountain villages, their names lost to the winds of time. Yet, the epic clash at Mashkullore, immortalized in films and songs, burns brightly thanks to Mihal Grameno.
Grameno's band, despite being pursued by Ottoman patrols, etched their mark in history. In that gripping battle, outnumbered, four members, including Grameno, triumphed against 150 Ottoman units. Unsung heroes like Grameno, with a journalist's quill in hand, became legends. His ink-stained hands etched that battle, that spirit, onto the nation's heart. For the Albanian awakening thrived on love, passion, and stories above all else, and Grameno, with his fiery pen, gave it a voice that echoes for eternity.
The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 saw Grameno collaborating with leaders like Topulli and Adjutant Major Ahmed Niyazi Bey. The trio, captured in revolutionary photographs, envisioned a constitution beneficial to the Albanian nation.
In 1909, Grameno founded the Orthodox League in Korçë, advocating for an independent Albanian church. His work with the newspaper Bashkimi i Kombit led to his arrest by Ottoman authorities in 1910. Undeterred, Grameno became a crucial link between revolutionaries and leaders during the 1911 upheavals.
Grameno's defining moment came in 1912 when he stood among the four appointed delegates from Korçë at the Albanian National Congress, proclaiming Albania's independence on November 28. Hindered by an Ottoman communication blockade, Grameno and his compatriots reached Vlorë after five days, their perseverance etching their names in the annals of history.
Post-independence, Grameno continued his journey as the editor of the weekly Koha. Living in Jamestown, New York, from 1915 to 1919, he represented Albania at the Paris Peace Conference. Returning to Albania in 1920, Grameno, despite battling ill health, contributed to journalism and literature until his retirement in the 1920s.
On February 5, 1931, the indomitable Mihal Grameno took his last breath in Korçë. A patriot, journalist, and freedom fighter, his legacy lives on, an enduring tale of Albanian resilience and determination.