In his poem On Fifth Avenue He Greeted Me (dedicated to Rashid Hussein), Mahmoud Darwish wrote: Are we to remain like this/Moving to the outside/In this orange day/Only to touch/The dark and vague inside?
Darwish writes about the state of exile, about being a refugee. Like I wrote recently – refugees are not a new thing. Palestinians have been refugees for so long now that being a refugee is a normal thing, it’s an identity, it’s one’s whole life. People are fleeing Afghanistan and Iraq for decades now. People are leaving Syria and Libya for years now. And that is just to name a few.
Europe is acknowledging refugees now only because they are now coming to Europe, because they are not far away, somewhere out there. And the saddest part is that this new awareness is not obtained in order to help the refugees, but in order to preserve ‘our’ borders.
That is what we need to stand up to – we need to keep on challenging the exclusive discourse of European leaders, within our countries and within Europe in general. That is what brings hope – seeing people helping other people, seeing people being open to other people – no matter what the politicians preach.
One of the lovely examples of such work is Tinka Kalajžić Ines. She’s an activist, artist, photographer, who’s currently in Belgrade volonteering with refugees.
Here are some of her photos from Belgrade’s ‘refugee park’. It’s been raining in Belgrade and the weather is getting colder, so the situation is now even worse for the refugees. All of those who would like to help (in any way) can contact Refugee Aid Serbia, they do a great job in Miksalište (place where lots of refugees come for donations).
//all photos © Tinka Kalajžić//
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Be sure to follow Tinka on facebook for more stories and photos from Belgrade. I also recommend following Refugee Aid Serbia, No Borders, and Help the refugees in Macedonia for finding out more about the ways you can help and get involved.