It was not groundbreaking, it did not remove the fences or cut down the barbed wires. The same problems will still be there tomorrow but for two hours tonight the mental barriers erected by circumstance ( and politics and war) were demolished.Those here in samos seeking refuge from horrors beyond most of our imaginations, got the chance to sit and be “normal” Last night we opened a free cafe in the camp…
We were not volunteers and refugees, we were not them and us . We were humans of all walks of life, all nationalities, cultures, languages…but a cup of coffee is a cup of coffee
let me explain. We bought chairs, laid out blankets, provided tables and poured coffee and tea. We bought playing cards, draughts, dominoes. We did not ask for a queue to be formed nor a ticket to be stamped. There was no checking of numbers or ID. We offered a coffee, a conversation, a chance to relax and a chance to feel human.
I hope you can appreciate the importance of this, of regaining your name for a moment, of regaining your dignity, of not having to ask for every little thing. The importance of dignity in a situation where perhaps that is all you have left…your name and your dignity, both of which you may feel are slowly being stripped away. Perhaps to sit and talk, to sit and listen to peoples dreams and nightmares, to peoples reasons for fleeing, their hopes of a future, their desires to return , their loss, their beliefs of a future again for their children is a small step in breaching this racist xenophobic imaginary line that divides so many..or perhaps its even more simple, for a few hours it may well just be a coffee, a game of dominoes and a shared respect .
Whatever these evenings may become will no doubt become more apparent if we are able to continue. and we do hope to continue..
As previously explained, photographs are forbidden from being taken inside the camp.
Can you help us to share a coffee ? our paypal address is firstname.lastname@example.org ( irish in gaza account).