Sokak project: From refugee camp to stage

The life at the Krnjača refugee camp near Belgrade changed for Nadeem Noori, the 16-year-old refugee from Afghanistan, when he go invited to participate in a performance at Belgrade’s Centre for Cultural Decontamination.

Together with 30 other youngsters from abroad and Serbia he was part of a performance called “Cultural Faces of the Balkans – Transfiguration” created by Junaid Sarieddeen and Lola Joksimovic, Radio Free Europe reports.

The performance was held under the auspices of the project called Sokak which covers the topic of the integration of migrant and local communities along the so-called Balkan Route.  “We, Europeans, are supposed to look at Europe through the eyes of those who travel to it, so they can remind us of the values that we have forgotten, but most of all the solidarity of its citizens”, Lola Joksimović, the project author, says.

“The problems of migration, suspended lives of the people with no choice, abuse and suffering – won’t change right away just because a couple of artists in Serbia or Lebanon worked on a project together. That’s not their responsibility. Culture and art help us feel and think differently about the circumstances, our own attitudes and personal experiences; motivate us to choose differently in the future, not telling us what the difference should be; bring us friendship, ideas, resources and creativity, so they could help us with them. Strong statements which bring the voice back to these traumatized people, overpowering the words of fear and hate through which political tensions and manipulations are developed”, the project authors say.

This is the core of the “Sokak – A project about difference and curiosity” which the Centre for Cultural Decontamination realized in the course of 5 days with 24 participants from Afghanistan, Austria, Syria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran and Serbia.

(Blic, CZKD, 14.04.2017)

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