Who throws the boomerang?

Our partner organisation No Name Kitchen supports "People on the Move" at the borders of the European Union. In their November newsletter, they give an impressive account of one family.

She's a tiny woman. Nutty skin. Tender eyes. He's as thin as a stick. He's not wearing a coat, even though it's raining and cold. His daughter is six years old and she amuses herself with almost everything. That's what little ones have, that they don't need much to escape from reality.

Having spent her whole life in the Gaza Strip must have trained her to ignore suffering. They are traveling with a Lebanese boy they met in Lesvos. (How could they not?) (For those migrating from the Middle East, Lesvos is a bit like Facebook was in 2015, a place where everyone is, or has been, soliciting new friendships).

The four of them, standing on the street, look at the house they have just been kicked out of. It is a typical house of northern Bosnia: with a gabled roof, two floors, a loft, a lot of unrendered brick, and broken windows with no hope of being repaired. It is next to the road linking Velika Kladuša to Croatia — not the one leading to the official border, but the one that ends at a small border crossing only for locals.

She’s pregnant. She wears a kind of scarf over her head, but she takes it off and puts it on as she talks; nothing religious about it; merely a tool against the cold. "When we managed to get out of Gaza, we thought nothing could stop us", she says. "But now I think the Croatian commandos are worse than the Israelis, haha."

God!, and she still laughs.

They have spent all their life savings to get out of Palestine. They have crossed Syria in the middle of the war. They arrived in Turkey, embarked in Izmir risking their lives, arrived in Lesvos, were flown to Athens, from there they went up to Macedonia, crossed into Bulgaria, stayed in a camp for eight months, asked their family for more money, hired a taxi driver to reach Serbia first, and then Bosnia, and after two years of crossing, with a pregnancy on the way, they met a group of Croatian policemen who made them kneel on the ground.

He and his Lebanese friend had Rottweiler dogs breathing into their faces. "I peed myself, haha", says the Lebanese boy, laughing nervously. They snatched off her veil. They scared the hell out of the little girl forever. They put them in a van and drove them back to the Bosnian border, into the forest, and told them to go back, to cross the frozen river and go back.

"In Gaza we are afraid of Israeli bombs, but at least we had a house", he says, visibly worried about the lack of shelter for the night. The ego of male fragility, so visible on the migration routes, where the heads of families sink into the guilt of not being able to provide a solution to something that is not in their hands.

When they returned to Bosnia, they came to this house, which, to be honest, is not the typical block in ruins, abandoned by its owners. This house has furniture, a fire for cooking with wood, and a bathroom —with no running water, but a bathroom, nonetheless. Being a family, and with such a small child, they decided to sleep there until they found a better solution.

Usurpation of a home, some would say. Resilience to power, for the rest of us. Two days later, that is, today, the police arrived.

They gave them a paper with the smell of a fine and took their backpacks out into the street, amid shouts and bad manners. Here they are. From Gaza to Bosnia.

Because their smiles, full of pain, are the picture of the world: these four people have been expelled from their homes by a system of oppression, apartheid and silent genocide. The Israeli government and army. Those who kill. Those who support. Those who keep silent. Those who equate. Those who don't take their fucking responsibility: if they bomb Gaza, we bomb Gaza. If she, he, his daughter, his friend, and the baby in her belly migrate, it is because we force them to migrate.

The boomerang of life. What goes around comes around. Even the will to fight to change things.

We have given it a lot of thought: a newsletter about Gaza? What a lack of originality. Maybe so. And if we have disappointed you, we’re sorry. But we are the Kitchen

That Palestinians can move as freely and with dignity as Israelis, that Sudanese mothers don't have to embark in desperation, and that the Lebanese boy doesn't have to pee himself.

They are our cause.

PS: Somehow we should throw the world away and remake it. But this time, let's do it right, with people full of empathy and courage.

Like Kate, a Palestinian activist who wrote to us recently from Ramallah. She has heard stories of NNK, and if she gets a Schengen visa thanks to our letter of recommendation, she will soon join the team as a volunteer in Ventimiglia. The greater the illness, the bigger the hopes.

schwelle Projekt Partner No Name Kitchen

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