Finishing 2 Weeks in Greece

skaramagas concertA big thank you to the EAR team of 5 Americans, and refugee musicians Hussam, Milad, Salman, and Mustafa for bringing music, love and so much more to the children of Skaramagas refugee camp, Greece. Everyone brought something different to the EAR program and all gave generously of themselves.

ear team 2017 skaramagas.jpgAs racism lashes out at home, all of us seek ways to use our skills to increase the humanity with which we treat each other. Here in Greece, children waiting for acceptance into a host country, received hugs; expressed themselves through haka, song, and body music; and performed for their families and others in the Skaramagas camp.

A glaring irony in the camp struck me: The concrete on which the life of the camp pulses and drags seems to stretch out with permanence. But the situation of refugees living here is impermanent. Camps close. People are moved. On EAR’s last day in the camp, I wanted to leave something meaningful with Kurdish singer Salman. I saw this bush.

salman by bush skaramagas.jpgIt had thrust itself through the concrete, and despite temperatures of 100 and a summer with no rain, it was thriving. We talked about the positive intention, passion even, of that bush living in those conditions. Then we parted. It is like that, these intimate exchanges with those whose lives hang. We westerners move on with freedoms that support careers and whims and relationships. They remain on a slab of concrete, taming pigeons.pigeons flying over skaramagas.jpgSo we do what we can to humanize conditions. Thank you for what you do, wherever you are. There is much brilliance and innovation, and precedence, too. We celebrate small gestures and structural changes bursting through the concrete.tami's lve note to skaramagas kids.jpgDonate here

Author: earefuge

I direct EAR (Expressive Arts Refuge) whose work focuses on refugee youth in France and Greece. At home in Oakland, California, I direct World Harmony Chorus and World Harmony Ensemble.

One thought on “Finishing 2 Weeks in Greece”

  1. Betsy,

    You write beautifully about these very moving experiences. I admire the work you are doing with the refugees. Thank you for sharing your insights. Your moment of reflection on the bush with the young Kurdish man made me think of this Malvena Reynolds song.

    Be well,

    Val Rogers God bless the grass that grows thru the crack. They roll the concrete over it to try and keep it back. The concrete gets tired of what it has to do, It breaks and it buckles and the grass grows thru, And God bless the grass.

    God bless the truth that fights toward the sun, They roll the lies over it and think that it is done. It moves through the ground and reaches for the air, And after a while it is growing everywhere, And God bless the grass.

    God bless the grass that grows through cement. It’s green and it’s tender and it’s easily bent. But after a while it lifts up its head, For the grass is living and the stone is dead, And God bless the grass.

    God bless the grass that’s gentle and low, Its roots they are deep and its will is to grow. And God bless the truth, the friend of the poor, And the wild grass growing at the poor man’s door, And God bless the grass.


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