OFF THE SIDELINES
Being in the midst of ardent protesters in Catalunya and watching them convince others to join them as they fight for independence and democracy was most definitely not on my October to-do list. However, there I stood in Plaça de Catalunya with my sister, perplexed and entranced at the fact we were sharing this pivotal moment with strangers who had come from all walks of life to take a step towards a future they desire together.
Not at all familiar as I should have been with the events surrounding the Catalan referendum, I wove in and out of droves of Catalonians trying to piece together what was going on despite not understanding Catalan - sadly, my Lonely Planet guide did not have a ‘Basic Phrases for Political Conversations’ section. Discussions about political and economical matters used to be of little interest to me as they tended to involve shouting, progressively tense atmospheres, me feeling at a complete loss and no visible change. But it is becoming increasingly difficult to simply remain seated on the sidelines be we oblivious or well-informed.
Lately, I have found myself more prone to engaging in these types of conversations with performers either on stage or the silver screen. And this month, HOME just happens to be running its Orbit Festival (28th Sept - 15th October) again which consists of new theatre shows from around the globe that bring contemporary political, social and economical issues to the surface in unique ways.
I caught Daniel Bye’s last performance of his fantastic show ‘Instructions for Border Crossing’ in Manchester last night and it really got me thinking about the boundaries created by those before us, the ones we (un)knowingly make. Us. Them. You. Me. The invisible yet tangible lines that have the power to reunite or break a home. The ones we (almost) never question, the ones we (un)wittingly make others responsible for guarding by any means necessary. At the end of the show, I was left questioning if I could be courageous or tenacious enough to stand up for what I believe in even if it means standing up to centuries old traditions. How can I do my bit to help make my corner of the world at least one devoid of malice, violence and oppression?
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On Tuesday, I was amongst a people who were peacefully fighting for independence, inadvertently not sitting on the sidelines…
It felt good.