we went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.
we went on a friday, because there was shit-all to do at home.
- m.t. anderson, feed
uropa is a refugee ballet that was put on recently, a collaboration with the royal theater, an art group, and a small group of current asylum seekers living in denmark.
halfway through they pull seven of us up on stage and sit us around a table, and we don't know whether to smile (be friendly) or if that's wrong (this is serious, these are people's lives) and we shuffle our chairs and do an awkward combination of both ('are we human /are we dancer' comes to mind for this hybrid). we sit back and watch for a time, and i've never been more aware of how my face looks, what expression i'm making, if i'm performing the right thing, and i guess that's the point. they ask us at the end if we have questions. my mind wanders to the personal. my mind jumps to the academic. my thoughts trip over themselves and i keep my mouth shut. we stutter, silently. thank you for being on stage. please go back to your seats.
in retrospect the week where you're worrying the most about your visa renewal might not be the personally best time to watch brooklyn, a film about emigration (immigration? migration?) and this asylum ballet. but i suppose it was also the best time.
my thoughts are disjointed.
the difference in narrative brooklyn: a young, white irish girl who heads to america in search of self-fulfillment and realization. in the face of her backwards small town and community pressure, her desire to seek out a new space for herself and be independent is noble. and uropa, with a group of refugees who have experienced unmentionable horrors, but also desire the same self-fulfillment and realization we are uncomfortable giving them...why is it weird to think about them as people? 'refugees, they're just like us'
is the desire to move for self-realization a selfish one? is it incongruent with reality or is it a future reality? should we even be comparing? are you the perfect immigrant/refugee/newcomer if you are a survivor, a sufferer, or if you are something else? what types of people are more justifiable to let into our society?
we are stupid, even when we are enlightened, or educated, or 'first world', or 'current'. why is it so surprising to find out that the refugee playing classical piano is not an actor, but merely an older woman from iran with a science degree who can play classical piano?
do you owe something to the place where you came from? do you owe work? do you owe 'betterment'? do you owe taking care of it? are you moving, fleeing, abandoning it? where do we draw the line? how much harm can it do to before this is okay? if it hasn't done anything, are you the problem?