Thursday, September 16

Amal, a puppet stoned by refugees in Greece

Correspondent in Athens



It is a beautiful and supportive idea: a series of European and Turkish artists, with the support of organizations, municipalities and many local NGOs, have designed a project called ‘The walk‘(‘ The Walk ‘). It is about the symbolic journey of a 9-year-old Syrian refugee, the little Amal, from the Turkish city of Gaziantep, near the Syrian border, through Turkey and several European countries, bound for the United Kingdom. The initiative comes from a British play, ‘The Jungle’, about the immigrants from Calais. Its creators describe it as “an epic journey, in search of a new life, that will make Amal, whose name means Hope, travel 8,000 kilometers in four months to transmit hope to millions of refugees

». And also to sensitize the inhabitants of the countries it travels: Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom. The doll, which represents all displaced children, many of them separated from their families, carries a dramatic message: “Don’t forget us.” For this reason, she travels alone and desperately searches for her mother, with whom she will be symbolically reunited at the end of her journey, in a place that will be her new home to grow up and receive an education.

Now, Amal, created by the Handspring Puppet company, is in Greece. Until this weekend, your tour was a success: acts and artistic activities with children, music and games, have accompanied him since he arrived from the Turkish shores to the island of Jíos, passing through the Katsikas refugee camp.

The Police had to intervene upon the arrival of the puppet to the Greek city of Larisa, where it was received by a violent group

But this Sunday, in the Larissa cityIn central Greece, a group of people interrupted his arrival near the Pinió river, in addition to organized activities, such as an interactive concert with three hundred puppets, violently demanding that he leave and throwing stones. The Police had to intervene against this group of nationalist and xenophobic people.

In the end, calm was restored, and the mayor’s office condemned the attack: “A cultural event, of a humanitarian nature, for the protection of unaccompanied refugee children, was, unfortunately, an occasion for the hate show», It was reported. The same source described the violent as a “very small group of extremists, obscurantists, fascists and intolerant”, who attacked a puppet and frightened parents and children who participated in the event. And he ended with a rhetorical question: “What should we answer to these children who, terrified, innocently ask their parents: ‘Why so much hatred for a doll?'”

Despite the attack, Amal’s journey will continue with many activities organized by the cities of Eleusis, Athens and Piraeus, where she will be dismissed to continue your boat trip to Italy. ‘La Caminata’ is produced by the Good Chance Theater, specialized in public performances, and has the artistic direction of the theater writer Amir Nizar Zuabi. In Greece, the director of this project is Yolanda Markopulu.

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