I’m not afraid of differences, but I understand such a fear. But I am afraid of hate. Will you help me to show Polish (and not only Polish) empathy?
You know that our flat was always open for differences. For people from different corners, in different age and attitude to life. Was as open as the whole world, which we travelled, was always open for us.
Our flat was open, just because. Because we believe that all the sides gain from it, that it brings something new and good to everybody (here more)
There was no doubts what to do, when the amount of the refugees coming to Germany lately grew. Those refugees, coming kind of directly from the front line, those who simply deserve a shower or a bed. Why they do deserve it? Because if someone has just lost his motherland, roof above his head, his sister or his mother – according to my morality, simply deserves my bed. Because I can’t think in a different way.
Everyone has a right to be afraid. Everyone has a right not to help. This should be solved in everyone’s head. I understand the fear. I understand being afraid of somebodies else traumas, awful stories and cry. Being afraid not to know how to react, how to behave. Being afraid of a person, in whose eyes you might see hunger and fear. Being afraid of the people, whose culture, history and habits are so different than ours. Because the fear always comes from a lack of knowledge and a lack of experience. So let’s get this knowledge! Let’s meet. Let’s hold their hands. Let’s experience.
I think there is no other way than to get a bit brave and see that „they“ might not attack and rape, but also be a perfect cook, babysitter and guitar player! (please for give me the quality of the pictures, since few weeks of living with refugees and living the refugees topic, I have no time for anything)
And you know what the refugees, who I was meeting for weeks at the Lageso office (where all the people have to register, where they wait for loooong days since many days) told me? (with broken English or by google translate). That they are afraid of Poland. That they know that they are not welcomed there, that people are aggressive and not understanding.
I’m also afraid. And scared. By young Polish people, educated and on good, creative positions. By some facebook friends. By some friends of the friends. Who write (with their own name!!!): „send them to Auschwitz “. Who write: „good that the little boy was found on that beach“.
I would like to invite you to help to help. Some time ago I was sitting in our kitchen with 18-year-old Afghani Hassan and he inspired me to this idea. What thousands of people – who come to Berlin, spend days and nights in front of the offices, then days and nights in different temporary shelters, maybe at somebodies house – need? What would make them a bit happy, during this soon-to-come-autumn? Something warm and private. A sleeping bag! Their own sleeping bag, easy to transport, warm and giving a feeling of something stable. So I knew: I’m going to collect sleeping bags!
I would like to ask you for sleeping bags. Any amount will be useful. A group of my friends and new, spontaneous friends in the whole Poland, organised in last 3 weeks places (cafes, libraries or private houses!) to collect the sleeping bags. We found 15 people with cars, who brought me them to Berlin. I gave them all to the people, sleeping with their chicks on the asphalt.
Sleeping bag is not only a travellers gadget. Let’s show a bit of our warmth and care.
But I would like to ask you for one more thing. About a little message in the sleeping bag. It can be one word, one sentence. Something you feel or even you worry about. Sign it: Mary from Poland. Do it with your kids, grandma or friend. Talk, while doing it. Look what our Hanna wrote: (in Polish: I’m thinking about you).
We already gave away more than 1500 of the sleeping bags (!!!!!!!!). My Polish post on the blog got more than 11000 likes! Here you can see full documentation.
But the topic is not over. Because the problem is not over. Every day new people are arriving to Berlin. My heart is broken that we cannot invite every mother with kids, old sad grannies or frozen boys. I can’t help everybody, I can’t help everybody – I’m repeating to myself… But I can help somebody. And you too.
Except the sleeping bags (with messages!), what is useful and needed right now:
—–> little packages of cosmetics (shower gels, shampoos)diapers and wet wipes for the babies, big bags (to carry things), old smart phones (to use whatsapp), winter jackets and shoes for adults, books for learning German, tickets (in Berlin), books in Arabic and Farsi (I gave few to the people waiting for weeks in a line, you can’t imagine those smiles!)
We are still collecting things in 20 towns in Poland (the list is here) and in our flat in Berlin. If you would like to organise a collecting place in your town or country, just drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I believe that not only Poland wants and should show the empathy right now.
PS1. Even while reading all the hate speech under the online discussions about the refugees – I see a light in the tunnel. There is so, so many beautiful initiatives going on. People (professors and bikers, rich and poor, with such a different background!) are doing so much in Berlin, for free, in their free time. Companies are giving their workers days off, translators create special dictionaries, printing houses are printing them, I could mention a lot!
PS2. No, I’m not afraid of those scary Muslims. I live in the city with 25 000 of them. I was never attacked, never even disturbed by anyone. Except Polish guys with sexists comments. How many Polish man I met, who are in Germany alone (family was left at home), how many use the German social system, how many works illegally? I will even not start this topic.
PS3. I will also not discuss whose fault is this, which country owns what to which one, why things are happening, why more men than women and about Steve Jobs being a son of a Syrian refugee. I won’t because for me every single HUMAN counts, and it matters what I can do for him. I don’t care about anybody being grateful, I don’t care about propaganda stupid videos made by person with a nick name. All those kind of comments and arguments – I will simply delete. Because now we are taking action, dear people!
This post is also available in: Polish
Our first book is out!
We have published our first book (for now just in Polish:) about our Central America Trip.
See, read and order here »