We have just had a special week, in which a new community was born. A community of people who came to Amsterdam from more than 15 countries to create a new ‘ExploreZ village’ together. Here we shared the finest moments, songs and theatre scenes, and many emotions, which is rather unusual for a theatre festival.
On the final day, Sunday 18 December, we were touched by the Passion Song tour, during which we literally visited the people in one neighborhood, leading to festive, emotional and humane moments in all their homes. Without barriers of language or culture.
On Monday we said our goodbyes, with everyone feeling content. And determined to meet each other again soon, in another European city, to continue sharing this special adventure with each other. More than a hundred people, both young and old, left for their home countries again, to their own cities and homes. A few of them stayed for one more night before taking the plane or train.
And then in Berlin, another horrible incident took place and hovered above us like a dark cloud. The media seemed a little less involved this time, perhaps because they too are despairing over so much bad news. But we must resolve to do one thing: we will not accept that this is part of our lives and become indifferent to it. Even though our sense of living free is challenged for the umpteenth time and fear arises.
Everything is better than acquiescence or looking away, because apathy has always had dramatic consequences, as history shows!
We, creators of art in and with the community carry an extra responsibility. We have to keep the people who are worried and frightened together. All people, from all cultures, religions and ages who live with each other in our neighbourhoods. It is a realisation that makes me strong and also extra alert.
Over the past few days, during the festival and especially with ZID’s own production LOVE NOW, we have tried to emphasise that feeling of solidarity, regardless of our differences, and to let it prevail. This is harder than it seems and it absolutely requires an effort. A willingness to invest in an open attitude and an open mind, which is becoming increasingly difficult each day, as we all know.
Let us take our art even more seriously, let us continue to fight and strive to connect all people. Only then will we be able to defend our world, our standards and values for one hundred per cent. It will prove the topicality of our art form, which is rooted in human dialogue, like never before.
I wish all of you a happy 2017. A fine new year, in which I hope we can continue to celebrate the love of our fellow men, in spite of everything that is happening. Especially now! And a year in which art, made by and with our fellow men, will continue to provide us with the possibility of expressing this love. – Karolina
Foto: Maria Morales.