What moves us to act

 

The encounter with Gambian refugees in Müllheim im Breisgau, their reports and the circumstances on the ground have affected us. On the one hand. The continuously growing number of arrivals very soon led to questions about „why“ and „what now …“. It gradually became clear that there was a need for action here that could not be provided by public agencies. „We need to go there and understand first hand what is going on.“

A mixture of perceived urgency and diffuse curiosity first set Samuel Gebert in motion. In 2016, he set out to explore the country & people of The Gambia by bicycle. As was to be expected, his „grassroots situation report“ described a complex reality of conditions and – if you listened closely – quite different reasons for leaving the country to make the literally life-threatening journey via the „backway“ to Europe. The real challenge – namely to build a sustainable perspective for life „at home“ despite all adversities – could be tackled much better on the spot. The best way to do this is to recognise what is already there.

This raised a concrete question for „us“ – namely „who, if not us“ (or is it?). Besides Samuel Gebert (Müllheim i.Br.), these are Wolfgang Derday (Berlin) and Hinrich Schliephack (from the Taunus) – all three of them freelance. We are connected by a close friendship, which has also grown through many years of working together.

„Ok, we’ll tackle it.“ In a process lasting several years, curiosity, joy, numerous ideas and finally the decision to turn to the country and its people matured. According to the motto of Lilla Watson:

„If you came here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you came because your liberation is connected to mine, then let’s work together.“ *

* Lilla Watson – Visual artist, activist and academic working in the field of Women’s issues and Aboriginal epistemology

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