M., his friend and his little brother

A text by Sabine Wassenberg

M., his friend and his little brother just returned to the city after being pushed back. Their shoes and clothes are worn, and so probably are their dreams.

They carry no papers, they tell us. It makes me wonder: when the world doesn’t have any record of you, does it affect your idea of who you are?

When you don’t exist for the country your life takes place in, it might feel like you’re invisible, as if you were a ghost.

They carry no money. How can you do anything, anything at all in this world, with no money? Moving around, moving forward especially, seems impossible without this means – the numbers on papers and screens we all so strongly believe in. And yet, not even money – or the lack thereof – holds them back.

Structural, political decisions seek to prevent them from moving; at any time they could be caught and forcefully sent back to where they started.

In his eyes glow, side by side, M.’s shattered dreams and his tiredness, along with doubt and mistrust. Who are these guys from the Walk of Shame EU team he’s sharing some time with? Can they be trusted? What kind of crazy world is this? Are these people really ‘nice’?

It’s probably hard to believe that some people are sincere and kind, wishing you well, when you’ve been experiencing nothing but hostility, from people wishing you exactly nothing – or worse.

They sleep in sleeping bags in an old carriage.

All they can afford is a few hours each night to collect the pieces of their dreams. Trying to find enough energy to try another time, another way, to move forward.

Sabine Wassenberg is a philosopher based in the Netherlands.

The views expressed in the article pertain to the author and do not represent the official position of the Walk of Shame EU.

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