The rendezvous was made; a meeting with others. The night was dark and dank as the drizzle stormed down on our gathering. Black Gothic gates barred our entrance to the large stone building. We waited patiently. We were all strangers, curious about what lay ahead. We didn’t know just what to expect.
At last, the clanking sounds came of the gates being opened; we were told to assemble in straight lines. It was almost as though we were awaiting some sort of detention duty. A loud cry went out as another person came scrambling out of the darkness crying “My child, please see to my child” as uniformed personnel rushed around, issuing orders for us to enter asking questions “Were you followed? How many? Are there any more?” “My wife, my child” were the only words that the man managed to utter within his sadness. Lost in explanation, a large door began to open to a warehouse type area; as one, we were herded into its vast inner sanctum.
Slowly, we became aware of our surroundings. We came under an incredible amount of scrutiny from a multitude of people, and saw children huddled together in one corner, as if afraid of our arrival. “We have a few supplies and blankets, please share the blankets” the voice on the speaker announced. Some people came forward as if on a welcoming bid, imploring details about the outside. The man and child were rushed to an enclosed area with a Red Cross embellished on it.
“For fear of disease” the voice continued “you will have to be examined. Your photograph will be taken, a detailed form will need to be completed; you will then be assigned a number “.
The air was stifling; people were talking wildly about their relatives and whether anyone of us knew anything about them. Hands were inspected and washed; we were each issued with toiletry samples. The siren shrieked shattering our thoughts, as the lights dimmed
“Get down and remain still!” the urgent command drilled.
We all lay prone on the hard floor using the blankets provided.
Repeated blows on the door followed as security personnel entered, they were looking for certain people, but received only a stony silence. A child cried out in pain “There is nothing we can do” a medic announced as the man walked aimlessly around.
Fear held us in its grasp. Notices on the wall were adorned with desperate messages; missing people cried out to be found. You could almost reach out and touch the growing mania of panic and distress of what we were all witnessing.
This was an experience that we had not only watched; we had participated in a human drama.
“You’ve got a swarm of people coming, seeking a better life” A play had been performed but we were also the actors, the performance may disappear but the crisis of the refugees would not go away. It was an experience driven by conflict, of painful human reality of what is actually happening. The play was called ‘The Swarm’; the company were the Fio Productions and it was staged at the Pop Factory, Porth.
It was not a tale of the unexpected. At its conclusion it was a diverse platform for the further discussion of ethical and political issues.
The truth hurts.