No Border Fest

It is a 3-days annual festival of workshops, public debates, video/photo-exhibitions and music dedicated to the topic of freedom of movement and struggle against diverse forms of racism, established in the year 2009.

SCI Italia is the main promoter along several other associations and informal groups such as Laboratorio 53, Associazione Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione, Officine Culturali Insensinverso which deals with same issues mentioned above.

The 8th edition of No Border Fest was hosted by Officine Culturali Insensinverso and La Città dell’Utopia between the 1st – 3rd of July, 2016.

Officine Culturali Insensinverso is an association based in Magliana neighborhood in Rome, involved with organizing  Italian language learning classes for migrants and, also implementing theatrical plays and other activities  thereby making the migrants active and not passive.

La Città dell’Utopia one of the hosts of the event, is a community-based project run by SCI Italia and based in San Paolo . It is a meeting place for several associations and informal groups that works with/for migrants , hosting and  implementation of activities.

The venue for the 1st day was in Magliana with a movie screening titled “WAITING AREA”. Here we saw migrants / asylum seekers who are stuck at the border between Greece and Turkey. They were not allowed into any of the countries and no place provided so they wait with their tents at the border hoping. Seemingly NGO’s and television houses come to interview and make videos that ends up as personal tools for enriching themselves instead of getting help for these people. And in order to get the papers as an asylum seeker you have to book an appointment for a Skype interview which happens once in a week for 1hr ! And at the end no one ever gets to pick the call which thousands of people  are waiting for. So they remain there waiting !.. Which brought about the title of the video “Waiting Area”.

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The 2nd and the 3rd days of the event took place at La Citta Dell’Utopia. There were Workshops, discussions and activities involving the migrants as well on the movements and lives of the migrants as travel. The pains and sufferings they go through to make it to their desired destination. Even the women have to prostitute at each border as a means to pay their way through. Each ship sails with more passengers than it should carry. And as always someone  or more people usually dies before getting to the desired destination.

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We also saw through a playlet how the sufferings never ends even after the traveling experiences. They get into a society and are denied job opportunities, they get ripped off or are seen as people of different colors who are not to be associated with, and which shouldn’t be! This particularly on my own understanding is the message of the No Border Festival. There should be no borders between people despite our different colors, races and countries. If there are borders separating countries, should individuals also create personal borders separating us from each other? Why create unnecessary fears in the hearts of our children and future generations when we can actually live in peace with one another as portrayed in the music and dance performances  on the final day of the event by people from different countries and cultures.

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This is our call to create a society with No borders between people due to their colors, countries and cultures. If things were alright where they are coming from, they would not be where you find them. Let’s give each other the Peace we crave for by having No  Borders in our hearts because we are all the same!