Monday, 13 February 2017

Barcelona’s Palau Sant Jordi hosts massive concert in aid of refugees


Barcelona (CNA).- 50 artists of different origins and backgrounds took part this Saturday in the benefit concert organised by the platform ‘Our home, your home’ which aims to reinforce Catalonia’s willingness to host refugees. The event, staged at Barcelona’s Palau Sant Jordi and attended by more than 15,000 people, is not the only one planned by the organisers of the initiative; next Saturday, ‘Our home, your home’ has called citizens to hit the streets in the Catalan capital to ensure that Catalan institutions act, leaving aside the inaction from Spain, to start hosting those who are trying to escape from war and poverty around the world in Catalonia. Indeed, the Spanish Government has only received 516 refugees of the 10,772 initially established in the scheme of distribution of the European Commission. The campaign ‘Our home, your home’ gathers together more than 200 Catalan associations and NGOs and a hundred cultural companies and citizens.

The concert contributed to making the public aware of the humanitarian crisis which has left, according to the UN, more than 200 million people worldwide escaping from war and poverty.

La Fura dels Baus, one of the most well-known Catalan theatre performing arts companies, internationally known for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Barcelona Olympics, was in charge of the dramatisation of the concert.The event’s central narrative was the refugee’s route divided into three blocks: first, the escape from war, destruction and misery; then, the trip, with the dangers, including the sea, the borders, the police prosecution and the inclemency of the weather faced and finally the arrival, which sometimes implies being stuck in a refugee camp. 

Three of the most outstanding groups of ‘Castellers’, the traditional Catalan human towers, also did their bit to help and gathered efforts for the first time in history to build a joint tower to bring to the stage the power of joining efforts.

Besides artists and hosts, the concert also included many testimonies which explained experiences as refugees. These included the words of Meera M. Zaroor, an 18-years old Syrian student established in Catalonia and Colombian doctor Rosario Vázquez, who has lived in Barcelona since she was 9. 

Òscar Camps, activist and director of the NGO Pro-Activa Open Arms who won the 2015 Catalan of the Year Award, contributed to explaining the refugees’ situation to the public and called for the public institutions to react. ‘Stop Mare Mortum’ spokesman, Toni Borrell, Eko refugee camp volunteer David Zorrakino, and Jordi Armadans, spokesman for all the associations within ‘Our home, your home’ also emphasised the need for a joint response to tackle this humanitarian crisis. 

More events scheduled

The movement ‘Our home, your home’, is the result of a group of volunteers meeting in refugee camps at the border between Macedonia and Greece, and aims at raising awareness, mobilising citizens and asking the institutions to give a clearer and more forceful response to the refugee problem. The main goal is to ensure that Catalan institutions act, leaving aside the inaction from Spain, to start hosting refugees in Catalonia. 

Next Saturday, a week after the concert, 'Our home, your home' will encourage people to hit the streets in a mobilisation that is expected to be the biggest at a European level since the outbreak of the refugee crisis.

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  • Family picture of the volunteers and associations launching the campaign 'Our Home, Your Home' on the 29th of November 2016 (by ACN).