What do I hear when I listen to the city, when I look to the future in this place that surrounds me?
I see a neighbourhood of multiple languages, cultures, sounds, and fragrances. I see a woman wishing to tell the city that she and her child crossed the ocean and several continents to feel secure. She did not want to hear the screams of people running from the effects of war, hunger and disease. She wants to explain that she doesn’t understand what happened. Her town was peaceful before the modern tanks and men in strange clothes speaking strange languages came. No one asked her if she wanted that war, if she wanted the diseases or if she had enough to eat.
She is peaceful now. She feels relieved, this city will protect her, and her child will be able to grow and learn the language of the people helping her, a language so similar to the language of the men who came to her town.
No one is listening. No one responds, no one asks her how she is coping. She feels the city’s eyes looking at her with mistrust. She thinks: why do they look at me like that? Why are they sending me away?
She talks loudly so people can hear her. She tells them “I can work; I can pay for your help I am a strong woman. I crossed the oceans and several continents.”
I see other people wanting to communicate, wanting to tell their story but the city is becoming a city full of fear, closing doors and windows, not wanting to see, to hear or to talk, not even to their neighbours. I see the woman and her child in the street, begging and sleeping rough. Wishing to tell her story, but no one is listening.
But if I really really listen I can hear a child talking to the woman’s child, becoming friends, listening to each other in the park, and in this park a rose strong and bright is growing. Hold on, other children are talking, other children are listening. They talk about peace, about the games they used to play in their country realising they are the same but have different names, and they laugh at the sound of their voices and their accents. They will build a different world and they will grow listening and appreciative of each other.
When I whispered this to the woman’s ear she smiled and the star of hope sparkled in her eyes.
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