“What are you running from,” they (the infamous they) ask each time I submit my card information to purchase some cheap ticket I found on a whim. This time I take slight offense, because I’m seriously beginning to feel uneasy about this Seeking Asylum project. Am I asking Black folks to give up the fight or am I trying to save a few lives? If we leave America, are we quitters, did they win? I put those thoughts to the back of my head for a few minutes because the shower is fucking absolutely amazing and hot, and this Alabama Shakes Sound and Color album has me somewhere between vulnerable and in love.
“Norwegians aren’t rude, they’re just shy,” my new half Norwegian, half Brit white friend informed me this morning when turning down my request to film him sharing his opinion on racism in America. He said:
“It’s a travesty, and we see these things over here, and we’re so sad for you all. Like, I truly can’t believe they can get away with these things.”
He did make amazing suggestions, and put me in touch with proper people who I need to write. Being here on a mission (no religion) is amazing.
Even more amazing was what happened after lunch today (Went to TGIFridays because most places we wanted were closed at 2pm). Walking toward the Norway Parliament, I heard voices in a distance, and suddenly right behind me. Hundreds of Ethiopian flags, faces, men, women, and children protesting the killing of Ethiopian Christians in Libya by ISIS. Three speakers and one chant later, I was feeling the importance of peace stronger than usual.
Being here in Europe attempting to find ways to bring peace into the lives of Black folks who’ve never had a chance with it in America, and finding other Black folks looking for the same for those 9,136 miles from me is more than inspiring; perhaps stirring. The sea of green, yellow, and red reminded me of my dear friend, Selam, who would have loved to have been there. She’d cry probably, and become angrier, and mountains would move in some direction.
Just a few blocks away, next to the building I asked my hostel front desk agent for help finding to take amazing sunset photos, was the Nobel Peace Center. Outside, on a banner just as tall as the building, was Malala Yousafzai. I’m finding it impossible to mention her name and not have a conversation about what her name means now, and who it’s moved. I repeat her words to myself each time a cop murders, each time I lose focus in why I’m here, and each time I’m defeated.
“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”
How truly altruistic, I thought. Walls full of architects who saw the importance of restructuring the entire house, not just their bedroom. How could these walls hold so much?
The one thing I retained from grad school is how to critically reflect. I went to the highest point in sight that had no walls, and stood there for some time, thinking about the house I’ve been wanting to build.
Then the rain came to join the 50 degree grayness, and we hit the cobblestone back to the hostel.
I’m thankful for being able to witness all I’ve witnessed, and share all I’ve taken in.