This is a short version of a long journey of a Syrian family as it was inherited to me by Mandela (what a nice coincidence) who was 11 years old back in 2016. It is their journey from Syria to Athens in an effort to reach Germany. The father had managed to go there alone nearly a year before, to prepare for the arrival of his family. Although Mandela spoke English, she felt that it would be best to also draw her version of a map. She was laughing and rolling her eyes, while drawing and explaining, trying to accept the irrationality of their story.
Mandela escaped a bloody war, the liquid cemetery of the Mediterranean sea and the prison Greece has become, due to our broken geo-politics. And although her heart ached, as she told me, she kept laughing.
Mina Kouvara ([email protected]) is an independent researcher and practitioner based in Greece, working with heritage in remote regions. Her interests focus on community-led participatory practices for the perception, interpretation and management of cultural landscapes, as ways to re-establish our relation to the commons.
For more on Antipode’s “Conjunctural Insurrections” series – an experiment to amplify voices often unheard and invisibilised in politics, daily life, and academic discourse – see https://antipodeonline.org/2020/06/23/conjunctural-insurrections/