We set up some drums under a canopy on a sandy area, and started playing them. I also had my accordion out and ready to play as well. Quickly a mass of people came along and started playing.
It was intoxicating – they just went for it. It was loud and raw, but not uncontrolled. Everyone listened and improvised together, creating their own rhythms and chants, but the energy and joy was astonishing: like a group of children who’ve not been allowed to play and express themselves, and when they do, the sense of release is overwhelming.
They were connected, bonded in a way which humanises: listening to each other, part of an unstoppable surge of energy. A mass outlet which for an hour or so took them out of their current situation, and gave them status and agency in some small way.
Rather than being on the receiving end of both charity and political abuse (both of which can dehumanise) they had an opportunity to be people who could make things happen and were heard by others in a basic, non-verbal way. I hope this, in some small way, might change them and give them confidence in their own voice.
There are people out there who want to listen and not simply dismiss them.