March entering Vienna

March entering Vienna
Civil March for Aleppo entering Vienna

Thursday, January 26, 2017

DAY 32 - Civil March for Aleppo

I jumped in a plane for Germany on  dec 30 to join a Civil March for Aleppo.
I now walk since 26 days with all kind of people. I left everything behind: dog, house, friends, girlfriend. Since the war broke out in Syria, my nights were not as quiet as before. But could not find what I had to do about it until I red an article on the BBC about the Civil March for Aleppo. It took me 24 hours to jump on the unknown. The same way I did it 30 years before with Lebanon. And I started to walk among people I did not know through countries I never visited before. Sleeping in schools, churches, mosques, gymnasium and even castles, straight on the ground, sometimes in the cold, without any matelas. Surprisingly, since then, I sleep better. But walking is not enough and, although Ahmed, a Syrian refugee from Aleppo, told us that we were bringing back hope to him, it was not enough. Jon Jørgensen, the only embedded journalist in this March (from the Danish daily newspaper Information) along with the amazing loving Helger opened my eyes in what should be improved in this protest movement: more talks between us about the war in Syria, more practical ways of influencing our political responsibles, our citizens. Therefore, a serious discussion took place days ago between us and the organisation, starting with Anna. Helger had the guts to express herself and it was clear she was right: we are here to serve a single purpose: peace in Syria and what do we concretely do to fulfill this goal? And since then, I have the feeling a New March started.
First, we now try to save as much time as possible to free more space for discussion between us. A new schedule popped up: at 8.15, we have a short press review about Syria. Thanks to Iris, we have a daily question for the day we can talk about while we are on the March. Then we go for a walk of around 20 km. After a rest, we have an optional meeting between 5 and 6 to share our wonders and responses to the question of the day. Today the question was about the issue of the March if a peace treaty is signed, a question asked by Jon days ago already. Between 6 and 6.30, we exchange our impression of the day and what could be improved. And then, we have a bit of free time before collapsing in our sleeping bags.
Since 26 days, I have no more dog to pet in the morning, no more Canigou mountain to admire, no more bike ride through the Corbières.
Sleeping bag daily spread straight on the floor of a cold castle or an old church for few hours of sleep makes me feel better than ever.
What about the victims of the conflict and this March, I don't know. But now I think I can be able to look at them straight into their eyes without turning red of shame,

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