First a heads-up: This report is not going to be a hundred percent objective as I have spent two months (December '10 – January '11) with Lucia and in recounting my experiences cannot force my feelings into the cellar, although I will do my best.
The goal of the project was to attract attention to the human rights situation in Colombia and to encourage people in Europe to intervene in their own ways. For this sake we invited Lucia, a 24 year-old rapper and human rights activist from Bogotá, to Berlin. At the same time, we are always keen on exchange and wanted to bring her close to our personal, historic and cultural roots.
There were three ways in which we tried to reach people of different age groups to inform them and discuss with them about the situation in Colombia. The youngest were found in schools: In 6 secondary schools we visited Spanish courses and carried out projects about the daily lives of Colombian adolescents and the possibility of dealing with terrible experiences through music. Lucia inspired her students to write rap songs themselves about what they had learned. Their results were definitely worth listening.
Music kept being important because it is through her songs that Lucia can truly touch your heart. This is just her way of saying what she has to say, and she has to say a lot! In Berlin, Lucia had three performances, which were followed by concerts in Frankfurt, Copenhagen and Amsterdam. If the audience did not speak Spanish, the content of each song was summarized before its recitation in the listeners' mother tongue and during performance the songs were complemented by video projections. Lucia rapped about the situation of Colombian women, dealt with the assaults against the indigenous population or denounced the crimes against her fellow countrymen by the paramilitary and guerrilleros. Lucia offered very much and was rewarded with even more feedback during and after the concerts.
A little less sound was made at the information events. Open to all kinds of questions, Lucia explained the violent history of Colombia and afterwards showed a film about the project "Sur del cielo", which emerged from the need to give children and adolescents the possibility of a different, a better future. And yet again this is where music comes into play. Hiphop is supposed to offer the "barrio kids" a way of coming to terms with their experiences in a peaceful way and moreover of verbalizing which kind of world they would dream to live in. It was not only the goal to show how miserable life in Lucia's home country can be, but also to present rising hopes and how one can make one's voice be heard. Besides information events in universities, associations or on conferences, Lucia also gave interviews for radio stations, internet television and various newspapers.
Lucia told us so much about Colombia that we felt compelled to show her something from our own world, too, beginning from German history up to the present situation of young Europeans. Therefore we visited the concentration camp Sachsenhausen and the German Historic Museum, took a walk along the EastSideGallery and met with various social projects in Berlin such as "Madres y Migración" (MaMis). Moreover we explored the Berlin music scene, attending classical concerts as well as electronic music parties, swam at STADTBAD NEUKÖLLN and tested our strength in a climbing center. When we got hungry, we invited friends for cooking, and we watched political movies, which we discussed from our respective points of view.
What remains to be said? Only a great "Thank you" to Lucia and the hope that we will be able to realize more projects just as interesting and enriching as this one!