In 2017-18, for the whole year, I was renting the studio in one of the towers of Bijlmer Bajes, a former prison in Amsterdam. The plan was to attempt a collaboration with refugees, who were housed in the towers of the same former prison. A year of workshops, meetings, and conversations with refugees as well as the local artists, activists, and academics resulted in the Carnival of the Oppressed Feelings, a whole-day performance on the streets of Amsterdam.
With this publication, I would like to say thank you to my new friend Murad whom I met during a year-long art experiment in a former prison. Among all of 350 inmates of the AZC – the centre for refugees who were waiting there for their destiny – Murad was the only one who took my suggestion to write a diary seriously and completed that task with full-hearted commitment. I don’t think that without Murad it would be possible at all to complete the whole year-long project that climaxed as a street performance in Amsterdam and united 150 people of different groups previously reluctant to talk to each other. That does not mean that I was struggling with the lack of institutional support from organizations with whom I worked. But the political struggle is possible only when you have a comrade who shares his believes with you, the one that is called the other by Hannah Arendt – the precious other, whose sight and care liberates, makes you free.