All of us are migrants: acting against xenophobia
There is a discussion taking place among public transport passengers in Lima, Peru, which has becoming increasingly common: "Why are there so many foreigners in the country?" "What are they doing here?" "Are they working?"
Getting on a bus involves sharing the same space with different people, but when the young migrant in the following video gets on the bus to sing, and in this way cover his expenses, he is berated by a Peruvian citizen who verbally abuses him in front of other passengers, simply because he is foreign.
This is xenophobia.
Indignation and solidarity are among the reactions of those travelling on the bus. And how about you? What would your reaction be?
The scenario changes when the protagonists of the argument reveal their identities: they are actors participating in an awareness-raising campaign run by the Sala de Parto festival (part of Teatro La Plaza) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Johan Escalante plays the migrant, but he is also a migrant in real life. He left his home country over 4 years ago to set out on his journey towards a better future, and now works as an actor. One of his activities as a migrant was in fact singing on the buses of Lima.
On the other hand, the Peruvian actor Pold Gastello plays the citizen who has a xenophobic attitude towards migrants. Although Pold has over three decades of professional acting experience in improvisation, theatre, soap operas and films, the xenophobic citizen was a difficult character to play because he had to bear the brunt of people's reactions.
Respect, humanity, perseverance. This is all the passengers request in order for migrants to be able to carry out their work and have the opportunity to progress.
Migrants experience the fear, anxiety and the vulnerabilities involved in embarking on their journey towards a better future. On the road, they might find themselves in danger and need protection or help.
The ICRC and Sala de Parto work in partnership to raise awareness about the importance of peaceful co-existence and to repudiate xenophobia, because we all have common roots; we are all descendants of migrant relatives, or are migrants ourselves. Lend a hand in an act of solidarity.