It was the caravan star
Ramazan Mile, Journalist
The sounds of the violin and the river waves formed such a musical duet as the spiritual and human eternity; they created a paradise worthy for any terrestrial and celestial being. The slant moon rays reflected on the river surface a radiant dropping view.
The tents arranged in a circular form, like a circus arena were enkindled by intense fire. Men and women sitting around the fire, dusted due to the long journey, were talking in Romani language, in the language of exhaustion, in the language of migration. The tired children had placed their heads on the laps of their mothers.
They were sleeping and dreaming. Majestic and powerful seemed the night over this group of migratory people.
-Don't sing that song! - a harsh voice was heard.
A melody of that wailing song was interrupted inside a tent, a melody was left in the middle. A forgotten memory “Tears and love”.
After a while, an angelic and powerful voice seemed to descend out of clouds, challenging the silence of that evening. A young woman, worn in the fire glow appeared in the middle of the circle, accompanied by the sounds of the violin.
Was that living Indian pagoda going to compete the moon ? From her walk, you could certainly compare her to the graceful trotting of Arabic horses.
A rare beauty among fire, moon and river. She was “the caravan star” as Roma people would call her. She was their misery and happiness. A source of conflicts for young men, a beautiful paradise for her parents. Her small legs, like the legs of a Roma princess started to move vividly and the elderly people shook their grizzled heads pensively.
The young men rose to their feet.
-Let us dance- they said.
All the people stood up, elderly people and children.
-Let us challenge this evening with songs and dances.
The old man, the head of the caravan rose to his feet and danced just like a young man. The bohemian dance continued. The star of the caravan radiated a full range of light in the center of the circle. A child started to cry with an abrasive voice. It seemed as if the song and the dance were immediately interrupted.
-What does the kid want? –asked the head of the caravan in a serious voice.
Give him something to drink.
-He doesn't want to, - answered the mother anxiously.
-Then, he may sing, -he said again- He is still so young.
-What does he want then?
-He wants the moon among us.
-Pick it and give him that golden necklace, - said the head of the caravan pleasantly. The bohemian dance continued joyfully until the stars faded in the sky.
A return from the road of hell
(The story of a Roma immigrant)
-We were sixty people - started to tell his story one of the returned people. – We had been traveling for three days. Our feet were swollen, the sacks were burdening our backs like a curse. Our bread had become stale.
Thirst was torturing us, our lips were dried for a drop of water. We looked for an oasis in this endless forest dessert. We traveled at night and slept during the day. The hotness was burning, but we were determined to pass the cross boarder and arrive the proper destination. It didn't matter if we would find a job or not.
That was a second hand problem. What mattered to us was to avoid the confrontation with the soldiers of the foreign country. We had heard that if you fell in their hands, they would torture you cruelly.
The anxiety, fatigue and stresses of a foreign country created a sort of confusion in our minds, as we weren't able neither to speak, nor to think.
-Were there women with you ? – I asked him during a brief span of silence.
-Oh, women, - he said thoughtfully, smoking his cigarette deeply. – Certainly, women are inseparable part of our journeys. There were six women worn in miserable clothes, placed in the middle of the column, to protect them from any potential evil. Yet, can you protect them in a foreign country ? –he smiled bitterly and an indescribable rage overwhelmed his face- We were walking across an endless forest. The air was fresh, birds were accompanying us during the entire journey with their twittering and that was to some extent, a kind of consolation to us. We had entrusted our destiny to the guide, who was walking at the top of the column. We were extremely tired when the guide gave us a sign to stop. Tired because of exhaustion and scanty sleep, we sat where we could, placing near our feet the food sacks.
It will take us a little while to get out of the forest and then after walking a little further, we will arrive in the proper destination , - said the guide, - so let us relax for a while. We sat on the ground, placing our sacks below our heads, we were almost asleep.
A tiresome sleep with black shadows and dreams in our heads, the worn out body seemed foreign, just like the land where were leaning on to acquire a little bit of strength, which has no value in a foreign country.
During the moments of misery and hope, the steams of mind start to escape towards the unknown. When the heart arteries, with the liquid of life wait for the moments of freezing and these moments are present in the road towards which were heading, where silence and hope walk together, when seconds and coincidence are of much value.
When the sudden moment comes not at the appropriate time, when the destiny curses you and remains a fatality...
He was speaking thoughtfully and revolted in the dimensions of a human being, defeated and destroyed by this inevitable fatality of the right and freedom to live. He interrupted his conversation immediately, smoking his cigarette contemplatively.
-At the end- I asked him- did you arrive in the proper destination?
-At the end, - he said with a crippled smile, - the soldiers woke us up with kicks, encouraging a snoopy dog to attack us. They were four persons altogether, all of them armed and the dog had a beautiful name: Max.
They gathered us together and lined us up with the help of the dog, which was too speedy to bite. As usual, at the beginning they checked our sacks.
Due to the help of the translator who was our guide as well, they asked us if we were carrying weapons with us.
Certainly none of us had any weapons. However, to show their military enthusiasm, they lied all of us flat on our backs and Max, under their command “patted us” from time to time, biting us hard. It was harder for women, who were screaming. Max received a congratulation from the soldiers whenever he gave a bite.
They were difficult moments. The soldiers seemed to us not like human beings, but like hell devils. Their faces were shaped life the face of Max.
After taking us our shoes off and hanging them around our necks, they lined us up in a column and hit us with the butts of the weapons, as if we were beings coming from another planet and not sons of the earth.
We had been walking for almost two hours in cragged paths, with edgy rocks and sharp stones, which hurt and made our feet bleed. Women started to cry, begging to the soldiers to let them wear their shoes, but the answer was only the biting of the dog.
At a certain point, one of the soldiers, in order to make our journey “more joyful”, ordered the translator to sing a Greek song in form of an encore.
Forced and humiliated, we started to sing in Greek, without knowing the meaning of the words of the song, as none of us spoke a single word in Greek.
As it is well known, there is no need to understand the words of the songs, because their melodies “make people brethren”. Isn't “The international” the song of people from all over the world?
-Of course, -I said, smiling ironically.
-After a journey of several hours, we arrived in the destination, not for what we headed for, but for what the destiny offered to us. They arranged us in form of a circle, like cattle and let us under the sun for five hours.
Thirst and hunger were torturing us immensely. Our lips were cracked for a long time. Each of us would offer the half of his lifetime for a drop of water. We started almost to faint and our sight was becoming hazy. It was the pinnacle of our patience. Someone of the circle stood up and asked for some water.
The soldiers, seemingly satisfied from their duty, put their hand in the heart this time, but I am not sure if they had a heart or not.
They allowed each of us to drink water and who has proved thirst knows what it means to drink a little bit of water. A jail van loomed from the sunset direction.
They took and crammed us inside like sardines, heading toward the boarder, the place where we had departed.
This time, the soldiers didn't hit us but looked at us with compassion. Apparently they lost a part of their tragic- comedy. Although the great Esciles would spit in the face those cruel beings, Max accompanied us, grinning its teeth and seeming very happy.
-Would you depart again? –I asked him.
Of course, -he said pensively. –journey remains a journey. Maybe we can reach “ Paradise ” through the road of hell.