“This weekend proved that Prague can be a multicultural heaven if it choses to be, I hope one day it will become a future example of how beautiful multiculturalism can be!“
RefuFest Multicultural Festival took place for the 11th time this year. This joyful celebration that promotes intercultural exchange and solidarity, gathered different communities living in Prague, and showed that they can be positive part of Czech society by presenting their culture, traditions and food.
The festival was held in Nákladové nádraží Žižkov, an abandoned railway station. In 2013, Czech artists and landscape architects have transformed the interior of the station into an art gallery and an environmentally friendly café/bar with outdoor seating occupies. This genius industrial location is also used for various cultural events.
On Friday the 27th of May, visitors had the opportunity to get acquainted with specific human stories and refugees on their experience, through discussions with them and Non-profit organizations, theatrical performances and Syrian music. A photography exhibition of refugee camps in Jordan and in northern Iraq by Jiri Pasz was held, and the first day ended with an Indie Czech band, the Silver Spoons.
Saturday’s program was primarily dedicated to migrants living in the Czech Republic. The program was including a series of dance and art workshops, and started with a Czech orchestra, followed by a traditional Bollywood dance and a vibrant Cuban flashmob cadenced by Los Cumancheros.
Besides musical and dance performances, ‘Human books’ were telling their life stories at different points in the ‘Human library’. In the hall 1, anthropological talks on cultures and their habits, a recitation of a Palestinian poetry and children’s activities. During the day, visitors had the opportunity to taste the delicacies of dozens of national cuisine; including Syrian, Ukrainian, Indian, Vietnamese, African… Colorful stands and cheerful people were pleased to serve their typical food.
Sunday started with a communal Ethno brunch. Visitors had a unique opportunity to try Bollywood and street dance, followed by a Syrian fairytale, theatrical performances and a graffiti workshop. This intercultural festival proposed a plenty of workshops and topical discussions focusing on refugees to manifest solidarity with them. A great opportunity for locals to interact with different cultures without fears and prejudices.
Hadi Al Khatib from Syria is working at Amnesty International in Prague and was part of the international volunteers’ team of Refufest. He shared with us his words.
“Refufest is a festival that is truly one of its kind! The festival provided a platform for more than 25 countries to present their culture through lectures, food and music. These cultures are often misrepresented in the media: at best romanticized about and at worst dehumanized. The festival was filled with love, acceptance, and a positive energy that can be felt a mile away. I have never seen Prague more diverse and more loving than this weekend. I have lived here for three years and I have grown to love this city but diversity and acceptance are things that Praha usually lacks. This weekend proved that Prague can be a multicultural heaven if it chooses to be, I hope one day it will become a future example of how beautiful multiculturalism can be!”
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