in excelsis / Kamp Zeist

Up high there are no angels, just faces behind bars, sharp silhouettes in lighted windows. There’s a fence decorated with barbed wire and wilted flowers. Behind that, a no man’s land that we try to bridge with candlelight and Christmas songs.

There’s a collective shock as some of the silhouettes address us in Dutch. Deep down we still thought we were singing to aliens, but now we suddenly realise that it’s our neighbour locked up in there, our father, our daughter, our best friend.

We sing about another refugee, one that was born in a stable because his parents were refused shelter, one that spent the first few years of his life as an alien in a strange country, and was eventually executed by his government. The ancient story comes alive before our eyes. Not the sweet and harmless story we’ve turned it into, but the real, raw one, barbed wire and all.

But I believe, want to believe, have to believe, and will make sure that the light in the darkness is real.

detentiecentrum zeist 2detentiecentrum zeist 1

(c) pictures: (in Dutch)


About hannadevries

University lecturer (in linguistics/artificial intelligence) with occasional opinions on religion & social justice-related stuff.
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