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What the hell is No Name Kitchen? Happy 6th anniversary to all of us

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By Ric Fernández / No Name Kitchen Movement

We are a movement by, for and with the people who every day suffer the violence of a fearful and cruel border system. This is how we were born, together and hand in hand, people seeking refuge and people trying to help. Just that simple, people lending each other a hand, and sometimes, a lifeline.

There are no labels to qualify us, that’s why we are the kitchen with no name, because we evolve every day; when the needs change, we adapt our solutions. One day we deliver food in Bosnia and portable showers in Serbia, the next day we distribute sleeping bags in Greece and provide legal support in Ceuta. Well, we actually do this and many other things every day, but we neither save the world nor pretend to do so. We distribute solidarity, that’s for sure, and our secret is to listen; that´s why we don´t work in official camps, because the people wants to fly like birds, not to be trapped as mice.

Those who migrate and those who welcome are the same force, the same struggle. We back each other up, we cultivate friendship, and we smile reading the messages of those who have finally managed to find a safe place. Those who thank from Holland, Italy or Germany, so many cups of tea, so many coats and so many laughs shared in the forests and abandoned factories where thousands of people are forced to hide from a reality that marginalizes them because of their poverty, the way they look, their faith or the color of their skin. Long live diversity! Viva la kitchen y la vida loca!

Knock, knock? Who´s that? A group of good people with little money in a cozy space where every year hundreds of activists bring their effort and empathy. There are kitcheners passing through, giving it all at the borders, and long-term activists putting everything into coordinating this hurricane. Nothing and nobody can get us off the ground. There we are, 24/7, 365 days a year without pause, without bragging, without vests and corporative logos to sell our humanitarianism. The logos are only in our ethical store to finance ourselves without depending on public subsidies or institutional accomplices. To disobey injustice; that’s our motto.

The Kitchen is a heart without barriers. It is a teacher installing a water tank in Bosnia; it is a group of students in Brussels calling for an end to violence in front of the European Parliament; it is a volunteer presenting a documentary in her neighborhood, and it is a doctor treating the wounds caused by the Hungarian police trying to stop migration through pistol-whips.

Since we started cooking in the Barracks of Belgrade, we have a deal: love and resist. We swallowed bumpy roads, interrogatories and expulsions. We cried over the bodies of our deceased friends. Yes, walls are a fucking disgrace, but NNK has a deal with its values, and we beg your pardon, dear borders, but we´ll go on until the end. Even if Serbian nationalists spray us with petrol and want to set us on fire, even if the Croatian interior minister calls us traffickers, even if they ransack our warehouses or paint swastikas on our vans, they will not shut us up.

We will continue to report and denounce. Every person is worth a world. That’s why there is so many NNK on Europe’s harshest borders, offering water, shoes and firewood to those who want to share their stories of suffering and resilience. We will continue to collect testimonies from those who suffer nightmares remembering the kicks, the blows and the suffocation suffered in each illegal pushback. We will keep telling it, until Von der Leyen, Bozinovic, Marlaska, Orban and the whole European society know what is going on: that our taxes are being used to torture people.

People who ask for little, almost nothing, apart from being able to migrate. These are the people we stand and will stand with.

What about you? Who do you stand with?

We don´t want to change our origin, but to make our destiny.