The Guest Blog

Last night on the 2 July, the EURACTIV Project Team was pleased to attend an event organised by the Belgian NGO Refugees Are Not Alone (RANA) to support refugees in Brussels and to promote cultural fraternity at La Tricoterie in Brussels. The venue, an old furniture and shoe factory which has kept its industrial spirit by preserving the original architecture, was the backdrop to an evening of stand-up comedy, flamenco music and finally a testimony from a man who had experienced one of the cruellest violations to human rights: slavery.

The night started with music from Arte Late, a Spanish-Belgian band formed two years ago (their first concert being at an event for RANA) in order to prompt a discussion through music; to attempt to answer these societal questions on identity and a sense of belonging. Music was then followed by comedy with Jusef Madhloum, the son of Iraqi migrants and Basel Addoum, who arrived from Syria only a few years ago. Both stand-up comics used humour to discuss difficult issues, such as the struggles of having two cultural identities and being a migrant in the Belgian bureaucratic structure.

A man named Ba Samba then shared his incredible story of escaping slavery in Mauritania in 2007 by getting on a ship which ended up arriving in Antwerp. 12 years later, he has still not been given Belgian documentation, and continues to raise awareness on the struggle of undocumented people in Belgium and fights for the abolition of slavery.

Money raised from the event, including food, drinks and the successful tombola will go straight back into refugee projects. If you want to support RANA or find out more about the organisation, please go to their website:


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