Little Amal is a 3.5 metre puppet of a young Syrian refugee girl designed by Handspring who also created puppets for the National Theatre production of Warhorse. Her journey began in July on the border of Syria and Turkey, and she has travelled across Turkey into Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium.
After events in London this weekend she will continue with several stops across the UK on a “search for her mother” which ends in Manchester next month.
At St Paul’s on Saturday a huge crowd welcomed her, along with a funky brass band, a choir, lots of schoolchildren, and religious leaders. She brought with her a letter from the birthplace of St Paul, Tarsus in Turkey.
Real Media interviewed Naomi Webb, executive director of one of the production partners, Good Chance, who explained that the main purpose of the tour was to give a chance to the many positive voices who understand we need to give refuge to migrants who often flee countries with nothing – countries whose settled communities have been displaced by conflict, extractivism or climate change that WE are mainly responsible for.
An example she gave is that Dover has a reputation, inflamed by corporate media, as a hotbed of anti-immigration, but that this is a loud minority. In fact, thousands turned out in support when Amal arrived there last week.
The Walk has reached out to youth, community groups, artists and schools all along the journey, hoping to spark conversation and counter some of the prejudice that exists against refugees.
More info at walkwithamal.org