On my drive to Eidomeni on Tuesday I was listening to the radio. Mostly, I am stuck with top 40s or Greek songs which I actually enjoy as being in the camp can be a type of work out. What better music to pump yourself up than top 40s?
However, this afternoon while I was scrolling through the hundreds of stations I was happily surprised to find some Dixieland jazz. The host’s voice came on afterwards and mentioned, “Νέα Ορλεάνη” and a sense of pride and appreciation for my homeland came over me.
As the voice faded out a slow but familiar piano began to play. Immediately I recognized Nina Simone’s soulful instrumental style and voice…
“I wish I knew how it would feel to be free
I wish I could break all the chains holding me
I wish I could say all the things that I should say
Say ’em loud say ’em clear
For the whole wide world to hear
I wish I could be like a bird in the sky
How sweet it would be if I found I could fly
Well I’d soar to the sun and look down at the sea
And I’d sing cuz I know how it feels to be free
I wish I could share
All the love that’s in my heart
Remove all the bars that keep us apart
And I wish you could know how it is to be me
Then you’d see and agree that every man should be free.”
With every verse, tears grew in my eyes. It is a song that pertains to so much of the world right now and at that moment, for me, a song for the refugees.
This performance in particular says everything… “I already know. I found out. How it feels not to be chained to any thing, to any race, to any faith, to anybody, to any greed, to any hopes, to any anything. I know how it feels to be free!”