As Magic

As Magic

Irina Atanasova

(Bulgarian Youth Forum)

My approval and my involvement in the project “#Standup2hatespeech!”  happened as magic, and I was very pleased to be able to participate in a training of such a sensitive topic of the present day. I did not have much preliminary knowledge and wanted to correct this. I left thrilled with curiosity about what would happen, because although I’ve been involved in such projects, I know every one is unique and full of new emotions.

All the three participants from Bulgaria were very excited at the airport, we discussed what we have taken from the items requested by the organizers, what they would used for, what surprises were prepared for us. We were so preoccupied that when we arrived in Rome we were called by the airport installation and we had to literally run the last few meters to the gate for the plane. Our group, however, arrived first at Palermo Station and hastened to be accommodated, and immediately went out and walked through the streets of this exciting city. To find the main sights like the cathedral „Quattro Canti“  and last but not least, Teatro Massimo – the fans of “The Godfather ” understand me. We were ina hurry to see as many things as we knew that we would be busy with seminars on the next day. We even managed to get lost in the little streets of the city, and then we realized that this is normal and even happens to the locals.

We didn`t get confused – the days were intense, with many seminars and activities. I learned a lot of things on the subject . There was a lot of new theory, but also a lot of new methods and good practices that enriched my experience. I got a sense of the hate speech situation and regulatory laws for many countries and got a larger picture. I am pleased to have been able to take part in filming a video against the hate speech, which is now part of the project’s results. I’m glad I always worked in different groups and I was able to get to know all the participants. The group quickly got united, we almost immediately felt as if we had known each other for an eternity. We spent our free time together, enjoying, strolling around the city, trying out typical Sicilian food and more. Most important was we felt like a family.

Not to forget to mention how exciting for me is always the cultural evening in which people from every country present customs, tradition, music. And here again I learned something new for each country and to taste some new food. But my favorite is to watch the enthusiasm and pathos with which each participant presents their homeland. And this night I was able also to realize my dream of dressing up with traditional clothes that were liked by others very much.

So, as another participant said, in this project we could all be ourselves, we felt comprehended, we were united. I’m sure I will always remember this project, and when I think about it I will smile and remember nostalgically how much I’ve learned in such a short time. It was a pleasure to participate.