Vluchteling

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Bijna twee minuten en dertig seconden lang duurde de inleefreportage op het laatavondjournaal van de VRT, afgelopen zaterdag. Het langste item in de uitzending. Belangrijk nieuws dus.

Nieuws dat (wie niet beter wist) al de rest wat in de wereld gebeurde, terstond minimaliseerde en marginaliseerde. Nieuws over leven en dood, en duizendmaal sterven.

Nieuws dat het pad volgde van een man, bebaard, bezakt en opgejaagd. Een volwassen vent op de vlucht, zo bleek, ver weg van huis. Een gelukzoeker die, net als vele lotgenoten, vocht tegen de tijd die in zijn nadeel speelde.

Een avonturier, zwevend tussen overmoed en wanhoop, die zonder onderbreking, zonder rust of verpozing urenlang kilometers maalde.

Een hoopje mens dat plots in het inktzwart van de nacht dobberde. Zijn angst nam zienderogen toe, de eenzaamheid woog, de stilte stremde. Het echte gevecht, de kruisweg begon nu pas: de strijd tegen zichzelf.

Zijn voeten stonden ondertussen vol blaren, mini-kussentjes van pus en ontstoken vlees.

Diezelfde man die met kleine rode oogjes, het haar vettig van het zweet, in de camera toegaf dat de tocht ‘zwaarder en zwaarder’ werd. Maar zijn blik glinsterde ook. In de verte lag de eindstreep, wist hij: het walhalla na het wandelen. Daar waar anderen hem zouden opvangen en helpen.

Daar? Punt van absolute ellende en intense hoop. Daar? Niet Calais, niet Kos, niet Lampedusa, waar vluchtelingen stranden. Maar Bornem. Naar het schijnt ook een Dodentocht.

 

(Dit stukje verscheen eerst in De Standaard)

27 thoughts on “Vluchteling”

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