Peace Conference news

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29 April - 1 May 2016 DENMARK WELCOME TO THE PEACE CONFERENCE 2016! We have started a new tradition here in Tvind School Center, which we did for the first time last year. It’s an international Peace Conference and we got this idea to hold it here, because many of us who live and work together in Tvind, have for a long time been very very concerned about the development of current events. If you look only less than two decades back, in 2003, when the war in Iraq started and Denmark was discussing whether to participate in this war, there were big, big demonstrations. Thousands of people went to the streets, I was one of them, and there was big resistance among the population. The politicians also did not agree, but in the end the government decided anyway to go through with it and to participate in the war in Iraq. Since then Denmark has again and again decided to participate in different wars. And me personally I’m very concerned about such development. I can also see that the resistance among the population is becoming smaller and smaller during the years and today very few people speak up and say: “I’m actually against the fact that Denmark goes to war.” And it’s on-going process – last week Denmark decided to participate in the war in Syria. I really believe that it’s not that people in Europe don’t care, I just believe that people somehow give up. They don’t know what to do. And this is where the idea to make an International Peace Conference came up. As an invitation for people from all over the world, many different countries to gather and spend some time together, where we can learn, hear some good speeches, discuss, get to know each other and be inspired to come up with ideas for what can we actually DO against this development of destruction. We expect this year to have around 300 people participating in the Peace conference. It’s going to be a three day program. Friday will offer a broad variety of workshops, some of which are going to be about specific conflicts, like the ones in Eritrea, Palestine, Sri Lanka, other workshops will take more practical approach, like dancing, creating performances for peace. Saturday is the conference day, with good speeches throughout the whole day in three different sessions. The first session is dedicated to refugee topic, the second

is a speech from the main speaker, peace researcher - Jan Øberg who will talk about the current state of affairs in the world, and the thirf session is going to be about the Israeli occupation of Palestine. In the evening an international cultural evening will be heldwatching the performances from the workshops and enjoying each other’s company. On Sunday we will drive to Aarhus to participate in the 1st of May demonstrations. The headline for the whole conference is “Stop the wars, not the refugees”, which appropriately describes the connection between participation in wars and the consequence of it growing number of refugees. This connection is not really talked much about at all. We are looking forward to this event, I believe that it’s going to be some really good days that will inspire us to do something and where all of us are going to learn a lot and enjoy each other’s company. It seems to me that it’s very popular to talk about inner peace but I don’t really think about it in that way. I think that peace should be the right of every human being to live a life without violence and in freedom where there is justice to everyone - that would be peace! When I was very young I was volunteering in Angola and I came there one year after the war. Angola had been in a long civil war which stopped a year before I arrived and of course the consequences of these long, long years of war are still very evident. The buildings were completely destroyed, you could see bullet holes everywhere, the whole country was completely effected by the long years

of war. And then I was there during the first election ever in the history of Angola and after the election the war started again. Me and the other volunteers were evacuated to Zimbabwe, but then after the situation got more in control in the capital city Luanda, we were invited to come back so I returned to Angola and fulfilled my volunteering period in Angola while the war was still going on and obviously in Luanda it was safe to be but we could see the consequences, we could see thousands of refugees coming into Luanda and we were working trying to improve the conditions for these refugees. I was working in a school for street children and those children had to escape from the school they were living because the solders from the opposition party came in and threatened the teachers, so you can say in that way I’ve been close to it but of course I had no idea what it is really like to live during the war because I was there under my privileged circumstances. If I would have been under any threat, I would have been evacuated from the country. But the people who live in it ,they are there ,they don’t have a choice. So I think we can try to imagine it and I think we should... but I don’t think we can imagine it, if we haven’t experienced it ourselves. Annica MÅRTENSSON


Art is one of the possibilities how human beings can express their thoughts, feelings and hopes. Artists from various epochs have been creating pieces of art to describe the societies which they emerged in. At the same time, art is a powerful weapon to provoke reactions of the public, to propose new interpretations of our world and to raise awareness about different issues. In our globalized world, art, connected with social networks, represents society's state of mind. Art has became an expression of what we feel, what we want and what we hope for with the possibility to diffuse it easily in all the corners of the globe. On the other hand, the global connection, internet phenomena has improved the consciousness and expanded theknowledge that we can take from different topics and different regions of our planet, from India to Bolivia, from Iceland to Malawi, from Mexico to Iran. We are human beings with one common objective, who live and share homes of peace. Although a big army industry, a lot of wars and natural disasters exists besides that and although some people have interest to protect their weapon production businesses, peace is a global objective shared by many citizens of the world. This global connection amongst populations started, especially, during XXth century with the invention of mass media that helped to create the globalization doctrine. There are positive and negative aspects of this evolve-

ment, but this is not the objective of this text. Probably some of you or your parents remember the times of Vietnam War and how it shaped the birth of Pacifism as a doctrine that promotes peace. It was accompanied with specific arts, clothes style, political movements and other things related to peace cause. Art, activism and peace went hand in hand. During 80’s and 90’s armed conflicts rose up

photo: Abdallahy,

around the world, especially in some parts of Asia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. At the same time, the peace movement itself seemed to have had less publicity in a matter of demonstrations. It was year 2003, when the invasion of Iraq was proposed by some leaders that peace movement spread again and due to mass media was more pow-

erful than during the 70’s with its explosion. Nowadays, there are a lot of centers and institutions around the world whose objective is the research for peace and the resolution of conflicts. There are groups of researchers from different countries travelling, connecting with people and trying to find solutions to improve the conditions around the world. But there are different peace struggles driven by people, also. Some examples that exist today are the negotiations of peace in Colombia that are taking place in Cuba, the citizen movement of solidarity with the refugees in Europe or the BDS movement in solidarity with Palestine, among many others. In the recent years a new word appeared to define a group of people that are involved in the peace movement with some special characteristics. This new word is ARTIVISM, mix of art and activism. One of these artivists is Abdallahy, whose original name is Antonio Velázquez. Antonio is a Mexican artist who has travelled majorly in Western Sahara and in the past, participated in different conferences dedicated to this topic. At the moment, he is expressing himself as a painter, using his creations to unite Saharawi population at these difficult, struggle times. He uses ARTIVISM to defend human rights across the globe. All of us, let's join him! Let's contribute in our own ways, but most importantly – let's act! Let's be part of Peace Movement! Jordi GONZALEZ CAPEL

AMBASSADORS OF PEACE I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner. Nelson Mandela

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace. Buddha

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. Jimi Hendrix

An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind. Mahatma Gandhi

Peace begins with a smile. Mother Teresa

Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means. Ronald Reagan We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves. Dalai Lama Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence. Henry David Thoreau

Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. Albert Einstein

Harmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay. Sallust Even peace may be purchased at too high a price. Benjamin Franklin Peace is not a relationship of nations. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul. Peace is not merely the absence of war. It is also a state of mind. Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people. Jawaharlal Nehru

The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace. A persistent simplification will create an inner and outer well-being that places harmony in one’s life. Peace Pilgrim You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom. Malcolm X Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures. John F. Kennedy I am at peace with God. My conflict is with Man. Charlie Chaplin

MARCO PTG, Student /Denmark/ For me words are just something to describe actions, so the word “peace” is to describe how different people can live together without having bad things against each other. We have to teach children at school what peace is, not just how to solve math exercises or learn a foreign language but to somehow explore a little bit more other people’s culture. Technically I was in war for my first four years of my life in Angola, I was born in 1998 and the war ended in 2002, so I was 4 years old but I don’t remember anything. My parents have many stories of things that did happen while I was with them, but personally I have never experienced something like this. I’ve seen many results of what works for a country, they were both bad and good somehow because in Angola there is a tendency for people to stick together as they were fighting for 500 years against Portuguese and each other, but now they don’t want to be in a war anymore. Peace for me is when different people can live together in harmony. It is when you can have a mosque, a church and a Jewish temple all in the same street and have people to help each other instead of saying “Don’t follow other religion because it is fake”, but instead the priest from the church takes bread to the mosque and the mosque takes some Arabic bread to the church – this is peace for me!

MELANIE CICD, Teacher /England/ Peace is a state of mind. Peace is feeling fine and calm, being friendly with everybody, and not this how we are acting now - discriminating people and putting them aside because of their differences. Peace is being happy. I haven’t faced war like seeing people being shot or dying, but war has a lot of meanings and I think just discriminating people and seeing them being put aside is some sort of war as well. So in some way I have seen war, but not in the deadly way. Conflict appears basically everywhere when we start classifying people and put them into boxes. It’s amazing to be part of the Peace Conference, the spirit here is very good. There are so many people working for the same goal and sharing awareness about the importance of providing the information that is necessary in order to act towards peace.

NICOLAS volunteer /Germany/ When I hear word peace, firstly, I get an image of stillness, quitness, while sitting in a garden. I grew up in a country which was a reason of war, I am well aware of things Germans did in the past. On the other side, it is hard to say who is guilty, there are always reasons why there are wars and these reasons are not obvious from the first glimpse. We, Europeans, we live in a comfortable bubble, not many of us can really relate to war, know what it is. Peace is such a normal thing for us, it’s not that people wake up in the morning and say: thank you for the peace. It’s not that many of us know what it is to be hungry. I think it’s quite difficult for people to know, decide what to do regarding conflicts outside of Europe. Most of them are concerned about themselves, their survival, their safety net and it’s not something of a big surprise – it’s very humane. Media is covering some recent events, but we should always question their provided information, ask ourselves: why they are reporting these particular news. I know a few people who lost their parents, also, my sister works in young refugees care home, but we can not really relate to what we haven’t experienced ourselves. The question in today’s society could be: what is the right way to stop war. In last 2000 years there were only 200 years without war, it’s a pity that we just got used to it.

HUMANS OF THE PEACE CONFERENCE KARSTEN Lindersvold, Student /Denmark/ Peace for me is the basics of life. For me it means to be able to grow, learn, work and achieve things, to be with friends. War is the longing for power over each other. It comes from the need to press others down. Another thing is about economy, that there are some areas where there is some material which is needed so that people can produce goods and they think that it’s easier when they fight with weapons and bombs just so they can be the owners of these areas. It’s not easier to benefit out of each material while hurting people, and we can give an example how to prevent the conflict and how it can be solved in a peaceful way, through diplomacy and discussions. There is a long history behind this. When we look back, one of the first things that was taught was to discriminate people who have another religion and think in another way. I was born short after the Second World War and I grew up in the consequences of this war, meaning - torn down houses and destroyed cities. My mother´s

and father’s generation were kids in the Second World War which means that they also passed their experience to the next generation. I s t i l l r e m e m b e r my playground - completely ruined and sometimes it still appears in my dreams. It was like 20 years after the war had finished you could still smell in the houses’ basements how it was in that time. I’ve never seen the bomb but I could understand what my parents and grandparents were telling me.

MICHELLE PTG, Student /Denmark/ Peace represents unity of people. To me personally, peace happens then you don’t blame other people, you don’t drag them down, you just feel fine about who you are and who they are. War is an awful thing which comes from people who doesn’t feel good about themselves, so they act bad upon others. I haven’t faced war, I am afraid of it.

IBRAHIM Apollo Day School, Student /Denmark/

PAVEL CICD, Student /England/

BENT Villas Care Homes, Teacher /Denmark/

Peace for me is like having no conflicts around the world: no wars, no racism, people just talking to each other, without judging. Like you see an Arab guy on the street and you think he is a terrorist. Like many people when they see me, they think: “Ah, Ibu is black, he is from Africa, oh, what would he do?” Why people are based on the class? Peace for me is just like humanity. I came from the war. I’m originally from Iraq. I was 2 when I arrived to Denmark, which was the year of 2000, I’m 17 now, I can’t actually remember anything. My farther came here as a refugee, he got a permission to bring all the family to Denmark and since when we stayed here. Personally, I saw struggles of the refugees when I went to Greece and seen the situation down there a few months ago. I volunteered in a project called Soli cafe and helped refugees in all ways how I possibly could.

The meaning of peace for me personally is an understanding between people, because those, who understand each other, can know each other better and in that way they will be in peace. War, I guess, is the opposite of peace. War exists because of misunderstandings or lack of it between people or nations. I guess it’s simple be more open minded, participate in discussions and most importantly - visit different countries because only by speaking with the locals you can actually understand the culture and reasons for conflicts better. During peace conference besides communicating with each other, getting closer, we will also have a chance to spread peaceful messages to other international schools, more broad, maybe even around the globe. I have never faced the war directly in my life, but I have spoken to many people who have. I am from Czech Republic and there I met a lot of people who are from Armenia, and by hearing their stories I understand what a horrible thing it is. War makes people feel senseless. For example, my Armenian friend, who experienced war, told me that they were very scared of everything, so scared that they could not move, but in contrast, after some months they were so used to it. They would be sitting, sipping their coffee, even though bombs were flying over their heads. They stopped caring for themselves, it didn’t matter anymore if they will survive another hour or not.

For me personally, peace means a chance to build up a society and the world where you can help everybody and where there is an opportunity to create a good life for everybody, especially the weakest ones.

ERMES DNS, Student /Denmark/ Peace for me is freedom. Freedom to interact with many different people, to not be afraid, not be judged, to not have a conflict. Also, not to be afraid to express my opinion, feel understood and appreciated. To see other people smile, work together, cooperate, unite. There is no reason to live without peace. We are so stupid though, why do we need to fight?

RAFAEL volunteer /Spain/ Peace is an opportunity to grow as a nation and as a community. In today’s complexed world there are many different factors which are contradictory. During history one of the ways how to solve such situations was war but as human species we have a capacity to stop using war as a tool. We have wars due to such reasons like expansion of territories, false sense of threat, for resources or because of a symbolic sense. The best weapon for an activist, working in such fields as peace, climate, etc., is to gather information, knowledge. We can gain it by listening and networking with like-minded people in places such as Peace Conferece.

HUMANS OF THE PEACE CONFERENCE ROB volunteer /United Kingdom/ Peace is a still heart. War is opposite, a state of unrest, distraction. People who don’t have internal peace create a base for global signs of war to occur, society members start to take things offensively, hating each other. I have never had a circumstance to be involved in war in a political or global sense, but same as anybody else, I was involved in conflicts which do sort out. Having this background, it makes you want to help people who had a harder life. My expectations about the Peace Conference are hopefully to be inspired by speakers and people leading workshops, but also being inspired by simply meeting other volunteers here, too. Even a simple chat during the coffee break is completely inspiring. To be involved in the preparation is nice. I feel like it’s giving me a chance to get to know Tvind and the people here. It’s an enjoyable and fulfilling work.

ANNA Young Folks /Latvia/ Peace for me first of all means to stop wars in all countries, all continents. War is always have been, it is happening now, and there will be more for sure. I think that peace is like when there aren’t wars, there aren’t borders and we are all friends. And it’s like thinking: “Hey, I know you, you are like my brother”. Actually I’ve never faced war .I’m from Latvia and some time ago Latvia was a part of USSR. During the World War II my family members were participating in the war. My family was deportated two times during the World War II, as deportations from USSR or Germany happened regularly. Firstly, they were deported by the German army to Germany to work and a second time they were deported by the USSR to Siberia, also, as free labour. It was when my aunt had just gave birth to a son, so German army soldiers let her stay in Latvia but during the second deportation she was deportated. For me this conference is actually very important because it’s an

international event about a real problem in the world which is happening NOW. And yes, I’m standing here, talking about peace with you but somewhere in Africa there is a boy or a girl, same as my age and she is facing war, shouting, screaming …and this is terrifying.

PIOTR DNS, Teacher /Denmark/ Since the economical crisis started in 2008, we have experienced more and more violence, more and more war. Staggering food prices and growing unemployment have coincided with social unrest. We can and should call for peace but first of all we need to understand that there is no peace when hunger, no peace when thirst, no peace without social justice. There is no such a thing as a war hero. All heroes are peace. MEDIA GROUP PEACE CONFERENCE 2016: INDRE INDIE JORDI GONZALEZ CAPEL MIRELA KARADZHOVA