A tenth peacecamp took place in Reibers/Lower Austria with 30 young people, Jewish and Palestinian from Israel as well as teenagers from Austria and Hungary, and ended with two shows4peace, one in Reibers and one in Vienna, in front of a large audience…
In the light of the stalemate of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the absolute lack of political voices apt to re-establish a constructive dialogue, it seems worthwhile to give young people tools to understand the complex issues and to find ways to resolve the conflict between the two people in a peaceful manner. Europe, where generation-long bloodshed and the atrocity of the Iron Curtain have come to an end, has still a way to go before it reaches its own goals to safeguard freedom, equality and dignity of all people living in its countries. It is therefore important to call young people’s attention to the way in which their countries deal with political refugees, minorities and religions and to enable them to relate to their political environment with a sensitive and open mind.
Two film projects and one Austrian Television team accompanied peacecamp through the whole time: Gerald Muthsam’s video-film
was shown for the first time at the show4peace/Reibers and on the following day at show4peace/Vienna in the Theater Dschungel (MuseumsQuartier). Walter Wehmeyer’s film will be presented in Vienna at the Jewish Filmfestival http://www.jfw.at/2012/. A short documentary was broadcasted by Austrian Television.
4questions4peace, answered by all before they came to Reibers offered a basis for discussing important issues about the meaning of the word peace and about the way in which each of the participants can contribute to make his or her world more peaceful. A few months after the encounter, they will have to answer these questions again, giving us the possibility to evaluate in what way peacecamp has contributed to shape their ideas about the important issues of their region and of their time. Previous peacecamps have already shown that the young people who attended them came back with more understanding for different viewpoints and with greater sensitivity, empathy and maturity.
The highly structured programme kept people busy from 8 a.m. into the late hours of the day with meditation and yoga exercises, analytical large group discussions and political talks4peace led by experts. Four cheerful and interesting culture evenings arranged by each of the participant delegations gave a hilarious, musical and tasty introduction into each of the participating cultures and religions. Creative and playful elaborations on the individual family and personal histories allowed to compare and to understand how the other young people grow up within their respective families and social systems and to discover not only the differences, but also the similarities between all of them.
The prospect to keep in touch and to visit one another was dangled at a tearful goodbye at Vienna Airport by the group of participants of former peacecamps who have made their way to Reibers to relive with us moments of excitement, of sadness and joy and to reassure us that the bonds that were created here could last and live in spite of the distance. These bonds of mutual respect, affection and care will constitute the basis on which these young people – peacemakers of tomorrow – will carry on their debates, hopefully leading into a better world, a world of peace.