A glance at the new magazine PEACE What can a single person contribute to world peace?
– that is a matter for politics.
But civil society organizations and foundations are still needed in order to create that particular state of mind, that disposition for benevolence, and justice.
Without these, no lasting peace can be achieved.
In this multimedia reportage we introduce you to people who commit themselves to a peaceful society in very different ways.
THE DANCE OF LIBERATION
Many Syrian refugees in Jordan live in precarious circumstances. A project helps them come to terms with the traumatic experiences of war by expressing their feelings through capoeira.
The organization "Capoeira4Refugees" was founded by a German-Syrian and trains children and young people in refugee camps and communities that house people from Jordan's war-torn neighbor, Syria.
Fear of bombs has long since given way to frustration about uncertain futures. That boredom can turn to aggression, particularly for teenagers and young men.
Capoeira gives the young people something to do. It’s a way to overcome their boredom, and is an outlet for coming to terms with their traumatic war experiences.
In addition, the sport is often the only leisure activity available to these Syrian children.
Every Wednesday, Daniel and his co-trainer Hussein drive to Zarqa, where
around 50,000 Syrian refugees live. Here they train about thirty
children between the ages of seven and 17.
"Many of the children are angry and they don’t know why," says Daniel. “We want to give them a platform to express themselves.”
In cultures where men don’t cry or show their feelings, capoeira can be a way of expressing those feelings without fear of embarrassment.
One of the children at Capoeira4Refugees is Ali. He fled Damascus with his families four years ago. "If you’re just sitting around at home, you get aggressive," Ali says. "But if you do sport, like capoeira, you feel strong and confident."
Capoeira4Refugees is currently working on establishing long-term projects. One of the aims is to teach talented young people how to be capoeira trainers themselves.
"Children need something constant in their lives," says Martinez. "So that they become physically and mentally healthy adults."
Remembering conflicts MEMORY GAPS Efforts to come to terms with the wars in former Yugoslavia are still in the early stages.
Questions of guilt and responsibility remain unanswered, attitudes are stuck in the past.
Participants on a study trip to Serbia look for answers – and a common memory.
On of the participants is Bosnian Mirsad Duratovic.
As a 17-year-old in 1992, he was used as a human shield on the front by
Serb soldiers. His younger brother was executed right next to him.
Duratović lost 47 of his family members during the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.
After the war ended, Duratović helped to rebuild his home village and locate mass graves, and buried hundreds of his compatriots in cemeteries. He now wants to erect a monument in Prijedor to the children killed in the war.
Since 2010, Duratovic has been a member of Memory Lab, a network for people who
are involved in memory work, mutual understanding, and reconciliation. He and other participants visit places of of remembrance of the Yugoslav wars and exchange experiences about historical traumas in other regions.
Indeed, he credits the network for shaping his attitude towards the Yugoslav war in the first place. "Here I met Serbs who extended their hands in friendship."
In his hometown of Prijedor, Mirsad Duratović is regarded as both a warrior and a diplomat – and is revered. "If you, with your history, can manage to talk to Serbs and call them your friends, then we can too," people often say to him.
AN ISLAND IN THE MADNESS
Everyday life in Israel is shaped by segregation, mistrust, and recurring violence. Peace is possible only if Jewish and Arab fellow citizens meet face to face, a fact that has long been recognized by the organizers at Givat Haviva.
The campus of Givat Haviva is near Baqa, a small town in Wadi Ara, a valley between Tel Aviv and Haifa. Here, Jews live in kibbutzim privatized a long time ago, while many Arab Israelis live in densely populated villages. For ten years, wall and barbed wire have manifested the split identity of Baqa.
Part of the strategy of Givat Haviva is to engage the inhabitants of the village in a close network, whether at school, in their free time or for business – not live side by side in parallel worlds.
Women are an important part of this. They meet at the campus to for example work on their leadership skills. For Givat Haviva, they are the links to the female citizens in their respective communities.
Givat Haviva developed a pilot project that aims to get more Arab women into work. As a side effect, a second income lifts families above the poverty line. At the moment, every second Arab family lives below it.
How Can You Develop A Shared Society?
Muhammad Darawshe was Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow of the Robert Bosch Academy in 2016 and is the Director of Planning, Equality and Shared Society at Givat Haviva. He explains what needs to be done for Jews and Arabs to live together peacefully in Israel.
Read more about the topic peace and the projects showcased here in our current magazin.
Also in this edition:
PROMOTING PEACE IN TROUBLED TIMES
An essay by Germany’s Foreign Minister
A theatrical encounter for Ukrainians and Russians
RAPID ASSISTANCE FOR STRONG WOMEN
When female peace activists need help
Read the magazine onscreen
The magazine as PDF
THE MEDIATOR David Harland dares to go to places that others gladly flee: As a mediator, the former UN diplomat negotiates crisis settlements and helps to resolve armed conflicts.
David Harland has been the Director of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD) in Geneva since 2011. The private organization mediates in armed conflicts.
The mediators at the centre are called upon to assist by the belligerents or they approach them on their own accord if they believe a conflict is ready for negotiation.
The conflict in the east of the country has all but vanished from headlines worldwide. Yet the people in Ukraine need the attention of the West to return to a life of peaceful coexistence.
A training program for German representatives from politics, business, and civil society is helping to establish contacts within the country.
In September 2016, 15 participants travelled to Kiew to deepen their knowledge of Ukraine and advance their own projects.
"I understand much more about Ukraine now."
Sarah Reinke is one of the participants. She is head of the Berlin office of the human rights organisation Society.
She has discovered that the widely held view of Ukraine as a divided country is actually inaccurate. "Ukraine is a hybrid society. Some people look towards Moscow while others adopt more of a European lifestyle."
And it's exactly this sort of knowledge about conditions in the country that is crucial for Reinke in setting up a human rights organisation.
SEE YOU YESTERDAY Young acrobats from Cambodia perform a play about the Khmer Rouge – in a refugee camp in Rwanda.
People of the post-war generations from different countries learn something about the conflicts in other countries and are inspired to think about their own wartorn past.