Monday, 7. August 2006

"Let's trust again" or Mission Impossible?
A letter to the participants of peacecamp 2006
by Evelyn Böhmer-Laufer

Dear peacecamp 2006-participants of all four groups!

Here I am, after 10 wonderful and exciting days we have spent together.
And I am asking myself whether I have given away the moment, whether I have missed the chance, the chance to tell you: Please don't give up.

Please don't give up the chance to shape your world, don't give up the chance to seek solutions even where there seems to be none. I know that our world faces seemingly unresolvable conflicts and problems. The conflict in the Middle East is but one of them. Europe, which through many centuries has seen bloodshed and wars between competing nations, is now consolidating to a united and proud continent, in which shared concerns have come to replace many of the national strivings, which have so often led to violence, war and bloodshed. And yet much needs to be achieved also in Europe; it is our task to protect and to promote what has been achieved and to ward off any tendencies that might stand in the way to peace, freedom and prosperity in our and other countries.

I was sad when I heard you say that there seems to be no solutions to the conflicts in the Middle East. I want to tell you that I do believe that there are solutions, even though we may not yet see them. I know that we are too few, too young, too unimportant to find solutions to political conflicts which generations of grown up people have failed to resolve.

And yet I am asking you to please not give up.

On the peacecamp, we were all confronted with difficult challenges.
Many of them seemed impossible, and yet, we managed to cope with them and succeeded in making a few missions impossible possible.

The whole peacecamp-project was such a challenge. When I first had the idea, everybody tried to dissuade me from it: I had no funds, no partners, no team, no tools, nothing. I did not know where and how to begin. The only thing I had was an idea and the strong wish to realize it, no matter how.

We have now realized the forth peacecamp within 3 years. This seems like a miracle.
We did it because we managed to "contaminate" others with the peacecamp-idea. I did not stop talking about it. I told everybody, everybody I knew and everybody I met about it. I asked my friends to help, to cooperate. And I found wonderful people, people who were willing to give a lot of their time and energy and to cooperate for no money, and for no other reason than just the gratification to make this "mission impossible" become possible.

On the camp, we all had to cope with mission impossible challenges. I saw you at the lake, when Uri or Nezar made you "suffffer" at tasks which seemed absolutely impossible to perform. I saw you combine your individual forces, your creativity and talents, I saw you unite as a group, as a team, in order to make the impossible possible. I saw you overcome your personal fears, I saw you take a risk; I saw you take all the risks that people usually tend to avoid in order not to make a fool of themselves, in order not to tire themselves, in order not to hurt themselves, in order not to be let down by others. And you did it. I saw you act as members of a team, rather than as individuals; when the team to which you belonged became important enough, you were able to overcome your own, individual fears and apprehensions for the benefit of the goal shared by all. This is how you could cope with the challenges and make the mission impossible possible.

I also saw you unite as a group in your attempt to question adult authority and although my first reaction to this was anger, I now understand how precious your "revolt" is to me in the retrospect: It now symbolizes for me your power as a group of critical young people, with your own critical judgement and the ability to disobey authority in a non-violent, peaceful and constructive way. It confirms my belief that you will not submit to rules or to rulers that you consider unjust or which do not lead you in the right direction. I therefore perceive you as immune to some of the diseases of society which often lead to injustice, discrimination, to violence and wars: you will not toe the line of any parties or leaders, but will rather voice your protest and unite with others in the attempt to find new goals and new ways in new, creative and non-violent manners.

When you, Israeli and Palestinian, can perceive it as your shared goal to live in peace and freedom in this Promised Land, which you both consider your homeland, you will find ways to tell others about it and find allies and tools apt to meet this challenge. When we, who live here in Europe, can make it our shared concern to assist and support your just quest for a safe homeland, we are all together on the right path into a better world and a better future.

Evelyn Böhmer-Laufer
August 1st, 2006

... comment