Dear Rabbi Melchior,
I remember one symposium that I took part in Austria more than five years ago. Subject of it was also then, especially now very actual-Arab spring. Spring-what a strange word for destruction of who knows how many human destinies. Because, no matter how we look at things-as an attempt of one part of human kind to get freedom from dictator using help of world non official police or if we look at things as attempts of ruler to keep his privileges, result is always the same-people will always get hurt, most likely those innocent ones. And that kind of spring made that flood of people with no way out have to move and look for new horizon in Europe and elsewhere. Coming to this point, I do not think the right question would be: who sentenced them to do it, but: how will we make peace come there? Actually, that should not be a question, but an imperative. But it is not.
Coming from post conflict region in Europe, where peace is just a consumable good and there is always some new story about ongoing war, I feel empathy for all of those who had to leave their homes, countries, continents, their piece of sky, running from bullets, whoever shot it. And living in this mad reality, where you have to choose one side, even facts are saying that right side often does not exist when it comes to protecting lives of civilians, I often wonder is human kind sentenced to eternal war, proclaimed by so needed peace. War for peace-such a nonsense.
Remembering your words from speech in Aarhus, that dialogue is not a tool to prevent crime and terror, but a heart of our civilization, purpose of our life- which I couldn’t agree more, but reality keeps on denying us. We know that peace is main subject worldwide, but yet, we cannot reach it, as if it is some strange concept, just a word on many papers, in all historic times and those which are not so historic! Is there something more needed than dialogue today, worldwide, and I feel that by every day we are more far away from it. Mass media became spoke persons of non communicative world, where you can get wrong impression by listening to right people and having prejudices towards other side. White is black-that’s today’s motto. Can peace live just on paper of fairytales for children?
Reading once again about bloody history of a mankind –and can history be different than bloody-great writer such as Erich Maria Remarque reminded me of the fact that young men were called to fight and protect their country, even they did not know why they are dying, nor which is the purpose of it. Great mystification of death, isn’t it. And yet, it is continuing since today, with better means of persuasion and more money to gain. Main character of Remarque’s novel “All quiet on a western front”, soldier Paul Baumer, got killed at the end of a novel, shortly before the end of First World War. By letting that main character die, Remarque predicted future of all ongoing wars, which wiped out many young people from this earth.
It seems that youth has always been the cheapest when it comes to wars which have no sense in general way, that is, they don’t lead to permanent solution of conflict. And since my current occupation is directly connected to young people, I am trying to show them the way that leads to non violent reality. Same as you, giving them examples from real life, telling that there are bright ones, I am intending to give them space to form their own opinion, based on the fact that all people can be good or bad, regardless on their national or religious background. And I am not sure how good I am doing my job, but am sure that my method is the right one.
I want to thank you for being one of my role models, for me it is very significant. You are one of my inspirations for work I have been doing in area of preventing violent extremism of youth.
With great affection, sending my best wishes from Montenegro.