Dear Friends of ELIANT,
There has been a war in Eastern Europe for a month already and despite many attempts to mediate peace there is a growing fear of further escalation. We are seeing the widespread destruction of cities, hearing reports of the Ukrainian resistance, experiencing the flood of refugees and are deeply moved by the empathy and willingness to help being shown across Europe and further afield.
But what is required to understand the origins of military conflict and why is it so difficult to create the conditions for peaceful coexistence? A sense for what is really important in life is needed. We also need a way of thinking however, that can mediate between extremes and build mutual understanding. Challenging though these may sound, both capacities are needed in daily life to maintain peace in the home and a good atmosphere at work; for what takes place on the world stage is reflected – as we know only too well – on a small scale in daily life. Those who perceive these connections can offer real support towards creating the urgently needed culture of global peace.
This is indeed where the task for civil society lies. A call to address the human suffering on both sides achieves far more than the demonisation of the other side which serves only to deepen the rift. What is urgently needed now is a de-escalation, an immediate ceasefire to end the suffering and then a truce in order to create the space for genuine peace negotiations. The proposals coming from various quarters to grant internationally backed neutral status to Ukraine, can provide a basis for these. On 25th March 2022 conflict researcher Prof. Friedrich Glasl sketched out possible options for peace in Ukraine which we would like to support, here is the link to the video (only available in German).
«I have a dream» – That is how the American human rights campaigner Martin Luther King put it. His dream was for something seemingly impossible which could then be realised through many sacrifices.
What is our dream for the future of Europe?
This is the subject we frequently return to in ELIANT. Europe is the second smallest continent but the one with the greatest diversity in terms of national groups, cultures and languages and a great wealth of cultural values. Thanks to the continuous work over the last 70 years that followed the two awful world wars, it was possible for mutual understanding to grow between the various countries of the EU – despite differences in the way democracy and national identity was understood. Europe is not only part of the western alliance it can also position itself as an independent mediator between the super powers. This requires an objective and differentiated assessment of the impulses of power in east and west. Further aspects of this are presented in our contributions for the Conference on the Future of Europe in Brussels.
When more and more people come to think and work in this way, peace will become possible. This accords with the motto chosen by ELIANT for its work which comes from Goethe's Fairytale:
"One alone does not help, but rather he who unites with others at the right moment"
With hope and warm greetings from the entire ELIANT team
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