Peace speaks to everyone

Publish date 07-12-2022

by Arsenale dell’Incontro

After the publication of the Peace document, what can I do for you? which contains Sermig's reflection in these months of war in Ukraine and summarizes our thoughts on disarmament and peace, we asked ourselves how we could propose it to the people with whom we share the life of the Arsenal of the Encounter here in Jordan and the desire to be a sign of peace for this land starting from our daily service. We strongly felt that it was important to do so, but we didn't know how well it would be received, especially in its strong and determined invitation to long for a time when weapons are no longer built.

We feared it would remain incomprehensible or in any case very distant for those used to celebrating every birth, every marriage, every high school exam and every degree obtained by going out onto the balcony or creating a small caravan of cars and firing many shots into the air of which it is normal to find the shell casings around in the following days…

We didn't know if he would have spoken warmly to those who every year proudly await the moment when their children or grandchildren who attend the last year of kindergarten at the end of year party wear military uniform for the first time, take up a toy machine gun , march lined up to the rhythm of the drum and then simulate military actions in front of the hundreds of parents, grandparents and uncles sitting in the audience watching them with a mixture of emotion and pride…

We wondered what he would have said to people who grow up in an environment that teaches you that to be strong you have to know how to defend yourself, and when you need to know how to fight those who challenge you (martial arts that teach self-defense, and in particular Taekwondo are after football the most practiced sport).

Then we thought back to our story and we said to ourselves that – like so many other times in similar situations that have come our way – these questions and these fears shouldn't stop us, but help us to seek a dialogue that is as credible as possible, as motivated as possible, as respectful as possible of the reasons of the other but at the same time aware that only the reasons for peace, true peace, generate good and build the future.

So we asked the people closest to us to help us find the most suitable terms and expressions to translate the most complex concepts and the most important sentences of the document into Arabic. Their friendship with Ernesto and the esteem they have for him, their trust in the history of this house and in the experience we are building together have once again made possible the miracle of understanding each other, of reading the same desire to well and to make it communicable. Then we gathered the people who work with us and the volunteers and let the reasons for peace speak for themselves. As they are, with what they have to say.

At the end of the meeting, an educator approached us and said: «Thank you, truly from the bottom of my heart, in dark times like these, words like these are needed, this hope that does not stop is needed ... what I heard today gave me breath ». Another, mother of five children, commented: "Today I'm going home with one certainty: it doesn't matter if it's difficult, I understand I have to teach my son not to use his hands... I'll do it!". Then the driver arrives and tells us: «Listen, people must understand that we really build peace here... we paint the peace flag on the sides of the buses so that everyone can see it and ask us what it is»; this proposal moves us, because here it is not at all obvious and has a great specific weight, it means being willing to "put your face" and to account for the peace in which you believe even to those who do not understand it.

A few days later we read on the status of another educator's phone: «Be the change you want to see in the world». Here, here we are. To be that possibility of change… together.

We do not know and perhaps we will never know that you bore and will continue to bear fruit in that meeting in the hearts of all those who participated, but you certainly told us forcefully that peace speaks. To everyone. Whatever the starting point or the situation around us. We have the task of digging up the ground, with friendship, mutual esteem, service shared in joy but also in effort, because this opens up - for us and for those around us - the most unthinkable paths. And once again in the end it is we who find ourselves saying our shukran (thank you) and repeating our Yes, to the Lord and to peace.

Arsenale dell’incontro

NP Agosto-Settembre 2022

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