Declaration of the citizens’ association Casodej on the contemporary situation
Smoke has been rising up from the fireplaces we have started. Visible even at a distance.
The human heart sometimes resembles
a stone hidden in the ice...
– Photo Astrapix 430, cca 10 cm, the natural swimming pool "Poděbrady", nearby Olomouc, 6th February, 2004. (color moving in photoeditor)
The present political pursuits of the white conquerors are marked by joining and gathering: who is to decide whether the fellowship will serve for peace or for the alliance in war ? Integration is a feature of power-confirmation which evokes the sense of superiority, weight and volume. We are constantly weighing ourselves whether we are now mighty enough to wear a heavy armament and lift a heavy sword. As the historical experience of those upon whom we inflicted many a wrong in the past ( be it the indigenous natives of Africa, Asia or America) with our plans and deeds is not good, they observe us filled with constant anxiety.
For centuries armies have marched out of Europe, conquering either by the power of weapons or by the strength which is even mightier and harder than iron: the power of intellectual argumentation. Let´s not be puzzled: the present policy of the United States of America originated in Europe and is well rooted in Europe. Their comparing themselves constantly with the european policy serves as evidence.
Let´s talk about the values which have accompanied the european culture since long ago. Before our lands were visited by the thoughts from the South and the East, first of all there had always been the heroism of man winning over his enemies: over nature and its "mysteries," then over "the others" which proved to be the weaker ones. All emotions and values of love, friendship and faith were only the complement of the heroic surge of the western man. Even death and illness were here to be overcome by us. It was natural and it is natural for those who are growing to become conscious of their differences towards the rest of the world, those who need to define themselves as members of species, race, gender and spiritual order. The answers to the question "Who am I ?", however, require not only a war, not only inner or outward struggle, where one party stands right and the other one left, such a classification is necessary, but not autotelic. Further development requires connecting, reconciling, and the use of strength which we have gathered for goals that we have become conscious of. Although we are often not capable of seeing them fully, we can feel them.
We feel that for our futher existence we need exacly those whom we tried to supress and enslave in the past, and likewise they need us: they are part and parcel of our existence and we are inseparable from their being as we together form up one organism which is the Earth. A war against them would mean a war against ourselves, it would throw us back in the past. We are required to stop being conquerors, to abandon the old patterns of behaviour of dividing, separating and demarcating and to start cultivating free relationships as free human beings, relationships free from constraint and dependence, stemming out of fear.
Who wages a war of conquest is primarily afraid because of still not being sure about who he is: he is not a ruler, he is not a king, he is still not satiated by the fruits of his land to rest there at ease and peace. Peace requires strength which reconciles the counterparts and at the same time respects their differences. It is the strength which is based on the natural authority, not on coercive meassures.
The present conflicts of the Near East and the Middle East have been sown by us, the conquerors. Therefore we must not be surprised that they affect us and touch us. It would be also foolish to claim that the same power which has caused them, would also settle them.
To cultivate the peace-making power requires a will. In the first place it is the will to abandon the old patterns of behaviour and simply start acting otherwise. The first reaction to an attack is anger, an attempt to defend ourselves with the same or even mightier force, to beat the enemy. Yet, who is this enemy attacking us ? Isn´t this a belated defence reaction of the attacked to our previous assault going after us ? We both act identically, an attack follows an attack, defence takes after defence until one of us falls. Yet, he was not alone in the world. He had a family, children, friends like we do. And because they are like us, they launch one more attack, one more defence. Round and round.
Anger and grief over the victims are strong emotions. They unchain immense destructive powers. The only power which can chain them again is human will, a conscious intention to transform these powers into those of reconciliation and forgiveness. It is the highest sacrifice that man can offer. It is as he gave up his life, as if he ripped away the heart out of his body. As if nothing remained of him, only ashes.
Then, however, there appears space, a vast space, which has been enabled though our act. It is a piece of land which we donate to those whom we have made peace with. By connecting these new regions there emerges a new world, which had been coiled in our hearts and is now slowly growing outwards. It is the real true-to-life space where everybody has room and need not use sharp elbows. This true-to-life space is needed both by Europeans and Americans, both by Arabs and Africans. It will not be possible to fence this land with a barbed wire, this land belongs to everyone who nourishes inside the peace-making power.
Therefore, our primary task is to cultivate this new space and relationships, not burdened by the old heritage. The old heritage in human relationships means war, terror, forcing, pride and arrogance, which provoke fear, vengeance, humilliation and disrespect towards life in the other side.
The understructure for any terrorism is hidden in the notion of "terror," that is fear, dread and fright.
If we do not provoke fear, we will not be frightened.
If we are not the source of fright, we will not be threatened.
Man, who cherishes inside the thoughts of peace and reconciliation, will not be a source of fright. He will not do spine-chilling deeds. He will awake trust, develop friendly and loving relationships with those who are in the need of love, those who are afraid at a mere man approaching as they have not yet experienced that man can not only hit with his hand but also caress with it.
Besides the care for the sick and the poor, our world primarily needs affectionate parents and teachers, who will be sowing trust in children´ s souls, not fear and hatred. Parents and teachers who would teach their children in Palestina how to plant trees, how to plough the soil and seed it with wheat, who would remind the children that the water irrigating the soil is only one; parents and teachers in Europe and America who would recollect the nacient belief in the possibility of peaceful coexistence with nature and other people; parents and teachers in Africa and in the far East and the Middle East who would teach children what it means to give and preserve life.
Smoke signaling is here for us to realize that it is time we acted and thought otherwise.
Maria Schwingerová, in Samotisky, 24th March, 2004, mail: maria @ casodej . cz (no spaces in mail adress...)
Translation by Dagmar Johnová, 1st April, 2004
Published: Revue Časoděj (Samotisky, Czech Republik), 4th April, 2004.
Autumn Dreams – 7. November 2002
The policy of the great powers is no surprise to anyone anymore. We are used to it. We have learnt to accept the decisions of "the more competent and greater ones," concerning the fates of smaller nations and countries,into the group of which we sometimes place ourselves, as we are also at times affected by the phrase "about us without us."When they are they and we are without ourselves, at a loss suddenly, without consciousness,without Hus, Comenius, in other words, without father and mother, because without a tradition which could awake at least a hint of a defense reaction, even the knights of Blanik are "they." This feeling of helplesness, once experinced, can never be forgotten. Its taste is omnipresent and it can remind us, in the most inappropriate moments, in the times of freedom, prosperity, when we are healthy and strong "individuals," exactly in the times when we are not interested at all in being parts of a whole, in being citizens of states, the entire world and universe... (more)
Dear President, – 10. October 2002
the world politics is now dominated by the conflict with Iraq. Its factual causes are explained by various people in various ways. We would like to live in a world which would not be divided into hostile camps and where representatives of individual states or nations would have inner and outer trust, together with a sense for the needs of their neighbors or political partners. We would like to believe that we are heading towards such an equilibrium and that the human effort to the cognition of his/her individual self and of his/her surroundings are a contribution to the improvement of the living conditions and a fight for the human rights. Many a time, the term "fight for human rights" evokes distrust or even indignation in some people as they are having either a first-hand experience or a mediate one thanks to information from other regions (eg. from Africa) that this term conceals merely a pursuit of power. I, as a citizen of the Czech Republic... (more)