Dr. Jona Bargur's speech from the opening in Hamburg.
"A traveler climbed up the mountains of the Inkas in Peru. He hired a group of Sherpas to help with all the luggage. They climbed up the roads, without any rest, but suddenly they stopped and set down, without any explanations. After a while, their leader broke the silence and explained: We went too fast and we have to wait for our souls to catch up with us; they are still behind us.
Are we going too fast? I am referring to all peace lovers; anti war activists; anti death proponents. That's what we are- members of the Parents circle- The Israeli and Palestinian Bereaved Families for Peace and Reconciliation. We who paid the highest, personal price, as a result of the conflict, don't feel that we are going too fast. On the contrary- the Peace process is dragging on too much wasted time. True, our message has not, yet, been adapted by the majority of the two People, who are in conflict. We are trying, for more than 15 years, to spread the vision of Peace and Reconciliation among our People, but still the violent conflict is going on. We are the pioneers of Peace, although not yet the consensus. We have paid the highest price of the conflict and we are ready to pay a high price for peace. Because no price paid, can compensate us for the lives of our dear ones whom we buried in the graves, dug in the soil of the Holy land, whether the Palestinians or the Israelis.
We are seeking reconciliation (versuenung). Reconciliation is the second name of Peace. There cannot be peace without an honest effort for reconciliation. There does not exist a way to support reconciliation, if there is no hope, at the end of the process, for a lasting peace.
There are many versions of reconciliation; quite a lot of options; various kinds of interpretations. But, they all lead to one truth- the wrong doings of the past cannot be forgotten, or forgiven. But they should not dominate our future. They should not be an excuse for an impossible present. "People who fight fire with fire usually end up with ashes".
This is, actually, the topic of the exhibition- Cartoons in Conflict". Why cartoons? Since, it is a form of art- utilizing very exact components. It is a media that doesn't choose sides, but, rather exists between the visual and verbal. And if it is good, it penetrates your heart and your mind, as well. And these cartoons are the best. They are the cream de la cream of the profession. They convey a meaningful message for the Israelis and the Palestinians, as well. A rifle is a rifle, whether it is aimed at an Israeli boy or at a Palestinian women; A tear is a tear, whether it results from an Israeli airstrike or a Palestinian suicide bombing.
But, there is more to this event. It is your appreciation; your willingness; your support that made thus exhibition possible. We, both nations, who are still destined, to fight and to live with violence, need this kind of support. Our cause for reconciliation, tolerance and peace, needs supports and believers. The Hamburg politicians and the dedicated people who made this exhibition possible, are to be acknowledged, for all they initiated and done- Hanna Lehming; Karin Koop; Sibille Moeller- Fiedler; Kristina Wissmann; Engelbert Ponlinneuer and the students of the two schools who were engaged to create a parallel exhibition, in order to share their sentiments and insight of the conflict and it's options for resolution.
And if you allow me, I want to introduce a personal note. I am here, in the Hamburg Town Hall, addressing you about war and peace. It is now , 77 years. Since my mother, a 27 year old Jewish girl was forced to flee thus country, on the night of the victory of the Nazi Party, in the 1933 elections. Isn't it amazing? Not only our family survival, but the fact that we – me and all of you here-, as well my dear Palestinian friend- Suheir Alami- are getting together, for a common cause! A good cause! A right cause; A just cause! An Islamic-Jewish –Christian cause.
My final words at this occasion are for you Suheir. You ; your sisters; your brothers are our future, together with my daughter and my young grandson. If you keep working for Peace and Reconciliation, and I am sure you will, you are our hope in the combat for peace.
Cartoons are created to smile
Let's believe in the power of words and drawings, instead in the power of guns, tanks and missiles.
Thank you and God bless you all."
Dr. Jona Bargur
Parents Circle- The Forum of Israeli and Palestinian Bereaved Families for Peace and Reconciliation
See event's album on Facebook.