Netherlands: Peace Road 2017
By Hans Campman, FFWPU Netherlands
This year we held our Peace Road event on the UN Day of Peace, 21st of September 2017. It was held on cooperation with another organization, “Peace Labyrinth”, which coordinated Peace rituals all over Europe. The main event took place in the city of Almere, near Amsterdam, at a school yard where many children – and their parents – from a number of primary schools came together to join the singing, walking, and writing of peace wishes.
From our FFWPU we had set up a team of 20 people, 1st and 2nd gen, in support of this event. We provided a 12-piece choir, which prepared the atmosphere with a 45-minute program of lively “sing along” songs. As part of this program we introduced the vision of Peace Road to the participants.
It was beautiful to see the young children singing and walking through the peace labyrinth (which was perhaps 100 meters in length). They were soon joined by their parents, their teachers and all participants including ourselves. Walking through the labyrinth was a symbolic “Peace March”. One had to follow a certain track in order to reach the finish, the central point where we all come together. The track led us from outside to the centre; it symbolized the road to our own heart. It is interesting that the idea of the Peace Labyrinth and our vision of Peace Road are overlapping in several ways, as we could explain to our audience.
The “Peace Road” choir performance was much appreciated by not only the children, but all the school staff, the parents and the organizers of the “Peace Labyrinth” project.
Principal speaker was Mrs Simone Filipini, chair of a charity organization which represents Netherlands at the UN. Speaking to the children en their parents she shared her core message “World Peace begins with me”. This is the very same motto which our European FFWPU had used 6 weeks earlier in Germany during the celebration to commemorate the Rally at the Berlin wall 30 years ago. Mrs Filipini told the children to develop good relationships in their family and to include everyone, despite differences.
The head master of one of the schools also spoke, emphasizing the importance of living and working together.
We could share the UPF-vision with her personally. At the end we made group photos of the choir with the principal speaker, the teachers (and head masters) and the organizing staff.
The director of Peace Labyrinth for the region was very grateful for our support. Several days later, in a warm- hearted letter to our sister Andrea Wirjoredjo, she thanked us for enriching the atmosphere with our music, for giving practical support, taking the pictures and (explicitly) for giving to her the autobiography of Father Moon. She would like to help us next year to create an occasion where we can share more of our vision to a larger audience.