Finland: Peace Road 2019
By Hannu Hassinen, UPF Finland
We organized Peace Road 2019 in the spiritual center of Finland, at the Cathedral (or Senate) Square in the capital city of Helsinki, on July 27, 2019, in an unusually hot summer day.
Before the steps of the beautiful white Lutheran cathedral, at the statue of Czar Alexander II, some 30 people carried banners and waved flags proclaiming peace between the two Koreas, peace between nations, and peace between people.
Two young people inspired the audience with two songs, an African gospel singer performed her own song, and a Congolese immigrant spoke about the need to go beyond cultural, religious and national differences to create peace.
The moderator pointed out that the beginning of the peace road idea lay as far back as 1981. While Finland is not a divided country as is Korea, there is still separation between individuals and groups who suffer from loneliness, personal conflict and isolation.
Following the introductory program we began to walk from the Senate Square down the main shopping streets, accompanied (protected and watched over) by a police van whom we consider representing the Finnish government and people – since in the only summer month of July government and even many NGOs are on holiday and could not participate in the event.
Winding our way through 1,5 km of the center of Helsinki, being photographed and filmed by onlookers, our group reached the parliament building (which is closed for the summer month of July).
From there we still walked across the street to the cultural center of Helsinki– where a brand new modern and cozy library, the concert hall, the Kiasma museum of modern art and and the house of media create a plaza called ”citizens’ square”. A table with water, juice, savory and sweet breads waited for us and we ended the Peace Road Finland regaining our strength and sitting among friends.