Words by Richard Amalvy, Bureau Member of the European Youth Forum (1996-1998)
cialis 20mg prix en pharmacie belgique. Twenty years ago in Brussels, Europeai??i??s young people were rallying around a dream of pan-Europeanism, and holding out an olive branch to Arab youth. What have we done that was so bad for us not to have been able to nurture the same hope in Molenbeek and in St-Denis?
The Summer of 1996 found us in Brussels, in rue Joseph II, to launch the new European Youth Forum. We would get off at Maelbeek station, before crossing the little park to get to the office. Sometimes weai??i??d make a detour via The Wild Geese, the Irish pub that was home to our strategic discussions. We were debating how to integrate the democratic youth organisations that were emerging from the former Soviet bloc. With the fall of The Berlin Wall seven years earlier, we were laying the foundations of the great project which, we hoped, would unite Europeai??i??s young people and so consolidate peace and prosperity throughout the continent. We were expanding to reach the very bounds of the Council of Europeai??i??s member states. We were working together with the European institutions to set up programmes to strengthen civil society. These were uplifting times. Plenty of travel, plenty of meetings, plenty of promises.
That same year, we were embarking on a cooperation project with the Arab youth organisations. We were working with representatives of revolutionary youth organisations who expressed forcefully their demands for emancipation. They would often reproach us for the neo-colonial tendencies of our democracies, while we tried to show them that this new generation, that we represented, didnai??i??t have the same faults as those of our elders. At the same time, we were engaged in a Euro-Mediterranean dialogue that had been in place formally at state-to-state level since 1995. Its key aim was to strengthen the Israeli-Palestinian process. The Arab youth organisations accused us of a certain degree of duplicity. We had to give many an assurance of our good will, thinking of the future that we would build together.
It was in this vein in 1997, that with fellow Scouts we conceived a project to promote peace and reconciliation in the Mediterranean: the Peace Cruise. Living together in rue du Niveau in Molenbeek, it was with Dominique in the house there that we dubbed our ai???communeai???, that we put together the projectai??i??s fundamentals: a training programme on conflict resolution skills on board a three-masted ship sailing through the Middle East. During the summer of 1999, 120 young people from countries all around the Mediterranean basin got on board for a unique experience, bringing together Jews, Christians, Muslims, non-believers, young men and young women. Young people coming from each and every conflict zone to experience the subversive impact of friendship. In the stopover ports we shared our utopia through peace events, which we felt to be persuasive.
That was all twenty years ago. All of the friends involved in these projects have matured politically, culturally and socially. Each has in their own way become an agent for positive change in their community.
Youth movements with their grassroots groups: what have we done for those who, twenty years ago were still children in Molenbeek and St-Denis, and who are now engaged in Islamic radicalisation? They are attacking us now for the very principles that we wanted to share with everyone, and so also with them. We have invested significant resources in campaigns to combat racism and exclusion. ai???Inclusionai???, as we used to say. As children, and then as teenagers, they have not been inspired by the same hope in which we had invested so much shared faith.
It is despair that engulfs me when I see the extent to which ai???inclusionai??? has failed. Yet there is only one route to prepare to live together. It is education. Education must outclass the capacity of military arsenals, and provide training in all skill areas, not just in diplomacy but in cultural and social skills, too.
In rue du Niveau in Molenbeek, we were planning a Peace Cruise of which the local children never heard. Otherwise, they would have learned that friendship is both subversive and its lure irresistible.
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