Authors for peace
World Peace Day Reading
Live - Online - 24 Hours
21st September 2010
In 2002 the UN General Assembly officially declared September 21st as the permanent date for the International Day of Peace. It is a day of global ceasefire and non-violence. Those of us who live in secure, stable societies cannot but undervalue the significance of this. Only through great efforts of imagination are we able to get a sense of how much the people trapped in conflict zones long for just one day’s respite from war.
Today, international, inter-state or civil wars are being fought in over thirty countries across the globe. Even those who may support some of these conflicts do so in the hope that military action will help establish a lasting peace. The idea that all peoples should live safely in free, democratic societies is surely the greatest aspiration of mankind.
To mark Peace Day 2010, The International Literature Festival Berlin, in cooperation with LiteraturRaum, Cisco, and eGamesMedia will host the world’s largest ever live-broadcast online reading. An international array of writers will share their thoughts about peace with the world.
Art cannot stop wars, but great literature – more than any other art – has the power to help people understand one another better. If we can do this, there’s a chance for conflict resolution and even harmony. The goal of all writers – whatever the causes they support, whatever the themes that preoccupy them, whatever the form or language in which they express themselves – is to negotiate the unmapped territory between us and the other: to conquer, word by word, the distances that seem too vast, too daunting, too unknowable. When writers succeed, readers too are able to bridge differences they previously conceived impossible.
For the most part, writing and reading are private, solitary activities. On Peace Day 2010 the International Literature Festival Berlin will help turn them into very public, shared acts of solidarity with those who are caught in conflict.
The essence of the event lies in the participation of citizens around the world. Imagine the immense impact of people everywhere taking time out of their daily routine to hear the writers, and, therefore, to think about the meaning of peace, and their own personal commitment to its realization.