Hague appeal for peace 1999
"At the end of the millennium" was said at the opening of the conference, "We have a new chance for peace." There were 7000 visitors who came to the conference to see how that is possible and to add their efforts to this new peace. To me it was strange because this was like a 4 days festival but only
with words. And it starts very early every day.
I was at the conference accompaniying the sarajevo Drum Orchestra who played several performances and workshops (with many thanks to War Child Amsterdam). They were out in the big world while I felt in some 'Dutch neighborhood'. I remember I told one of the guys that I used to work in a place were people made such a bronze sculptures as exposed in the congress building, and rhythm instruments as we play with. I love people who made this. I like more people who work with their hands than people
who work with their mouth.
Nevertheless, the conference gathered groups from all over the world. Groups speaking about regional conflicts, nuclear issues, sale, of arms, etc, etc. The Dutch newspapers were speaking about a circus of peace.
The conference ended after 4 days. Unfortunately the conference did not have a great media exposure, it did not have great celebrities who spoke to the people, maybe Desmond Tutu, archbishop of South Africa, and it released pressreleases rarely. A lot of networking had been done, and I was just very much interested in a general statement of the conference about current military activity around the world.
The end ceremony was the only way to formulate a statement beyond the networking activities. There
was finally Sacribey, Bosnian UN ambassador in NY who spoke about the evil of Milosevic but he also
mentioned general human feelings. Than there was Prime Minister Kok of Holland who only could
continue to speak after making a difference between civilization and barbarism, and than bombs against
a complete independent country can be acceptable. Finally there were two young people from the post
pessimist organization, announced as one from Belgrade and one from Pristine, but as soon as these
young people had the microphone they apologized their Serbian friends could not be around. Further
more they mentioned it would never be possible to negotiate with Milosevic again.
In other words, the final statements in fact supported the bombing of Nato against the complete country
of Yugoslavia. That was the end for me. There is only one solution to start with, the militaries must go
back to their caserne and away from politics, and the politicians must find a solution. I could even
accept a bombing campaign or a war with groundforces but only if the UN agrees to this and if these
conditions are set up unconditionally by the UN.
Eventually an enforcement of the UN itself should be necessary because the recent history has proven
that the UN becomes a tool for worldpowers instead of a meeting and discussionpoint for international
recognized states. But it is the only tool we have so we should cherish it.
I may hope the positive energy that visitors of HAP collected can be spread around the world, that it
will have some impact because it is my humble opinion that in these days of information overdose and
high tech distribution of information, a conference like the Hague Appeal for Peace should have major
impact. Otherwise it was not worth the trouble and the money. Besides that, I do not want to wait another 50 years for a new chance for peace.
What do you say?