Today, September 21st, is the United Nation’s international peace day. It’s commemorated in at least 100 countries all over the world. The idea is to continue struggling for peaceful solutions on conflicts and making efforts to prevent or end wars. My drawing above from 1999 will represent the dove of peace. Today is Saturday, but in order to reach also school classes here in Sweden, the international peace day was commemorated one day ahead yesterday. Here in Malmoe there were events, plays, concerts, lectures, workshops, movies and discussions in several parts of town. In my part of Malmoe, Kirseberg/Cherry Hill, there were arrangements in co-operation between the Anna Lindh Foundation’s Swedish network, Imagenes del Sur, Amnesty, Feminist dialog, Kirseberg’s Leisure Time Administration, Filmcentrum Syd/Film Centre South and Kirseberg Library. A man called Patrick Gruczkun was the co-ordinator, 031-788 00 07, patrick,email@example.com.
It began with mingle and book tables about peace at one o’ clock in the afternoon, and at two eight actors played one hour of a play called “Theatre for Amnesty”. Two young women in their late teens or early twenties from Amnesty had come to document the performance by taking photos and recording it on video. First the actress and singer Torun Wilderwind entered the floor. She was singing the story of the Moroccon princess Malik who’s father in 1972 had opposed king Hassan. She was then 18 years old. Her father had been killed and Malik, her siblings and mother were imprisoned. There she spent 20 years, but had managed to get her story out at the age of 38. “The story I keep inside of me”, as the Torun was singing. Torun was dressed in a pink Medieval-looking dress with long sleeves, and performed the number aided by Annette Lindén-E.
The next part performed by Regnbågsteatern/The Rainbow Theatre was a play by actor Miguel Angel Fraga called “Ord som sårar som slag”/”Words which hurt like blows”. The five actors Peter Bengtsson, Kim Rosenbäck, Bo Handberg, Miguel Angel Fraga and Sofia Visser entered the stage and sat down on five chairs. As each and every one came in, one at a time, they began by saying “I have nothing against gay people, but”, “I have nothing against immigrants, but”… and then lesbians, Jews, trans sexuals. When they sat in their chairs they began reading short articles about different hate crimes on this theme from the two quality papers Skånska Dagbladet and Sydsvenskan, the evening paper Kvällsposten, and the two freesheets Metro and City. All the articles the actors read were reports about hate crimes against lesbians, gays, transsexuals, immigrants, Jews. Then they re-enacted scenes from some real stories. A transsexual man who’s bullied because he’s dressed in drag, is mocked, loses hig job, abused, but then meets a woman who accepts him, marries him and loves him for who he is. Miguel Angel Fraga played a homosexual man from North Africa who meet up with a female acquaintance. He’s umarried, lives with a Swedish man, but his family back home doesn’t know about it. He also has a brother here in Sweden who when he finds out beat his brother up. When the woman meets him again, he has been visiting the family in North Africa, been welcomed and introduced to a woman whom he marries. His Swedish male companion gets sour and leaves. The gay North African man lives on, but is not happy. The third story was about a man who’s married and has kids, but falls in love with another man. He’s beaten up, stigmatized, his wife throws him out and he moves in with the other man. This was extract from the play. It also includes descriptions of other hate crimes, like those against Jews.
Ord som demokrati, fred och frihet/Words like democracy, peace and freedom, were short texts and scenes. Annette Lindén-E performed a number called “The conflict is solved”, Juli Hammargren one scene named “Anna Lindh” and Torun Wilderwind, the fairytale-singer, ended with a new song in English. The entire performance at the library took one hour.
Two hours later, at six o’ clock, it was movie time at Kirseberg Theatre. As I came there the mixed audience was served coffee, tea and cakes and could sit down for some small talk before the films. When we then entered the movie salon the co-ordinator Patrick Gruxzkun gave us an introduction of the international peace day, and what had been done earlier during the Friday in other parts of Malmoe. Then Anna Larsson from Film Centre South/Filmcentrum Syd told us about her short twenty minute documentary from 2012. It was called “Let your dreams come true”. Anna Larsson had been in Cape Town, South Africa and met the 13-year old boy Sivuyile “Reggie” Nontombana who lives in very poor quarters, but through the organization “Life Zone” he gets to play football, where he excells. Through that organization he and the local soccer team got the chance to play an international soccer cup in Sweden. Larsson had interviewed “Reggie”, his family and friends, filmed him in school, and also when he was playing football on the dirty streets. The local inhabitants in the documentary tell us about the harsh life conditions, the crime, drug deals and dirty commong toilets, but also about the warmth between them. Anna Larsson of course also had shot scenes when Reggie and the rest of his team had played football during the soccer cup here in Sweden. Larsson had made a short, but interesting film and she had used a respectful approach which made it natural and believable.
At half past six, Parvin Ardalan, an Iranian journalist, writer and feminist human rights activist, now living here in Malmoe, presented the evening’s main feature film. It was the Lebanese movie “Where do we go now?”/Wa-alán lueyn? from 2012 by Lebanese female film director Nadine Labaki. It’s about a village in Lebanon where both Christians and Muslims live side by side, and where the women in the village try by plots and female cunning make the men on both sides NOT to fight and kill each other. It’s a very warm film, funny, but also with dark and serious traits. The film has been shown on film festivals in many countries and won awards, and it deserves its prizes. I wrote about that movie earlier this year in my web log article “Women’s role in conflicts and war” on March 10th. When I had done that it just took less than 24 hours before I had my first readers in Lebanon. The importance with the international peace day today, with many of my texts on this web log as well, and all efforts in this direction by many people in various ways is to create a structure that make our lifes and our world a fairly good place to live around the globe. After the movie by Nadine Labaki we gathered for a short chat outside, before we all left and took our new contacts and experiences with us. Now it is Saturday, September 21st, the UN’s international peace day. Can we use it properly? Can we shape structures which make our lives more dignified,or do we want human self-annihilation? Where do we go now? Wa-alán lueyn?
Anders Moberg, September 21st 2013