Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do


When the First Poetry Reading took place in Marsaxlook on 17.5.2013, Paul Dalli read one sonnet which was dedicated already then to just one day of peace:


A day of peace

Year after year a day so rare,

A fresh new dawn, quickly so gone,

When each would stare with one’s own pair,

Memories drawn, events forgone.

And midst such dark is born a spark,

Of human hope in space and scope,

Scribing its mark inside an ark

Fragrance of dope, from a hemp rope.

Sounds of heart-beat under a sheet,

Where in such calm, hear moving palm,

Without deceit dear ones to greet,

Citing a psalm, fragrance of balm.

Prevail the truce none dare abuse,

Without excuse, keep Peace not lose.


Since then the keeping of peace has become much more difficult. Ever after the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq seemed to have receded a bit, so that President Barak Obama could talk about bringing the troops back home, things have flared up again with Syria in turmoil where by now over 191 000 people have been killed, and it all started by peaceful demonstrators being shot because Assad had the fear this would get out of hand. How he can live with such a conscience is unexplainable but one friend who knew him when studying together medicine remarked in all his formulations for a war strategy, he uses a medical language as if wishing to cut out malignant tissues out of the public body of Syria. That country was once so rich in diverse cultures that it is unbelievable what is happening there now. Alone Aleppo reminds of street scenes in Berlin 1945.

The same images are transmitted from Gaza via television after a war of 50 days raged again and everyone wondering when will Israelis and Palestinians get ever out of a vicious cycle of revenge and screwed up inclinations to put pride before the need to spare human lives. The principles of peace are indeed scorned at when it becomes a matter of believing that the failure of diplomacy is merely due to the world lacking a convincing body at the United Nations. For the voting behaviour of China and Russia in the Security Council has prevented a lot more than can be imagined. And ever since Powell lied to the world public with the claim the United States had absolute proof, Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction to legitimize the going to war, mendacity or the use of lie has merely increased.

In the Western world there was paid scant attention to all of this. War was abhorred since the adventure in Iraq went badly wrong, but which anyone could have foreseen. So it has become a slogan for foreign policy to avoid sending once again troops on the ground, but instead to undo events on the ground drones have been sent instead. The latter have transformed war fare to make the public believe war is not taking place, and still repeatedly this killing of those defined as 'terrorists' goes without judicial procedure and therefore without impunity even though not only targets like Bin Laden are taken out, but entire families, women and children, that is innocent by-standers, but which is no longer called 'collateral damage' and instead buried in silence. No wonder when then poets like Germain Droogenbroodt pose the question but who is really the terrorist? It was the writer Robert Musil who predicted even before Second World War, once a society has lost any sense for truth, then decisions shall be based solely on probability calculations, the outcome of which shall be 'terrorism'. The latter may well be interpreted as a desperate attempt to attain some element of speakable truth, for if not, then even parents feel at times terrorized by their children who have gone crazy for not being told the truth.

In the Middle East, the Arab spring ushered in some initial hope of freedom so that public truth could be shared in public places. Indeed, it became not only in Cairo, but as well in Madrid and Athens in response to the crisis, a politics of public spaces. People of all walks of life gathered to discuss openly what was going on, and more importantly they wished to find out where all the money had gone, for the smell of corruption had become a stench which covered the entire city. It was the stench of the envy makers who know jealousy is a most powerful weapon to entangle people in disputes about their true motives while distracting them from what those do who have more than needed money to squander. When Libya fell after Gaddafi was chased out of power, the first thing people did was to enter the villas the rich had build for themselves behind high walls and were astonished what luxury there existed besides the swimming pools. Corruption becomes always evident through conspicuous consumption, and if it becomes too apparent, then the moral crisis is quickly transformed into a new kind of war. It is no longer the traditional battle but it is also not the so-called asymmetrical war even though the powerful Israeli army faced suddenly the Middle Age technique of Hamas having build tunnels underground and thereby evade any of the modern technology equipment used to detect what the other side might be doing. Rather it has become an economic war fought mainly at levels where things either become invisible or else are just too complex and large for any ordinary mind to comprehend. That includes the huge sums of money paid out to bail out banks, but not individuals once they got into trouble due to over spending too much and not having invested prudently enough.

Already in 2013 when the reading took place, Paul Dalli in Malta described the sensation he ha when seeing planes flying overhead in the direction of Libya. He knew they were on a mission to bomb Gaddafi out of office. Since then developments alone in that country have gone like in so many other places out of control. By August 2014 the government of Malta has to worry how to bring back home safely its citizens just as the USA government closed its embassy and withdrew its staff, in order to avoid a second Benghazi.

Most telling about current state of affairs, is what Boudewijn Payens, an artist in Amsterdam, wrote following what happened to that Malaysian plane with 298 people on board when it came down in Eastern Ukraine on July 17th. The date when he writes this letter is significant as it is the day when the first coffins of the victims are brought home. People line up in the streets and give their respect for those not known if they are Dutch, Malaysian or some other nationality, since they are taken first of all to a special centre for identification.


Amsterdam 23.7.2014

Thank you Hatto for sharing your feelings of compassion.

I know you are there at other end of Europe.

The news replaces itself so fast......

it's hard to understand but this tragedy brought the war in eastern Europe to our doors and ...inside our homes.

At the same time Gaza/Israel is a mess.

The relation between our small world and the so cold big world is hard to handle.

But we have deal with it.

Question is, if this is the moment in which we are more and more leaving a period of relative peace behind?

I hope not and that our leaders will be able to stay in contact and search for solution which bring us closer to one another.


Boudewijn Payens


So much wisdom is entailed alone in that letter. It underlines a definite need that all politicians stay in contact, talk to each other, and do not lose sight of how important peace is really for all of humanity to stay alive on this one single globe called earth. At the same time, it indicates how all these ongoing conflicts and wars have affected people's minds. For they feel war has come not only to “our doors” but also “inside our homes”. Definitely this affects a lot more people than what the gathering of breaking news by journalists and international newscasters can gauge.

To date no official explanation as to the real cause of the Malaysian plane plunging to earth has been provided. In former times, people would be shocked into soberness if the body of a woman would fall literally from the sky and then crash through the roof of one house in a near-by village in Eastern Ukraine. It would be taken as a sign of an omen and prompt people immediately to reverse their pattern of behaviour, but not the case this time.

Not much has been made officially of the rogue behaviour shown by the rebels in Eastern Ukraine but their brutality and self assertiveness is underlined by suddenly soldiers appearing with no insignia. That alone says a lot how much war is equally a matter of deception, but then it remains to be seen who is fooled by whom, when both sides no longer really know what they are fighting for? The term 'proxy war' may be more apt since a lot of false ideology is entailed when husbands, sons, brothers and friends suddenly abandon their jobs not paid well and join forces which appear to be paying well. The lure of money and the enticement of entering a fight rather than remain with some boring job reminds very much what Thomas Mann had stated in his novel 'Magic Mountain', namely that First World in 1914 started out of boredom. It makes one wonder by thinking Europe and the world has entered a parallel period which can go down in history as equally fateful years from 2014 until 2018.

As Eastern Ukraine not only were inspectors prevented at first to reach the site of the crash, but the way wreckage pieces and personal belongings of victims were handled, raised the fear that the site was being contaminated before any serious inspections could start. In odd contradiction to no inspectors allowed at first, the world could watch on CNN the crime scene through the lens of some reporters. They were appalled by a complete lack of respect for the dead victims. It explains as well why no definite conclusion could be drawn so far. Officially it is said that this is due to the evidence on the ground remaining at best 'shaky'. Yet there appear as well efforts under way to cover up the real cause. So far nothing has been heard as to what the black boxes revealed in terms of evidence about the last minutes before the plane exploded in mid air. This is all the more disturbing since it is the second Malaysian plane not reaching its final destination. There is still all the more strange since just a short time before another Malaysian flight vanished from radar and has gone mysteriously missing and this despite all the latest and most sophisticated technology using satellites to scan the earth. Why nothing could be detected as conclusive proof as to what happened, this seems to be more than a play on words when seeking certainty the outcome is but still greater uncertainty. Without a reasonable explanation, it means no one takes full responsibility.

The streak of denial and the shrugging off of any sense of responsibility means literally the world is at war. People are exposed to all kinds of arguments and counter arguments. It makes ascertaining the truth more difficult than ever. The shallow news is a subtle kind of propaganda which perpetuates confusion and adds still further fuel to a kind of diplomatic language which does not say much, reveals nothing, uses strong language in nuances and avoids naming the truth in all cases. Thus reports are never completed since always the excuse is used that still further witnesses would be needed. Only one certainty prevails in all of this, for the dead cannot speak for themselves.

So while Eastern Ukraine has become after the annexation of Crimea by Russian forces the hottest contested region right now, the economic war fare has prompted sanctions on Russian goods and vice versa by Russia of European and American ones.

As to the mess in Gaza to which Boudewijn Payens refers to, Germain Droogenbroodt says that a 'Search of Peace' has to outline what a humanist and Pacifist can do under such circumstances when no where equality seems to be realizable and therefore leads to still further violence?

K. Satchidanandan makes the correct diagnosis that the main problem of the 21th century is no longer suicide as had been presumed by Albert Camus to have marked the 20th century, for now genocide and homicide predominate. As if the mind has been infiltrated by all kinds of ideologies, there is no longer just one single form of violence being manifested, but a multiplicity of violence ready to attack humanity anywhere, any time, anyone. War has become something like arbitrary terror.

Repeatedly the poets have discusses this phenomenon amongst themselves. Why can a man just walk down the street and shoot left and right just for the fun of it, when it means in fact killing innocent people? The sheer senselessness of killing has become a way of sending chilling messages through the media although by now the discrepancy between keeping count of incidences like these and what happens daily on the ground can no longer be bridged. One news is replaced by the next just as it was no coincidence that the Israeli Defence Forces started their incursion into Gaza on the same day that the Malaysian plane was brought down while flying over Eastern Ukraine. The vulnerability of these flying birds and the fights around airports whether in Tel Aviv or in Tripoli, Libya indicates a new level of deliberate targeting can upset easily what has been until recently a self understanding of the freedom to travel. Instead migrants by the thousands take to boats even at the risk of their own lives to reach European shores.

In the final end, Yiorgos Chouliaras speaks about an accident, one which seems at first to be quite harmless but then upon taking a closer look, it gets more complicated. More and more factors seem to have contributed to the accident while the fall out is greater than imagined. Likewise the outbreak of war leads on to forget the main thing, namely as Paul Dalli puts it, how to keep peace?

The poets may link up with other efforts in search of peace, such as the Kids' Guernica – Guernica Youth but one of them. This action promotes collaborative learning by letting children and youth paint peace murals on a canvas the same size as Picasso's Guernica, namely 7,8 x 3,5 m. Recently such an action has been started in Tripoli, Lebanone to commerate the bombing of two moschees one year ago around the same time. Its coordinator, Valia Mouheich has responded to this poetic initiative in Search of Peace with her own questions about peace in this modern world:

In search of peace, we wonder why?

why do people kill, while they are born?

why to destroy, while we could build?

why follow others, while we could lead?

lead our country to set it free

why make me cry, while I could smile?

why to keep silent, while we have voices?

why to get lost, while we have choices?

why getting blind, while we have eyes?

why to choose hate, while we own hearts?

hearts that won't break when full of love

why to make war, while peace is here?

isn't it enough? why is there greed?

life is so short, why make it void?

wake up your conscience and let peace deploy..

Tripoli, Lebanon 23.08.2014

That Kids' Guernica – Guernica Youth action shall take place as well in Malta, parallel to the poetry reading, and thus in reminder of what Picasso's Guernica stands for, it conjoins with the aspiration of the poets to give a political message to the world on behalf of all the innocent victims of war.

Hatto Fischer


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