March entering Vienna

March entering Vienna
Civil March for Aleppo entering Vienna

Friday, March 24, 2017

Civil March for Aleppo - DAY 88 - Tears & chocolate

The man took his car to reach the little shop before us. From a distance, we could see him waiting for the Civil March outside the food store, his hands full of chocolate bars. We, the March, then decided to make a stop while he was distributing his presents among us. 15, 20, maybe more than 30 tablets were offered by him. We were very grateful and thanked him by shaking hands or hugging him. Once his hands were empty, he looked at us, left the place and discreetly started to cry while going back to his car. Who was this man? We will learn later that next to the shop was a detention center held by Serbs militiamen. Many locals got murdered there. The day before, we passed by Omarska. Omarska and its concentration camp from which a British journalist team revealed the existence in 1992. It would take us another 10 days to reach the Bosnian capital, ten days during which we would see destroyed houses next to brand news ones, fancy cars on the road among wrecks. We would pass by Banja Luka, Travnik, Kiseljak where heavy fights took place during the war. From the Marchers, only a few were aware of this, the oldest one like me. By paying attention to memorials and graves which paved our road, some probably would realized that most of the victims were younger than them.
The March entered Sarajevo the second day of spring, gathered on Vrbanja bridge and threw fake rose leaves on the river in memory of all the victims of the siege. Then, in front of the eternal flame, they removed their shoes, stepped barefoot in a bucket of red paint and walked on a strip of paper towards Sebilj leaving behind them red footprints. A way to commemorate the refugees from Syria, leaving their place, sometimes with no shoes, trying to escape the bloodshed that started there 6 years ago. At the old city main square, the March gathered with their white flags while Omar Blentic, a  professional local pianist began to play the Adagio in d minor of J.S. Bach. Ahmad, our Syrian friend from Aleppo later shared some touching words with the public. Anna did so as well, making the link between war in Bosnia and war in Syria. It was a very touching afternoon of shared emotion, the same emotion I felt 10 days before.
I still wonder who was this man with his chocolate bars in Piskavica. I saw his face a last time through the windscreen of his car, crying while driving back into the shadow of war. Probably the first time I got tears in my eyes while eating chocolate.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Civil March for Aleppo - DAY 78 - Entering War


Yesterday, in Krajina on the Croatian side. From Sisak to the bosniaque border, destroyed houses. What happened to their owners? Simply kicked out because they were Serbs or killed because of their ethnicity? The ethnical cleansing took place in 1994 here. "If you are not from my tribe, I kick you out". Kind of the same thing happened in the March two days ago. Frédéric is a French "auto media" like he describes himself. Ex French paratrooper, ex Zadiste and now ex peace Marcher, probably because of me. He decided to leave us yesterday morning. The night before, he wanted to fight with me. He was drunk, he was probably sad as well. Because we could not communicate together anymore. Then, I made my own mental cleansing. I erased him from my world. And he could not bear it. He was behaving in a violent way most of the time but it was not violence for him. It was his own way to behave, to express himself. Speaking loudly, refusing the rules, exploding when he felt like doing so. And last night, he exploded in front of me, in front of everyone. Without the fear of being seeing as the mean one. He was just himself, animal and human at the same time. And me, I was just cold, ice cold in front of him, him yelling, threatening, insulting me. I reacted by a smile, He mean one, the smile that tells " you are nothing to me and I don't even hear what you are yelling at me.". Some Marchers took him apart and tried to calm him down. He kept on yelling for a while from a distance, trying to explain to the others why he was so upset with me. And then I heard him crying, a cry of despair, a cry begging for understanding, for compassion. Later, Jan, a close friend from the group told me my behavior towards Frédéric was more violent than his own behavior. I lessened to him but was upset inside because I felt like the agressed one. But Frédéric's teardrops proved Jan was right: although I did not yell nor physically fight, I was probably the most violent of the two And for sure the less sensitive one.
Frederic left but won the fight and I feel a bit shity tonight,
Like the responsible of this internal cleansing,

Civil March for Aleppo - DAY 73 - From Zagreb to Sarajevo

Barefoot in Sarajevo with the Civil March for Aleppo

Here is the presentation of  the major event that will take place in Sarajevo, march 22:

The Civil March for Aleppo will enter Sarajevo on Wednesday March 22 2017, 25 years after the beginning of the city's bloody siege. To commemorate the war of yesterday while protesting against the one of today, a major event will take place in the Bosnian capital during that day and everywhere in the world at the same time.

Take part in The Barefoot Day for Peace in Syria with The Civil March for Aleppo,
The Civil March will enter Sarajevo from the North, On wednesday March 22nd. We will meet at 12h on Urbania bridge and pay tribute to the first victim of the 1992 siege. 11 541 rose leaves will be dropped in the Miljacka river to commemorate the victims of the war. We will invite all the political representatives to join us there, including ambassadors, politicians, UN members, religious community leaders, etc.. Then, the Civil March will reach the Eternal Flame in Ferhadija street. Just before entering Marsala Tita, the participants will be invited to take off their shoes and pick up a candle. Buckets of red paint will be placed on the street in order for the participants to step into them. The Civil March will then reach Bascarsija, leaving behind them thousands of red footprints. At the square, a piano will be displayed and Aeham Ahmad, the pianist that played in the ruins of Damascus, will perform. Then, a 24 hours open air peace talks will start at the same place.

24h open air peace talks
Right after the piano concert, a 24h public discussion will take place under the supervision of a Civil March moderator. We want to focuse on topics which can increase power of civilians towards problem of war in today's world. Therefore, will be created a place for dialog about our own possibilities and skills in creating a good society. The space is prepared for 12 participants with a same number of chairs divided in a circle. Everyone can listen to the talks and take part by seating on one of the chairs. Taking part in this event means following the rules of agora which will be clearly displayed among the participants.

The red footprint symbol
The Civil March for Aleppo idea is to walk the opposite way to the refugees entering Europe. We all saw the terrifying images of these people abandoning everything behind them, including sometimes their own shoes. This is why, we would like the world to show its compassion for these refugees seeking asylum in our countries.
Let's cover the world with our red footprints!
The Civil March wants the same event to take place in all the major cities of the world. An international call will be launched to all the mayors in the world in order to have them organized.

How to do it?
Each city will organize its own barefoot for peace event, based on the major one in Sarajevo. The Civil March will provide its logotype and communication tools.
The main goal of the demonstration: Mobilizing the world for peace in Syria and obtain free circulation of the Civil March in that country,
We want to obtain maximum support to help the Civil March crossing the Turkish border with Syria in order to reach Aleppo. The Civil March has gathered more than 26 different nationalities so far, including Polish, German, Austrian, Czech, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Norwegian, English, French, Brazilian, Argentinian, Swiss, Luxembourgeois,.. This represents a powerful group of pressure that no state can ignore.

How to succeed?
The Civil March for Aleppo wants to enter Syria. To reach that goal, all the citizens of the world are asked to write to their representative on various levels (mayor, deputy, minister, president, UN delegate) to make it happened. A standard letter is already on line: Everyone is deeply encouraged to copy and send it in her/his own country.

Why to join us in Sarajevo?
Since the end of WWII, the world has become one. Each citizen of the planet is now concerned about what is going on in the other side of the world. And when we forget about it, some terrorist attacks occur to remind us of it. If we want peace for us, we need to act for peace for the others otherwise, war will expand and soon reach us for good. This is a cold and basic statement no one can deny. Therefore, even to those who don't share our compassion for the victims of these crimes that are taking place in Syria, we ask them to join us on March 22 in Sarajevo or anywhere else in the world.

Seat and cry or walk and smile
The Civil March for Aleppo welcomes everyone who is fed up with the feeling of helplessness towards this war. Come and yell your anger with us, march and show your concern to the people of Syria. They need it to regain hope in human being and the Civil March for Aleppo makes it possible.