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Take your brick…and believe! – Stories of Peace

When two Nobel Prizes winners, Martti Ahtisaari and José Ramos-Horta, tell about their long-time experience and their passionate fight, our wish of Peace smells like hope, because we feel it’s not just about words. Which better location than Room XX, the room of “Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations", to host a dialogue of Peace? Held in Palais des Nations on Wednesday, November 13th, the Conference was entitled "Complexities of Peacemaking: the untold story”. In Geneva, which has been consecrated, once again, the capital of dialogue and mediation, the setting for negotiations and conciliation.
The two leaders shared a very charismatic dialogue. One is a cold and calm Nordic man, who had a written speech and a typically Finnish aplomb. The other one has the heart from the South: passionate and lively, he talked off-the-cuff, entertaining with jokes and irony and bringing the assembly to an unexpected laugh.

Martti Ahtisaari was former President of Finland. The 2008 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to him, “for his great efforts, on several continents and over more than three decades, to resolve international conflicts”. Ahtisaari was a major contributor when Namibia achieved independence in 1989-90, arbitrated in Kosovo in 1999 and 2005-07, and helped to bring the long-lasting conflict in the Aceh province in Indonesia to an end in 2005.
José Ramos-Horta, winner of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize and former President of Timor Leste, was one of the leaders of the resistance when Indonesia occupied his country, as well as Special Representative for the Secretary-General and head of the UN Integrated Peace-building Office in Guinea-Bissau.
 “Poverty and inequality generate conflicts, but economic growth alone cannot be the solution”, Ahtisaari said. While Michael Møller, UNOG Acting Director-General, complimented him for being a peace builder, with his upright behaviour he stated: “Too old to blush”. Meanwhile he invited all of us to be architects of our future.
After telling some smart jokes, Ramos-Horta quoted his last speech as a president of Timor Leste: “Never humiliating the adversary. Bleeding together is needed, to raise again. Humility is the greatest quality of a leader, because arrogance is peace’s enemy”, he said while confiding he thinks the greatest visionary is the one who encourages and promotes respect for diversity, which is not weakness to a state, but a huge wealth.
Both the guests agree in stating that reconciliation is needed, through an open dialogue between conflicting memories. The world looks at these two Nobel Prizes as modern “heroes”, but they are just people who chose to behave as human beings. This discussion leads us to a reflection: War comes from hate. And it generates hate.
Scenes of ordinary madness come up again: Syria’s hell, wakes of the Second Intifada, Arab Spring violence, Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the terrible poverty in Chiapas (a gift from the war), FARC guerrilla, child soldiers and the horror heritage at the borders between Sierra Leone and Liberia, powder keg Iraq, the forgotten Congo war, the enduring conflict in Darfur. War winds are blowing. It deals with a war that changed its aspect and connotation during the time. It is the invisible enemy war, the chemical weapons war, and the war of the martyr warriors and of bombs falling down as if it was raining.
Today, speaking about peace helps us to commit to put another brick to build it and to feel more human.

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