The President of the Federal Republic of Germany
Mr. Johannes Rau
March 7th, 2002
Dear Mr. President,
unfortunately, we have to inform you of quite a sad outcome:
The effort not only to talk about the "Dialogue of Civilizations",
but to practise it for one year together with people from all over the
world and to publish its results all around the world, failed.
Within three years work - for the last six months the work of twelve people
from different parts of the society - our idea of the "cultural caravan"
has been developed on logistical, financial and technical levels up to
the extent that the project could have started tomorrow.
Our intention was to submit a proposal to the society we live in. In addition,
after the disaster in New York, the caravan could have been a chance to
escape the dreadful thought of retaliation, this spiral of violence and
counter-violence, in a creative and a constructive manner: a civil alternative
to that attack on civilization. We wished that this opportunity for true
international understanding to be accepted and spread by politics, and
media, and business as a social chance and a political necessity. For
us, this was the condition for its realization.
This in mind, we performed a press-conference at Goethe-Institute Berlin
on 23th of January 2002. The members of the "Federal Press-Conference"
as well as personalities from politics and economic establishment were
to be invited to this event by the headships of both the Goethe-Institute
and the Chamber of Culture of the German Parliament ('Bundestag'). A special
caravan-train from the Berlin traffic services 'BVG' was passing through
the center of Berlin, musicians and dancers and actors from nine countries
and four continents were playing, 120 persons were present, written information
was given in German, in English, in Arabic, in French, in Russian and
in Turkish language, and the ambassador of the Republic of Sudan, Mr.
Ahmed Gaafar Abdelkarim said: "The Sudan has been a multicultural
country for centuries - the Qafila-t-as-Salam is the continuation of the
cultural traditions of our country, and, therefore, it is welcome."
After that nothing happened. No response at the hand of the media or the
politics or the economic establishment: the sneering refusal, the most
destroying answer that could have been given to this proposal.
We do not want to intrude this idea upon you or upon the society. We developed
everything besides our professional work, we bore all the cost to the
five-figure amount of Euros, and we were ready to bear the professional
disadvantages due to the realization of this project. We all were sure
that this civil and social initiative would be caught up eagerly.
Therefore, we draw back this proposal with incomprehension and distress.
For a short time there seemed to be a place for an Utopia.
With thanks for your patience and efforts, I remain
(signed) Christof Wackernagel.