“Germany needs peace and desires peace” was the repeated line in the speeches of Adolf Hitler in 1935. He won the power from the people at elections that year. And, in the years that followed, he and his clique have become the personification of evil, the one that has stained the world history forever. We must not forget another evil figure, and it is Stalin who used his power to bring death and suffering of tens of millions of people in the name of social justice and equality. We have to remember that these two are not alone in the sad and bloody hall of infamous power holders. We must not forget all those like them, as well as the wannabes, smaller or bigger dictators in the past and in the present times.
The past is not only full of terrible transgressions and atrocities, but it is also the generator of the future horrors. We stand in the middle. Whether we let it happen or do our best to stop it is a personal choice that we make every day of our lives.
It is us, each and every one of us, who is responsible for the future of the human kind. Or, in other words, every human has to be given the space and time to shape the future of the civilization. No matter of how idealistic this may sound, how unachievable and impossible it may seem, we must not give up the struggle for a better world. A world in which the dark ages are not the ground for even darker future.
Sometimes, we believe that a cause or an interest is more important than the truth. That is the trap in which we fall. That is the space where perpetrators of evil acts hide the truth and path the way for more crimes and endless spirals of violence. They do so in order to protect themselves, their families and the groups to which they are affiliated or dragged into. Truth and the facts of reality and events are constantly in danger to be misused and lead to more injustice. The perpetrators of crimes against humanity always present themselves as victims, justifying crime and violence as struggle for justice, freedom and human rights. Using fear and delusion is common, making others believe that what happens, simply, has to happen. Decades upon decades, we see the ghosts of the past, becoming foundations of culture and ways of living for entire nations and ethnic communities.
It is up to us to put an end to it all. Lies and walls of silence must fall, since they keep violence and crimes alive. There is no better way to hide crimes against humanity by establishing false values and fabricated history, and to win elections.
Artists, intellectuals, media and civil society are the most powerful vehicles of change. Regardless of how small and insignificant our actions may seem, every word, every message, every image and conversation, makes a change. Our determination to face the facts and reveal the truth is crucial, regardless of how unpleasant the truth is. Our work, acts and creations, our values and ways are important steps towards the world of freedom, dignity and peace.
PS. This short note is dedicated to the artists that Civil worked with during the Dealing with the Past Art Colony. The artists and intellectuals are forerunners of the free world. I thank them all for their great work, and I believe we will meet again soon to help our society turn the walls of silence and denial.