This week I am traveling to Sant'Antioco, an Island located in the South West of the island of Sardinia, and connected through a 3,2 miles isthmus to Cagliari (55 miles away), a major city in the South within the island of Sardinia.
Fascinated by its Phoenician, Carthaginian and Roman history all merging into one population deeply devoted to Saint Anthiocus martyr, a physician coming from Mauritania during the reign of the Roman emperor Hadrian ( II century AC) to spread the faith of Christ when a massive Christian persecution was taking place, I managed to visit a wondrous Phoenician area where the city of Sant'Antioco was gathering to spread words of multiculturalism, dialogue and peace in a time of uncertainty and many unresolved questions about the future.
The event, "Al di qua del ponte" ( On this side of the bridge*) was organized by both the town hall and associations of communities from Senegal, Morocco, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, Salvador, Romania, Russia and Byelorussia who settled in the city of Sant'Antioco. These associations undertake regular informational sessions, events planning and cultural activities to engage the Antiochesi local people to get to meet and share a piece of their historical background, traditions, food preparation, dance and customs.
This practice of "intertwining", sharing, collaborating and communicating has a huge international resonance in public international diplomacy. These cultural events are regional examples that could ( and I am sure are) be replicated in thousands of places across the continents and in all corners of the world (in different visual, art, written, audio forms..) acting as global megaphones at high volume transmitting the same message of peace, cultural awareness and shared humanity. By both understanding our temporary human condition on Earth and conscious of being "global guests" of this planet, we must act to unite and not to divide with missiles and territories. Instead of building tunnels of weapons, one of our purposes should be of building bridges to connect people and places, taking care of different points of views and opinions.
I was profoundly impressed by all letters, interviews and interventions of philosophers, scholars and experts in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, all emphasizing the need for an international solution, more dialogue and more cooperation. In particular, an interview with David Grossman appeared on the New York Times who sees the present conflict as an "hermetically sealed bubble" and a "long grindstone of violence" in which we seem to be all imprisoned. He asks himself why Israel has been incapable, for decades, of thinking outside of the bubble, avoiding negotiations with the moderate and "more conversable sectors" of the Palestinian people; or to talk with the Arab League initiative that could have enlisted moderate Arab states with the power to impose, perhaps, a compromise with Hamas (both actions could have served to pressure Hamas) .
The same concept was highlighted in an open letter ( Lettera al vento- letter to the wind) of Noa, an Israeli singer, who described her personal story in Tel Aviv and calling for Dialogue, Respect and Empathy between Israeli and Palestinian moderates.
A way of opening dialogue comes across the Al di qua del ponte, as well as other innumerous messages of multicultural diversity, communication and mutual understanding. I remember when I was studying in Boston, the ISSI team -- the international student and scholar institute at Northeastern University -- instilled passion for cultures, education oriented to sharing stories coming from religious, cultural and social backgrounds, all respecting one another and embracing diversity as enrichment and way of working together to make progress.
We have different options, but not to lose our humanity and our hope for the future, the future that we all have in our minds and hearts, of safety and security for all, we only have one resolution and one way forward: harder, but essential: Peace.
*the bridge is the one connecting the island of Sardinia to the island of Sant'Antioco