Summer Camp of Young Peace Builders at Tubigen, Germany
- Part 1 -

Louriyam Bebica *

Summer Camp of Young Peace Builders at Tubigen, Germany
Summer Camp of Young Peace Builders at Tubigen, Germany

"Saints, the world is mad"

I am starting this paper with an amazing quote by Kabir, who was one of the fifteen century poets. He believed that Hindus and Muslims had lost the true sight and taken shelter in pseudo, even restoring to religious antagonism and violence.

I was going through those posts on my FB. It was filled with pictures of violence. Suddenly I heard the sound of pop up in my email. I was in mixed emotion when I read the email. It was the invitation letter by Berghof Foundation, Germany as one of the participants to Berghof Summer School for Young Peace Builders (10th-22nd September 2015, at Tubigen, Germany). No doubt, I was happy as the whole theme of the summer camp will be based on peace, not on MONEY or POWER. I took a peaceful breath and muttered 'wow! Even at this era, there are many people who not only WISH to have peace but also wants to WORK on peace".

My intuition suddenly insists me to salute those people. However, I was nervous too, knowing the fact that I was the representor of my country. Many unanswerable questions were disturbing my mind: Will I able to justify Berghof's team and other responsible people who had spent their effort to bring me there? Am I the right person?


When I introduced myself to them as an Indian, their expectation was high as I was from the country where non-violence movement started by Gandhiji. I felt frustrated as the scenario at my place was no longer as Gandhiji has created.

I, like the rest of my people, grew up in an environment where violence sings in every tune in name of peace. My definition of peace was- not fairing whether I will come back home or not when I set my feet from home. We were taught to believe in binary world where either its black or white, male or female, dark or light, Muslim or Hindu, SC or OBC. We were never taught the world beyond it. They had led the path which we began to believe that the world is not continuum; it's an ideal of their philosophy which was whispered to them directly by God.

So, the only possible definition of peace should be my definition. I had to surrender my definition as the only; when i met other participants. I learned that peace can't be wrapped in a single box, it differs depending on context. Let me quote some of their definitions here

Qutaiba said "Peace is being a human; if a person kills another he is no longer a Muslim because Islam teaches us only to love others, not to hate or kill".

Marie-Krystel said "Peace is accepting another and not depriving the right to know them only because they don't believe on what we do".

Yalda said "Peace is getting freedom after using the freedom to express".

We realized that the definitions might be different but we all share an only idea, living and allowing others to live.

Children in our Countries

''Don't worry how much you can teach your children but remember, whatever they will learn is all from you''-it's my mom's constant advice to us.

We had a special session on youth and children at our respective countries. It remains me the pain our children are going through. Let me lean on my friend Yalda's quote 'freedom after using the freedom of expression' because some people might say ''what does she knows, she stays comfortably in United States and commenting on us''

No words to explain how our children are here. They are given the right to education only on written rules and policies but their own flesh has blocked the road to education from them. They are used as an instrument to reach their goals.

Lots of photos were posted recently in social media regarding ILP support (I am not talking only of ILP, it happens in every case). Many of the photos were of children. I am very much with the people of Manipur, but I can't support the idea how children are used like bullets which you shoot at everywhere and anytime you please.

There is no doubt that we have the right to fight for our RIGHTS, but my concern is why only the rights of organizations? What about the RIGHT of children? Is not the right to education, their primary and basic right? Why are we depriving them from their RIGHT to education? Why are we pushing them into the world they don't even have any idea? Those children (some of them were hardly five years old) who were standing with board in their hands saying they support the demands, they won't know even the long form of those abbreviations, so forget about the content.

Why are we trying to create a confusing definition of patriotism? When Bir Tikendrajit died for the motherland that was the act of patriot, he knew what he was doing. Do you think those children know what they are doing? Let me tell you some of my experienced. When I was in TG, one afternoon we were called to get inside our classroom within five minute, so we did. It was our break time for lunch. We were sharing our tiffin. My hand was half way to my mouth when they made the announcement. We rushed to our room leaving our food and kicking at our empty, hungry and angry stomach. There were some good speakers in our class room who claim to be the leaders of some organization. They asked (here the word 'ask' sounds unfair to us because they didn't ask instead they order) us to join a protest. The protest was to be done in form of a march rally in front of the CM's quarter.

On our way, I asked one of my friends who was walking by my side

"Do you know how long will it take?"

"I don't know'' she replied. We walk silently for a while, I asked again

''By the way why are we protesting?"

"I don't know" she replied the same.

Both of us knew nothing but keep walking with the group. I lift up my neck looking for those faces who might know why we are going there. I could not find any of them but I realized that we reached the venue where we were supposed to carry out our protest.

Those so called LEADERS who came to take us were in front of us until we reached secretariat. I don't know how they vanish from there. I saw none of them, I swear. When lathi charge and tire gas began to wipe us, God knows how we jumped those iron walls. I was running faster than those athletics in those narrow streets. One of my friends got hurt on her leg. She still limps while walking even today. If we get hurt or kill in that protest/violence we would be portrayed as the soul who sacrifice his/her life for the motherland. Their name will be remember and talked of them till another person's dead of same circumstances and it goes on.

I grew up as a lazy child who loves watching cartoon and doesn't want to go school and escaped from classes. Once I came home from school pretending I was sick. My father came to me and told me," when you miss a series of your cartoon you can still link the story to your current series. If you miss a class you can never link because in the paddy field of knowledge is dependent on one another; if you miss one, you will lost the another one too"' If it is the value of a single class lets think how worth it will be of 4/5 months' classes which I lost.

By then, I was in Manipur University, some organization band taking class as a medium of protest, to get their demands. It went on for almost 4/5 months. They told us that they were taking up that step only for our (students) benefit. Years have passed on, but I still could find a single benefit we received. The only thing I knew is that they had killed our opportunity time where we could have learned to fullest, I felt that we the students are treated worse than those criminals. Those criminals were informed by the judges why they will be given dead penalty or other punishment.

They are at least aware why they will receive the punishment unlike the students of our state. Our parents send us to school in hope we will do something good in future for ourselves and for our parents. I am proud to see those parents who harden their palms with rocks, who screw their backbones to send their children to school. In return to their labor, some guys will come in name of peace or motherland and throw them inside the fire knowing they will be burn.

We keep on shouting children are the pillar of future but we denied that we are making weak pillars. Why don't we accept the fact that we can never have a strong building if the pillar is weak? Is it the future society we want to gift to our children? We have already experienced that path, still why are we pushing our children to feel that pain? Can't we find another way, allowing them to enjoy their right to education which is the most important for our future?

TO be continued ...

* Louriyam Bebica wrote this article for
The writer can be reached at louriyambebica(at)gmail(doT)com
This article was posted on October 04 2015.

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