Fasting for peace in Paris August 6-9, 2012
Fasting for peace in Paris from 6th to 9th of August, in remembrance of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
The decision I made was spontaneous, taking a bus to join a French group who wants to fast to remember the nukes in Japan 1948 and demand abolition of nuclear weapons today. I arrived at Trocadéro at the Eiffel Tower and watched for a big group of activists. First I had to walk across the square to the other side of the tower before I spoted people and joined them instantly. "Abolition des armes de nucléaire", some had a letter each hanging down on front and back and others carried banners. From the Mur de la paix we slowly marched towards "le Eifel" and stopped several times to call out our slogan or to let the letters circuit us.
I got to know Dominique, the man I had called the day before to make sure I will have a place to stay. No Problem! I was part of the group then and as we gathered at the wall of peace after the actions we introduced each other and planed our next move. Around 5 o'clock we had cleaned up the place, loaded all materials and went to the gym. I hardly remembered words from school but the more I heard and tried the better it got. Pierre also could translate to German for me, but I recognized he had the vesting to be very active by listening to the experience and impressions of others and taking part in the discussions going on and I decided not to ask for this opportunity all the time.
Tuesday I really started fasting, in the Gym everybody had signed a declaration which also said that every action will be peaceful. We went to the museum of modern art where we raised our banners again. We decided who will do what action and later I sat in a car de rouge which started at Notre-Dame. The bus drove along all the sights in Paris while we put banners on both sides. Fortunately only at the last stop we had to get of because it was no authorized action and the company was a little angry.
At the wall of peace we gathered again and build up an exhibition of pictures (Hiroshima/Nagasaki and photos of Fukushima). Then we crossed the whole square to the Eiffel Tower. Some wore completely black clothes and had a white mask on while I walked around in a nuclear rocket costume. A Japanese trumpeter blew dramatic tones when the group made a die-in and fell to the ground while we rockets buzzed around.
A small delegation from Fukushima joined us and reported on the situation in Japan. I gave some stickers to them which said “Shut down all nuclear plants” with a radioactive sign looking like the scream (“der Schrei” by Edvard Munch). I talked to two women from Finland who brought the banner “don`t kill your children” along. And received an invitation to the next Olkiluoto Blockade. In the evening we watched the movie black rain (a Hiroshima drama) in an alternative cinema called “le clef”.
Wednesday we reacted on the government not answering a letter that demanded talks with the group. We split and went towards the ministry in different directions. One block next to the building we were stopped by police and surrounded as more and more men appeared. Of course, this action wasn`t authorized either. An intense dialog took place while most of us put on the costumes or took out the banners. The result was, we were not taken to the police department and some of Hollandes' party decided to talk about disarmament, what did not lead anywhere. We returned to the peace wall and some of us crossed the city in the car de rouge again.
In the evening we wanted to make a torch march along the channel in Saint-Martin. The police prevented that we hold up our banners there, but we still could reach some people by walking through the crowd and speaking to those who had diner or played music close to the channel.
Thursday we occupied the wall of peace and made it our center for further actions. Costumes, flags of all nations, a basket full of Origami cranes and the trumpeter. Three speeches were hold and we remembered the victims. After that we went cross the street to the military school. Dominique hold up a globe that was buzzed by our yellow nuclear rockets and once again we called out for the abolition of nuclear weapons world wide.
At 2 o'clock we dismantled everything at the wall of peace took our things and went to the gym a last time. When the others sat in a circle and reflected what was going on, I dozed of a little. Later we went to the closest town hall where we met the sponsor of the gym, the mayor of the second town district and he invited us to break the fast with a fine soup, juices, nuts and fruits in a beautiful saloon.
Conclusion: For me it was an important experience and I could experience the city in a friendly atmosphere. Finally I succeeded in fasting for a few days and I got to know people who work for the preservation of our future. Who wants to come to Paris next year?
written by a participant of the international network gathering in Döbeln (D), who joined in Paris one of the follow-up activities promoted at the camp