Rediscovering a dream

Sophia TripEurope’s deepest meaning embraces the physical map of the continent, crossing the political, economic and cultural history of millenniums, recalling the moral values on which a project of unification was built, which continues its progress today, between shoves, arrests, and restarts.

If the bases of the European civilization were built starting from ancient times, if the development of Christianity and of the Christian civilization have introduced elements of homogeneity, of a precise and clear European conscience, we cannot speak about of it if not in these modern times and in this contemporary era, a period that has known the most dramatic confrontations between opposing nationalisms, between ideologies able to put forward States’ claims and their will for economical dominance, and the cultural and anthropological confrontations going from political spaces, to battle fields.
Over the ruins of the two world Wars the prodroms of a dream for reunification were born, of a plural story that can become common to all, of a courageous journey through which, the giving up of one’s political sovereignty would exalt the values of forgiveness, peace and sharing.

This has been the meaning of the journey taken by 5 students from Sophia during the month of August,- Davide Penna, Luciana Borba, Ramy Boulos, Maria Hsu, Cécile Hedon – together with the television troupe of a young Italian filmmaker, Antonio Castaldo, with the help of the cultural association of Arezzo, “Towards Europe,” which is constantly working for the rediscovery of values which are at the base of the European project.

Significant and varied stages of this trip were: Sarajevo, the “Jerusalem of Europe”, sight of the encounter of peoples and diverse religious convictions, and scene of the bloody ethnic war of the nineteen hundreds. Warsaw, with the horrifying visit to the Jewish ghetto with stories which, with a non-pacified look to the past, tell us that an optimistic vision of the future could be generated. The hill of Crosses in Lithuania: 6000 symbols of a confrontation between politics and a persecuted and prohibited religious spirit; today, reminds us that faith in a race of people has ‘worked’ in favor of conciliation and hope. Berlin, city of the dividing wall between East and West, which became, from 1989, a place of integration, of the coming together of people historically divided, who discover a new relationship and a new common history; a very meaningful visit for a rethinking of the meaning of welcoming and reconciliation.

Finally, after having already covered 7000 kilometers, three more stops in France: at Notre Dame du Haut we encounter the Christian roots and the search for new transcendent ways through the universal language of beauty: colours, lights, the “sound” of silence which feeds ones’ interiority and exalts the meaning of one’s own humanity in going beyond ones’ self. The following day at Verdun, scene of another among the bloodiest of battles (over a million deaths) and useless ones, of the first World War. A very touching visit to the monument and the cemetery: one can appreciate how the memory of such a similar tragedy, mediated by the beauty of the sight, can promote peace and fraternity amongst peoples who had been enemies the day before. The third stop is, Strasburg in Alsace, a symbolic region of the French-German confrontation during the XX century. In this city, we find the seats of the European Council and the European Parliament, which represent the culture of encounter and the meaning of the Unitarian building between diverse nations.

The posting on facebook done by the trip’s participants at the conclusion of this trip was worth more than a thousand comments: “The impression is that Europe is not going back to a spirit of the past, but represents above all, a choice concerning the future. A future that must give value to diversity in its search for unity: Around Europe”.



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