“At the moment when the Youth Festival was to begin in the beautiful and modern grand open theatre of Bobo-Dioulasso, the electricity failed . . . and there were 420 of us!” The Youth for a United World then shared what happened during those first uncertain moments of the joy-filled event that took place on October 19, 2013, which they had organized in Burkina Faso. Electrical energy is distributed by region in the city, and precisely at the hour of the Youth Festival a blackout had been scheduled for that area. “When we realized this,” the young people recount, “we ran to the Electrical Energy Society of the country and, fortunately, when we told them about our gathering they immediately restored the power for the event.”
Omar, one of the Muslim Youth for a United World recalls, “The period leading up to the event was also quite beautiful, as we were preparing it. It took four months of working together and overcoming our diversity.”
Finally the day arrived. “The surprises began early in the morning at the press conference,” Liberta explains. “We found ourselves with nearly 150 people including the Vicar General and the Assistant Mayor of one of the cantons of Bobo-Dioulasso, and there was television and radio coverage.”
The young people included Muslims, members of the Saint Egidio Community, Christians from several Churches and representatives from traditional religions. Also present were the Episcopal Vicar, the Assistant Mayor, the Governor’s representative, President of the Association of Protestant Churches and that of the Assembly of God Churches.
“A beautiful dialogue was created among actors and the public; a family atmosphere, also through the experiences that were recounted by the Youth for a United World. We read what Maria Voce had written in her greeting, with her invitation to spread a culture of peace and unity around us so that love will triumph over hatred and war disappear. Her words were listened to with much attention by the young people.”
The programme contained song, dance and choreography not only by the Youth for a Untied World, but also by the Titiama artistic group and by Protestant youths. Mrs. Toussy, a famous singer in Burkina Faso, intoned the song Let us love one another, then a singer from Togo presented one of his songs.
>The speech by one young Muslim man was very moving, the son of an Iman and ex-president of the Burkina Muslim Community, who encouraged everyone not to r give up in the face of difficulties that can arise in the relationship between Christians and Muslims. He concluded saying: “The Focolare Movement is a river of love where there is no proselytism, but only desires to create a world of brotherhood.”
“I find myself in front of something here that goes beyond my thinking; I never imagined it would be this beautiful, or I would have invited all the young people of my Church,” said one Pastor. Everyone left filled with joy, and desirous to bring forward the ideal of fraternity that leads to peace and unity. “Working together, we have realized that this fraternity is too beautiful to keep among ourselves,” commented one young woman from the Saint Egidio Community.
National television broadcasted portions of the event several times on news broadcasts, and the radio continued for several days to broadcast portions of the concert.
“Now,” the Young for Unity enthusiastically explained, “we want to get to work, to continue to collaborate and build dialogue among us, in this atmosphere of openness to each other. At our next event we want to fill the stadium.”