What does peace mean?

Tommaso Carrieri is co-founder of Non Dalla Guerra (“Not from war”). He spoke of his work for peace to 6,000 young people attending Genfest 2018 in Manila.
Tommaso Carrieri, co-founder of
the association “Not from war”

“The experience that led to the birth of our association, Non Dalla Guerra, began almost by accident. We were quite young, inexperienced and untrained, although we were full of energy and a drive to go beyond what the media was telling us.

“Our activities are mostly peace education in schools, with groups and for citizens. This includes talking about the situation in the Middle East, such as in Jordan, Palestine, Syria and Iraq – all about those wars that do not only kill people but entire nations, hope, freedom and the future.
“Each year we invite many young people to participate in volunteer projects, particularly in Jordan thanks to Caritas, with the goal of standing alongside people, families and children who have escaped the nightmare of war.
“We first arrived in Jordan in 2014, and from that moment on, everything changed. Through the stories of thousands of Syrian and Iraqi refugees who are still living in Jordan, we learned about the consequences of war: destruction, poverty, hopelessness. We realized how complicated the situation is there and how hard it is to understand it.

“What does peace even mean? Why does war exist? As young people we asked ourselves: what can we do? Attempting to respond to these questions, we learned more and more. We realized that change and peace must begin with us, on a slow, tiring, never-ending journey between who we are and what we do. It is a huge challenge.

“Being young did not stop us advancing our ideals; quite the contrary. Of course we still make many mistakes, but this is all part of the game. We feel that we have a responsibility, and this responsibility for us has the face, story and name of all those we have met.

“Once Wael Suleiman, director of Caritas in Jordan, said, ‘Peace is not a campaign; it is life.’
“So what can I do? Be part of Non Dalla Guerra? Get involved in my city? Certainly. The most important thing to do, however, is respond with our lives. My life is a response to what I’m living through! “We understood through this experience that young people can do whatever they set their minds to. If that is true, we must come together, not to be the same, but to be united, and to not repeat the mistakes and conflicts that we experience today. We want to aim at change, and we can do it together.”