Living between hope and fear

May 2006 -

President Bush continually talks about the war on terror. Iran and North Korea are among the countries with terrifying nuclear programs. Artists have become afraid to explicitly express themselves. The world is in culture of hope the grip of fear. According to the compilers of Culture of Hope, however, there is true hope in the life of many people in regions where living conditions are difficult. This is not a topic that we often read about.

Culture of Hope is the title of the thirteenth edition of the Prince Claus Fund Journal. This almost 100-page publication contains contributions from nine authors on all of the globe's continents. Desmond Tutu draws the attention of South Africans to the need to forgive the key figures from the Apartheid era. South African historian and sociologist Achille Mbembe argued during the 2004 World Cultures Report in the Peace Palace in The Hague that hope in South Africa is closely related to politics of reconciliation.

foto (c) martin Weber
Foto © Martin Weber

A selection of the photo series A Map of Latin American Dreams by Argentinian photographer Martin Weber is included in the Journal. These soul-wrenching photos portray ordinary people holding a small chalkboard on which they have formulated their dream. " Know the truth of what happened to our relatives, so that justice is done and the torturers do not remain free ," says the board held by a grey-haired Brazilian woman, photographed with her daughters and grandson.

Well worth reading is the contribution by economist Syed Mansoob Murshed from Bengal. He ponders the various motives behind the wars of the last century and concludes that we humans underestimate our ability to grow beyond such horrors. Thus there is no reason whatsoever to lose hope.