Geert Lovink on Tue, 6 Apr 1999 12:11:26 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Let the sunflower blossom again (part 2)

From: wam kat <>


Part 2

Dear Friends,


Sorry again for those who expected already yesterday (sunday) a private
answer but on needed a small break. Yestersay I joined a Easter marche
here in Germany. And above all my postbox broke yesterday due to all the
emails which I recieved, since Friday already over 300 emails came back
within 48 hours, I am not able at the time to read them all, but as far as
I was able I noticed that all of them were positiv and supporting me to
continue this initiative. Therefor I decided the take some time today
(monday) and try to write a more constructive mail to all of you. For
those we are still wondering who this strange wam is, behind this messages
I will included a few internet links in this message, where you be able to
find background information about who I am and what I have done.
Furthermore I will include in this message a small qoute from a speech
held by the USA Vice-President Al Gore a few years ago proofing the
importance of the internet and what kind of humanitarian initiatives can
be established by this medium.

Back to bussniss.....

THE PLAN --------

As soon as the direct crisis in Macedonia and Albania is settled down a
bit, we will start to organise small international teams of volunteers, up
to 20 persons, who will go down to the area and life for at least 3 weeks
together with the refugees in the hopefull by that time more and better
established refugee camps in the area. At this moment in time, when the
situation is as chaotic as it is, it makes only sence to go there if you
are able to install the first important basics which enable the refugees
to stay alive. Unstructured and organised international volunteers in the
middle of this mass wouldn't help much. Schelter, food, water and
medicines are now the most important things which have to be organised.
And following the news I have the feeling that the international big aid
is getting on its way.

In the weeks the situation will calm down a bit, the first panic like now
will be in a big under controll (I hope). At this moment that all over the
region more or less better settled refugee camps will be there. I must
admit that I believe that even when the war in Kosovo will be over in the
next weeks, I believe on basis from the news that the refugees are able to
return to their houses in Kosovo. If what we hear is true lot's of town
and villages are destroyed and first of all have to be rebuilded before
people are able at all to return. All this time they will be waiting in
their centers in Macedonia and Albania, mostly months or even years,
rather than weeks, but let us hope for the best.

The experiences from "SunCokret" (Sunflower) in Croatia and Bosnia and "My
Neighbour" in Serbia in 1992 and following has shown how important it will
be that refugees at this moment wouldn't be left alone. Food and shelter
are one thing, the things in the mind are another almost as important part
of humanitarian aid. Bringing a bit of normality into this situation,
bringing normal people from all over the world, helps a lot in breaking
the spiral of thinking in fair, war and so on all the time. It helps
indeed a bit against the traumas which are build up in this time of

OUR ACTIVITIES --------------

Very simple, people will be going in small group into the refugee centers
as said for at least three weeks. During this time they organise or help
to organise first of all creative activities for the children there. This
can be a bit range of things, SunCokret started with organising sport,
children plays, music, theater until schools and selforganised youth
centers. Secondly activities for women, also this can range from creative
workshop, talkingsgroups, courses until produktive units. And last but
least activity for men, else than just meeting places where they just talk
about the missery in thier country. Also here you may think in the
direction of courses, when the war is over their homes and towns have to
be rebuilded and new infra and economic structures have to be rebuilded.

THE OFFSPRING -------------

International volunteers in a refugee centers is one thing, but it has as
we experienced some beautifull offsprings. All most volunteer, when he or
she returned home became a local, regional or national contactperson for
direct grassroot help towards the centers. In may occassions in Croatia
and Bosnia have shown how important this direct contact were and how they
could organised what big organisations weren't able to.

Furtheron it help people all over the world to overcome their situation of
pasiveness, their frustrations about what is going on. Each of us are able
to help, at this moment the refugees in Albanian and Macedonia are the
worst victims of war, what ever you may think and who is responsible for
it. We should combine or power and so what a united nations from below is
able to get on its way.

Each of you is able to help, supporting this action or any other actions
which help this victims. Nobody is helped by trying to ban this situation
out of your mind. It is there and almost all of us are direct and indirect
involved in it.

WHAT HAVE TO BE DONE NOW !!! ----------------------------

OK I have taken the initiative, but I am sure that all of you are able to
understand that I am just a private person and for sure not able to
organise this all by myself. I am even not sure if I should be the person
to organise this. But from all the positive reactions I have noticed that
it can and should be done. At this moment it is important to establish
some where on the internet a coordination point, a point were we have good
and fast internet entrance, from where we can inform all people around the
net about this initaive. A bankaccount (please not mine) to collect
support for the first, and later costs of this initiative. And a fast as
possible contacts in Albaninan and Macedonia, up to now I haven't
established that, sorry.

Every idea how this all can be done in the next days are welcome. This may
should a bit naiv, but it is the reality, I am sorry. But I am sure that
we are able to do it. By the way when any of you have be hearing from
simular initiatives please spread the news, as said it is important to
combine or cooperate as much as possible.

Ofcourse I hope that other big humanitarian organisations like the UNHCR
or ICRC and others will suppport an action like this, like happened with
SunCokret 7 years ago, after they organised the first activities in
different refugee center. But I am sure it will happen Mrs. Agata head
from the UNHCR already mentioned today (Monday) that the international
communittee should not only think about food and shelters, but als about
activities for the children and alter refugees.

WHY INTERNATIONAL -----------------

You may be not agree with me, but I believe that situations like this is
asking for international, rather than national initiatives. In a war, were
natiolism was driven again to it ubsurdity are asking from and trans
national answer. The international cooperation and a real international
presents in the refugee centers will show that people from all over the
world can work together. When we are able to establish a kind of self
organised united nations of below we can again put a milestone in the
internet, that we can be able to work together, rather than fight over the
net (the amount of war propaganda and news on the wwww and flame wars in
discussion groups is increased in the last 4 years). Lets do something
more constructive.

SPREAD THIS NEWS ----------------

Like my diary about 7 years ago was, without my knowledge, spreaded around
the world, also my first message from Saterday has been spread around the
world, lot's of people has send it to there friends and I am glad that
this happened and ask you again to mail, if you like it, this appeal to
your friends and those who think maybe can help to realise this
initiative. Rather this personal initiativ and contacts are the main
powers behind an action like this.


As said I don't where I have heard this idea first, but I am glad that it
went to the net so quickly. I'm happy to tell you that in the main time a
petation towards Nelson Mandela started on the internet, which you can
read and sign:

LAST BUT SURELY NOT LEAST -------------------------

My deep respect are going to the people and the political leaders of
Macedonia and Albania, it is unbelieveble what such a refugees explosion
means for those two after all poorest countries of Europe.




mir od mene,



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