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Syndicate: sunflower update 4

Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 14:53:17 +0200
From: wam kat <wam@mir.org>
Subject: sunflower update 4

Let the sunflower blossom again (update 4)

The sunflower-idea and update 2+3 is available from

Ein deutsche version:

c/o Wam Kat
Postfach 1219
14806 Belzig
+49/(0)33841/595 33 (fax) 88

Int. Coordination Office

For the time being this international coordination office can be here
in Germany, in the coming days we hope to organize some extra
telephones lines and already have established the possibility that
people who like to help in this international coordination point can
come and stay and work here for a while, we take care about sleeping
places and food.

Still I hope that this office can be established in the future
elsewhere in Europe (maybe elsewhere in Germany or in Italia f.e.). I
think it is needed to have such a place somewhere, and rather outside
of Albania and Macedonia, simply because the telephone and other infra
structure lines overthere are limited. We had already that experience
in the beginning of SunCokret in Croatia. The situation in Albania and
Macedonia is however worst.

National Coordination Point

Already 5 countries has been reacting, but I hope that in the coming
days more organisations/persons will sent a small note so that I can
include in the next update a long list.

International Advisory Committee

It would be good to establish an Int. Advisory Committee in which each
organisation, each netzwork, what join this action in one way or
another can have a place if they want to. This committee will meet
each month by internet (email) in order to evaluate what is going on,
and to make adjustments in the plan and its activities if needed. I am
really stressing this point since I think it is absolute important to
build up this initiative as an international one, rather than
national. And (political) decisions has to been taken international
and together. Hope that somebody has an idea how we can get such a
thing organised with the internet as medium.

Humanitarian aid

Lots of reactions came from people asking how, what and when they
could collect humanitarian aid and how to get in down there. Ofcourse
the simple answer is send money, but nevertheless ofcourse you can
start collecting materials. If you can't bring them to the area
yourself just drop a note, I have already a group of drivers who are
willing to drive and the experience is that somewhere there will be
some trucks also.

What kind of aid. Ofcourse Clothes, but take care, controll and wash
them before putting them on transport. Almost teh half of clothes we
recieved in Croatia and Bosnia were not useable, esle then to burn
them. And that counts for almost everything.

In SunCokret grow a special department f.e. for medical aid. Every box
which came in was controlled and up to 60% of the medicines were not
more as chemical waste. This sounds hard, but it was the reality. Lets
avoid it this time.

Toys, remember that a lot of Kosovarians are Islam, a different type
of Islam like in the middle east, but still. Some Imans will forbid
that children play with f.e. tedybears. But besides from that dolls
and tedybears are important, often it is the only member of the family
which a refugee child still has.

Travel and staying costs

Suncokret volunteers paid their own trip to Croatia and 200 Dm for
three weeks (used to pay for food and stay). We paid for working in
those camps since we didn't want that any money donanted to the
refugees was used for us.  In most countries however networks were
formed bringing people without money in contact with people with
money. And a lot of our volunters had organised their own fundraising
at home in order to pay. This last possibility I like the best, ask
your direct environment for support, involve them in your action. If
that isn't possible and you still like to come, but haven't a slidest
idea how to finance it, please contact us, there always most be a way.


The support account is not ready yet, so you have to wait till the
next update, but it is in the making.

Not only Macedonia and Albania

Why going to Albania and Macedonia, why not Greece (where already
thousand of refugees has arrived via the green borders), USA (where
20.000 refugees will be placed at an USA basis on Cuba), Bosnia (in
Bosnia (Sarajevo) not only refugees from Kosovo, but also from Sandjak
(a muslim area in Serbia) and still those from the Bosnian war
1992-1995), Turkey (We has big camps near to Bulgaria of 5.000 and
more refugees from Kosovo) or in my home country, where the first
Kosovo refugees already arrived. And why with Kosovo refugees, why not
with those from Bosnia, or from any other country for that matter. The
answer ofcourse why not, if somebody likes to organize it, please
don't hesitate. For the time being I concentrate my efforts on Albania
and Macedonia.

Contacts in Macedonia and Albania

Slowly the contacts are getting build up, in all countries there are
now establsihed contacts with people who will prepare the arrival of
the first pathfinder teams (still people needed). The pathfinders are
still needed since most of the contacts we have now downthere are
people who are working themselves already for organisations who are
understaffed facing the problems.

Some words from Vanja

My name appeared in Wam's messages as unother contact name..so I would
like to introduce myself and to write few words (pages?)....
Vanja Nikolic (31yrs), from Osijek, Croatia, living in Zagreb.Involved
peace/humrights activities within AntiwarCampaignNetworkCroatia since
1992. (Centre for peace Osijek, Direc protection for hum.rights
Volunteers project Pakrac, office of AntiwarCampaign Zagreb, Zamir-zg
bbs /ztn network,...and presently Centre for Peace Studies -
coordinator of the peace studies program in Zagreb).

I am tired of dealing with horror of war violence, and in past weeks
collecting the last atoms of energy to do something constructiv
connected with this horror in Serbia/Kosov@.
I am ready to support Wam's idea to start the Balkan's Sunflower (or
Sunflower2 - maybe would be good to find the albanian word for it?)
but, (for time being) only as much as I can do it out of here in
Zagreb. My present job  (alternative peace studies program -somthing
like civic/peace education for adults) keeps me in Zagreb. Also, there
is (without hiding it) the acceptance of my own human capacity, and
admitting it would be way too much to now quit everything I am doing
here and to immmediatly travell to Macedonia.

Grassroots initiatives like Wam's idea of starting the new Sunflower
Macedonia/Albania, I am allways ready to support. I did  work with Wam
severall years in Pakrac and in Zagreb and that's unother reason why I
immediatly signed up for helping out here (in my own capacity).
There are many ideas floating now arround. Many ideas for peace
marches and
caravans. Well, I ask everybody to think twice, or more times before
starting or getting involved in those caravanes. According to Cro and
BiH experienced it didn't do much good, and it was really tirering for
local activists....

Also, when intending to get involved in any initiative (now talking
about this Balkan Sunflowers) I ask you  give yourself a time to think
and question why are you doing it and what is your own motivation and
expectation. Working for few years in Int.volunteers project I am more
than sure that being clear and aware of your own motivation is of
extreeme importance. Also  the expectations...
1. you are not going to stop the war in few weeks
2. describe your own motivation without using the word "Help"...as it
self-understandible that most of people do want to help... (it is
important to find out whom do I help..to others, to myself, to human
race, to my own ego..)
3. do you run away from your own personal troubles in your own life,
by packing your bags and travelling to war-region?
4. do you dream of yourself as a heroo once you are back home?
5. do you think that you are more clever, educated and "civilised"
than those
people down on Balkans, so you plan to go down there and tell them
what to do?
6. did you practise conflict resolution and mediation so dream about
going there and doing the workshops on 9 steps on how to solve
7. do you see it as great adventorous "holliday" ......
8. do you think of it as a very good line in your c.v.
9. how your own action can be of benefit and how much it can harm
people in
10. do you have some your "on-side agenda".. to use this for campaign,
11. are you healthy and psychicly stable enough so once you come there
you can really be  "of help" and not a person who will suck the energy
of the team and local people....
12. are you ready to live for few weeks in chaotic, hard, cold
conditions...among the people who are  going trough horror, .....are
you ready for cultural shock, for not hearing your own language (for
not English speakers) for the all time you are there
13. are you raedy that maybe you are not going to be able to daily
communicate with your family, relatives and friends back at home
14. are you ready that you will come to the war-region and find out
that you
acctually do not have any clue what's going on..
15. are you aware of your own prejudices of people from different
cultures and different countries, and do you have a coping mechanism
to deal with it..........

There are so, so many questions for your to ask yourself before
applying to go there. And, be prepared that as much as you prepare
yourself, you are never going to be prepared :))
And, this list of questions...it is not with aim to stop you in
applying...it is more for you to think and be aware of it. Motivations
for activism differ from person to person...and it is ok, but the
worst is if you are not hiding your own motivations from even
yourself, or when you are not aware of your own motivations....
Why do I write this "black story".... I find it important, for the
sake of the project, of the people from region, for your own sake.
There is also this exellent, other positiv part of the story. Yes, it
is place to learn, to grow, to feel usefull and creative and
constructive. It is place to make friends, to do  and experience
something great. It can change your life attitudes and paths....This
positiv part I leave for Wam to write about. :))

and .....Of course I feel powerless when thinking how all this horror
could be stopped. And I am not kidding myself that I can stop it. And,
of course I do care for all the victims of the violence. And of course
I do believe that small steps, grassroots initiatives, even though
small are of extreeme importance....

with best wishes

from Wam 10 April 1999

Sorry, I can't help to write a personal note. For 7 years I wrote my
diary each day and I don't how many hunderdthausend were reading it
once and a while. A small note with other words. The 10th Juli I spend
in the Harz, in the middle of Germany in nice spring weather. I went
to the Harz not to see the beauty, although it was hard to oversee.
But to be present at the moment that two stones were place as
monuments remembering that at this places for 54 years ago people were
packed here in SS-camps to work on the realisation of the production
of the V1 and V2. In the Harz almost 50.000 died as KZ-prisoners in
the camp of Mittelbau-Dora and it¥s side camps. Werner von Braun the
technical leader of this operation is also known as god-father of the
weapons now used in Yugoslavia.

People who survived this hells on earth and the dead marches on the
end can in some way imagen what can be happening in the Balkan at this
moment. They just have to remember their own situation for 55 years
ago. Therefor I was impressed that these people call upon a stop of
the bombing in Yugoslavia and asked for new iniatives to solve wars
without weapons. And that they call upon the world to help the

The people who died in Mittelbau-Dora were mostly political prisoners,
among them only a small amount of jews, from whom a lot has been part
of the (armed) resistance against the NAZI regime. Therefor I really
was impressed that such people, who alreadly ones in their live took
up weapons asked now to find new peacefull ways to solve problems.
Mir Sada !!!


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