JAKARTA - To mark International Day of Peace 2016, the Wahid Foundation is helping to organise a series of arts and cultural events that lays a heavy emphasis to the participation of local communities in conveying the message of peace.
On September 30, 2016, the Wahid Foundation helped villagers in Serut, a hamlet in Yogyakarta’s Bantul district, to mark International Day of Peace 2016 by holding the “Gebyar Kampung Semanak” (village brotherhood festival) that featured arts and cultural performances and a festive parade.
The Foundation is also helping to organize the Centhini Gunung; Festival Alami Pluralisme Imajiner Perempuan, (Mountain Centhini: a Natural Festival of Women’s Imaginary Pluralism), to be held a the foot of the Andong Mountain in Central Java’s Magelang district, on October 6, 2016.
In this event, also being held to mark International Day of Peace 2016, the Wahid Foundation is collaborating with Komunitas Lima Gunung (the Five Mountain Community), an arts and culture community involving villagers from a region surrounded by five mountains in Magelang.
Hundreds of artists, cultural experts and observers, and peace activists will converge to the Matran Wetan hamlet of Girirejo, in Magelang’s Ngablak subdistrict and join local villagers in festivities to mark the day. A theatrical performance will be the highlight of the Centhini Gunung festival.
Wahid Foundation Director Yenny Wahid, said that unlike past International Day of Peace commemorations, this year saw an emphasis on local participation.
“In previous years we involved leading artists from Jakarta but this year, we are inviting the participation of villagers. Using this momentum, let us all make villages as the frontline in efforts to voice peace,” Yenny said during the celebration in Serut.
“Let us voice peace. Starting from here, starting from Serut. For Peace in Indonesia, for peace in the world,” Yenny said, adding that the celebrations are expected to help spread the message of peace in a world where violence and conflicts are on the rise.
“We want that, for at least one day, men stop fighting against each other,” said the daughter of late President KH Abdurrahman Wahid. One day without conflict, she said, would allow war victims to obtain the treatment and care they urgently need, and for food and medical relief to reach the victims.
Agustina, from the organizing committee in Serut, said that participation by village communities was key to the success of the event. She said that several communities took part in the celebration but added that “it is the participation of villagers that made this International World Peace celebration special.”
Yenny aired hopes that both communal events can become the small ripples that will later lead to the big wave which would bring an end to conflicts in Indonesia and anywhere else in the world.
“We want to get everyone to use the medium of arts to spread peace. Why arts? because it is the mightiest weapon. Arts does not make people on the defensive and therefore they can be more susceptible to understanding the meaning, and to accepting the messages, of peace.”