I’m looking at the clouds over Russia.
Aeroflot is carrying us on a long flight towards Europe.
In other words, we’ve finished Asia.
Curious, now the first stage is fulfilled, completed, it seems very strange, incredible.
Things are definitely going better than foreseen; the truth is that it started in New Zealand with several fears, with many questions, regarding myself, the team and what we were to do in each place.
We have been with the World March in 9 countries (me in 7, as I wasn’t in Japan or in Malaysia where people from the Philippines went). And in every place we have been so well received, welcomed with a register of expectation that we solve so many problems that the people of each place register as “fundamental”.
I’ve given several speeches in Korea, and I’ve said that we don’t bring the solutions but yes we can share with them a spirit, a dream to build a more human world. And people are moved, they feel that we are bringing new and fresh air.
We remain gratefully surprised with these sensations that our passage is provoking. It’s as if the groups of activists, the pacifists were worn out and that on seeing us full of energy and positive images for the future, they are infected, awakened, like they wake up the best of their own experiences.
Every country has been different, in every one we have experienced unique things, in each place the people who received us have been different. We’ve even been to places like Bangladesh and Nepal or Amritsar in the North of India, children have stopped in the street to look at these strange pale-faces, women have approached us to shake our hands and go away laughing as if greeting a Martian. You’d have thought that this wouldn’t be so in the hyper-communicating world of today, nevertheless they stopped to look (was it my hair?) And we have found ways to communicate with people, sometimes with simple smiles, sometimes with gestures, showing a badge of the March or with words that many times we wonder if they understand them as we would (the mixture of languages is one permanent reminder of the Tower of Babel, people trying to say things and not knowing what the other understands). In India and Nepal they were shocked when we proposed to shout: Peace, Force and Joy. They asked us, “why Force?” In English, “Force” is a very hard word; we should say “Strength” which is understood more as an inner force, so we had to explain it.
The organisation teams in every place have been a blessing. Although many times the conditions have been complicated, difficult, they are people who have given everything so that these days during which the team is in their country are days of maximum activity and publicity. Of course, we have been in communal rooms, in places almost without bathrooms (one shower for everyone) without basins or paper because in India, in the Gandhi style communities they don’t use them, in Buddhist Temples, in Maori Maraes. We have eaten the unimaginable; perhaps someone with the capability should write a book just with the external anecdotes of the journey. It would be fascinating. In Korea some of us could eat no more of the Korean food and we escaped to look with unimaginable eagerness for a Burger King or something similar (we never dreamed that we’d be eager for a Hamburger or fries), the worst is that we couldn’t find one and ended up in a Kentucky Fried Chicken eating super-spicy chicken.
Another book will have to be written about the different ceremonies of all kinds to which we have been invited. Maori, Moriori, Australian Aborigine, interruptions in events in Bangladesh so that people can make their prayers facing Mecca, Hindu Pujas in Kathmandu, several ceremonies in India, including the Sikhs in Amritsar and a lot of Zen Buddhism in Korea, ending this morning with a special meditation for the March team, with Koans too: the path has no beginning and no end, so where am I going?
Rafa asked us to make a synthesis of Asia. These are only random thoughts, but maybe they fulfil the function of this synthesis a bit.
I share it with you all to whom I feel closer than you imagine.
I’m looking at the clouds over Russia.