The first Peace Poetry Festival opened up in the Artist Home with a poem by Behbahani in May 16, 2007. This festival started through the enterprise of Miss Rira Abbasi, author and poet, with no government support, and only with support of peace-loving poets since 2 years ago. Members of the jury were poets Javad Mojabi, Shams Langroodi and Eghbal Motazedi, as well as Mr. Ahmad Poori in the foreign section. The poems received were reviewed and seven of them reached the final stage. The selected poets of the peace poet festival are announced.
At first Miss Abbasi was invited to give an explanation about the procedure of the festival. First she sincerely spoke of her beloved dream: “For 2 years I’ve been privately talking to you, laughing, weeping as if I have seen all of you before. I enjoy the sent of peace in your homes. For 2 years I’ve been involved with poems from all over the world. It is a blessing that the literature of Iran and the world have the common tongue of peace. Now let me read you a poem and then share with you some points about this dear event which is my true dream.”
After reciting her poem concerning her experience in a refugee camp during the Iran - Iraq war. She met the warm applause of the audience. Then she gave a brief explanation with a short epigram from the poem:
If you were in your own dream
It would be no problem
You are dreaming the world’s awakening.
“I confess that I am childishly scared of wars and can bear no violence. I take refuge in peace, in poetry and in you. If I had set out on a bike to convey the message of peace I would be left alone against the brutality of war. Now the history of Iranian poetry beside the world’s poetry invites peace. When I feared the fall of humanity I realized that peace poetry is combined with human civilization and can rise powerfully against war and slogans of war. Like a lunatic in herself, I compared two apposite elements—bullets and poetry, their effects on the human life! Both pierce the person instantly, one takes the life, the other gives it. I consider peace poetry the eternal lover of freedom and justice if mans daily life is devoid of this concept, humanity will lose its validity for good. To battle oblivion and terror of the loss of human dignity we organized the first International Peace Poetry Festival with an empty hand, emptier than the palm of a hand, without any material or spiritual support from any organization and only with the help of dear friends and my patient family, as well as the precious help of translators and the jury that have been an honor to peace. I believed that in the land were all people are spectators everyone is guilty. Now I ask you all to rise a moment for the sake of peace and human dignity and applaud instead of remaining silent.
In order to encourage the dreams that we cherish and work for–be that the echo of our applause resounds around this troubled globe. Let us all rise and merrily applaud to show our protest against all wars and brutality.
The entire audience stood up, raised their hands and by clapping expressed their objection against war and brutality.
Then a poem by Japanese poet “Sat Gi to Ge” called “Prelude to Hiroshima Songs” was read. Then some live music was performed.
After that a speech was delivered by Dr. Javad Mojabi, who began with a verse by Hafez:
Thank God there is now peace between she and I
Angels drank up dancing from the cheerful glass
Then Mr. Mojabi continued: “the cheerful glass must have been quite intoxicating and indeed the reward of peace. I guess power and conquest are common affairs among humans and animals—it is not so human but always with men, dimming the human world. History shows that violence is a strong human instinct causing war and insecurity, peace has always been a short pause between long wars. Ritsos says in one of his poems: we are weary of harshness and loud words—it is now time to speak softly and gently.”
This is the wish of all thinkers who wish to regulate their intercultural relationships with other peoples. We are within our own borders, our own vanities and preconceptions, framed in our own prejudice. This frame makes us deny others, who in turn defy us. Hence end less wars. But where is peace? It is usually out of reach. The media tell tales of violence. The same with our movies and video games we offer our children. In fact we make our innocent kids into future soldiers: live and let die – kill and survive. This malady can be treated only by a context of peace, which is naturally freedom, democracy and progress. Politicians often speak of peace but act for war. It is philosophers, artists and scientists who really work for peace. Specially in the field of literature peace has always been a fundamental thing. Art is the language of peace; poetry is the language of peace. Peace is a beautiful art that remains an aspiration for writers and artists. Iranian poetry has always contemplated peace. We have always shown to be a peace-loving nation, preferring life to death. I wish one day mothers will feed their children under the sun of peace, over the grass of liberty and the kids grow up free of violence and vanity.
Dr.Mojabi’s speech ended amid the warm applause of the audience. Then Mr. Eghbal Motazedi, member of the jury, was invited to read the Festival’s statement:
I greet and welcome all of you dear participants-
Misty warriors return
With broken shields and spears among graves
Their boots fall on bronze and steel and bones
And you wash my wounds
With the downpour of tears
The following text is adapted from two books, Love, Poetry, Wisdom by Edgar Moren and Utopia by Fredrick Revion :
The notation of man as an intelligent and logical is not so rational. Man is mad too. Intense impulses and sudden changes of moods are seen in him An endless source of disturbance, he regards bleeding sacrifices a pious acts. But the same madness may be the source of much imagination and creativity , Love and peace and poetry. We need to stop evil and foolish things in a mad man. We need wisdom- the wisdom of poetry invites our mind to a fine landscape away from the fire within, the destructive fire of war. The poet of peace is a singer in love with a deep and boundless interest in the great human society.
The program continued with regarding of poems and messages from different poets from around the globe. One message came from Peter Jones from Wales, who said: " You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one," outing John Lennon.
English: Saeed Saeedpoor