The Speech of Munir Mezyed at the Opening Ceremony of Odyssey International Festival
As salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh
This is how we as Muslims greet each other and others. It means Peace be upon you as well as the mercy and blessings of God. Therefore, the message that I would like to convey from this greeting is that we should motivate and encourage one another to be committed in the matter of peace in order to attain to the mercy and blessings of God.
We have to acknowledge that the 20th century was one of the most troubled in human history. It was dominated by wars, conflicts and severe ideological struggles, witnessing the emergence of “total wars,” such as World War I and World War II. Consequently, the 20th century was plagued by what contemporary scholars are calling “Generic Fascism.”
At the End of the 20th century and the beginning of the new one, the world is witnessing the growth of radicalization and violence in many parts of the world. The consequence of these incidents of mass violence was terrifying, which led some political scientists, like Samuel Huntington, to believe that people’s cultural and religious identities will be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War world. He argued that future wars would be fought not between countries, but between cultures.
Indeed, Culture is a widely discussed among anthropologists because it plays a particularly important role in human life and in creating and shaping the public opinion and strengthening society. It is absolutely a very broad term that encompasses our religious beliefs, traditions and customs, arts and music, cuisine and folk costumes, language and literature. Therefore it is the reflection of our beliefs, our thoughts and deeds, our goals and ambitions, and our way of thinking and living.
Consequently we can understand that Culture provides important social and economic benefits, enhances our quality of life and increases awareness and our consciousness level. Therefore, when we discus the theory of “Clash Civilization”, then we have to think carefully of what kind of culture we would like to promote.
I earnestly believe culture that serves any political interests or any ideological movement is racialist, since its main role is to serve only the people and their interests, no matter of what their religious affiliation, the color of their skin, and their gender. But the most important thing is that it should elevate people’s conscience, awareness and their ethical standards, liberating them from all forms of tyranny and oppression, including the tyranny of political or religious manipulation. Simply, politicizing culture would kill its spirit and its role in spiritual and moral development and would turn it into a weapon of control and manipulation.
The great Romanian historian and writer, Nicolae Iorga, said, “if you write for a certain group of people, you will be appreciated and read by them but when you write what you feel and think, you are writing for all the people.”
Sadly the extremists and fanatics misrepresented the concepts of our human civilization when they resorted to violence and terrorism as means to justify their evil deeds. In fact they are dragging the world into wars that might lead to the annihilation of human life. Bear in mind that terrorism has no racial or ideological color nor religion or sect. Indeed it poses a threat to all of us and could result in human extinction besides contributing in holding nations from progressing and ruining all its cultural assets.
Starting from this, it was imperative to find a means to open the door for dialogue and bringing different cultures together for the sake of reaching common agreement and building up stronger and more extensive friendships between nations. And from the womb of that noble human idea “Munir Mezyed Foundation for Arts & culture” is begotten to be an international cultural edifice that serves culture and reinforces its role in human development and building bridges of communication between civilizations as well as the umbrella under which all world creative writers and intellectuals convene to unite the human family and achieve its aspirations for freedom, security, stability and prosperity.
“Munir Mezyed Foundation for Arts & Culture“ is an international foundation headquartered in Romania aiming basically at spreading cultural artistic and literary awareness in the entire world and calls for gathering human family around the reinforcement of the concepts of peace, prosperity, security, and national unity besides endeavouring to create a bridge of communication within the beautiful human world, and takes charge of dedicating all its efforts to supporting creative people in this world , defending them and protecting their dignity and their freedom to speech without any distinction or discrimination on the ground of gender, race, religious beliefs or political stance.
It is a foundation that relies on culture as a civilized approach through which entities unite for the sake of bringing the world together around the orchid of hope, prosperity and love through it adopting an important and urgent cause that can defend rights and giving media bigger spaces to talk about problems , ambitions and sufferings of people.
A foundation which is interested in the role of human development in taming hurdles, breaking obstacles and paving the paths towards a world believing in human extensive answer capable of changing the world and uniting it through cultural awareness and understanding, and opening glory paths for humanity, love, peace, security and prosperity.
A foundation that takes good care of literature and writers from start to the end by translating their works into various languages, documenting their production, encouraging and motivating them by organizing contests in all world countries holding seminars , releasing periodical magazines, releasing their works, publishing them in paper and electronically ,preparing critical studies on them in a good beautiful developed way keeping update with the age of informatics and the new world aspiring for more wide spaces of unique beauty ,magic and proceeding towards heavens of impressiveness and enjoyment .
A foundation that launches from Romania towards the entire world and then it is necessary to spread the concepts and ideologies of Romanian long- standing thinking, literature, sciences and translate for the world and create a bridge for communication between Romanian culture and those of all world and for the openness of nations to support culture to correct all world noble concepts with which the world becomes united linked and the culture becomes as one of the forms of unity and humanity an instrumental factor in interpreting the events around which the entire world would convene.
With culture, literature and arts, It will make the entire world one family, the language of which is magic, thinking is its dream and its token is the long-standing cultural glory from which we derive our steps to keep updated with skies of surprise and achieve the dream of people aspiring for human unity and along the path of culture, science, literature and arts we convene and through which we plant the seeds of love in the orchid of hearts fond of loving.
He who flips through history books , finds that there are many attempts to unite the world but they are all doomed to failure because of keeping away from human causes and the culture of the other.
If we go back and read history book, we will notice that Military attempts were carried out in order to occupy the lands of others and annexing them but they failed before the determination of people to liberation.
Then came the communist idea that was striving to unite the world through an ideology characterised with being exclusive and rejecting the cultures and religions of people and insisting on imposing itself on others which led to its fall down. From then on other thoughts started to launch from Europe about uniting it in terms of economy and here is Europe as we see divided against itself because it could not do so through economic ideas without understanding the philosophy of the distinct culture of those nations that’s why Europe realized its great importance in fulfilling its quest for European unity and thus starting to define the concept of human culture freely and without any restraint because liberating culture is therefore liberation of human reason and mind and releasing him from the idea of fanaticism and extremism because fanaticism and extremism were the inevitable outcomes of the rise of terrorism in the world.
Therefore the Mission of Munir Mezyed Foundation for arts & Culture is to unite the Human Family through promoting intercultural and inter religious dialogue among the peoples and encouraging cultural pluralism at all levels.
President of Munir Mezyed Foundation for Arts & Culture
Craiova, September 24, 2019.