*“I am investing all my savings in this decision to be part of the team that marks the start of the first global march for Peace and Nonviolence in New Zealand on the 2nd of October.”*
Miguel, or Micky, as his nearest and dearest call him, is the only Chilean making up the team of around 40 people who will do the full of the March and will act in the role of institutional liaison on the way. *“I only knew about this initiative from my friend Rafael de la Rubia, when he came to Chile last year. I told him that I was willing to accompany him on the journey. Four months ago, he formally invited me to form part of the team and to support in the function of public relations with various authorities, organisations of all levels, pacifist movements and groups, artists and public figures who we know will be welcoming us in each country and city through which the march passes.”*
The other Latin Americans who will join the entourage are; a representative from the government of Costa Rica, who, according to Micky, *”will give a lot of support to the March’s demands since Costa Rica is an example of a nation which has renounced having an army”*; reporters from the Colombian television station Caracol who will cover the whole event as they March the same as everyone else, and a Brazilian humanist.
*“We have worked throughout the year in order to keep adding allegiances and support to this March which today has hundreds of thousands of adherents in around 130 countries. There are presidents such as Rafael Correa, Evo Morales, Tabaré Vásquez and, first among them all, which makes me really proud, the President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet. All the main churches across the world and many others, as well as civic, sporting, cultural, ethnic and political organisations of all shapes and colours are also present. The door is open to everyone since this March does not belong to its organisers but it is a demonstration of peace for all humanity”.*
In each one of the countries, Micky explains, the team of marchers will have the support of the organisations which have been joining it. According to him, a lot of internal transportation, accommodation and official receptions form part of the enthusiastic support that governments and people will offer the entourage in each country.
*“At one point I was concerned thinking about how to carry a bag with clothes for every climate on the planet”*, he says. *“But when I found out about all the worldwide support and mobilisation which has been built around the march, I stopped worrying. There are places where they will have bicycles for all of us on the team and others where they have invited us to ride for peace.”*
Regarding the places, Micky explains that some have great significance, like the demilitarized zone known as “The Two Koreas” or the concert they will attend when the March passes through the Middle East. This is a concert which will take place for those attending who will listen to it from both sides of the wall that today separates the people of Israel and Palestine, and will be conducted by Daniel Barenboim, the acclaimed Jewish-Argentinian musician.
The central objective of the march is to create awareness of the need for us to live in peace on our planet. *“I know that with this March we are not going to stop the numerous wars and conflicts that claim human lives everywhere.”* he says. *“But what else is more important than giving it a try? Because just imagine, war does not only kill people,” he adds forcefully. “But also the weapons, their use and their production, are killing the planet. The march will also help to communicate that the same violent logic, that of business, applies to environmental issues. I have been asked, since I am involved in this march, to support the cause of environmental protection by buying carbon credits to avoid overproduction of greenhouse gases. I prefer to invest money in this March which will help to change the human mindset and conduct in the face of violence! This makes much more sense to me”*, he asserts.
It also seems that hundreds of people in different countries think likewise: on the World March’s website, they have bought kilometres to sustain this team beginning a pilgrimage on the 2nd of October of 160,000 km in length and lasting 90 days.
*“I would have liked it very much if other Chileans were going with me or to have been able to go with my family, but I am consoled with the idea that the March will finish in Chile”*, Micky adds. *”On 27 December we will be entering through Arica; on 30 December the whole team will be in Santiago for the concert that will take place in Parque O’Higgins and from there, on the following day, we know that some 20,000 Chileans will begin to cross the mountains towards Mount Aconcagua, where we shall finish this round-the-world trip which, at the same time, will be a turning of the page in human history”.*
Translation: Rhona Desmond