(DIRE) Bologna, 25 May [2023]. – “It is time for mediation, nuclear disarmament, and positive peace”. After the conference that a few weeks ago re-launched the request for a Ministry of Peace in Bologna – in view of 2 June seen as “Republic Day which repudiates war”, the pacifists are meeting again and this time there is also Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, archbishop of the city, president of the CEI and appointed by the Pope as a mediator for the conflict in Ukraine.

A round table discussion will be held tomorrow [May 26 2023] afternoon at Palazzo d’Accursio, sponsored by the City Council, of the “artisans of Peace” as Pope Francis calls them. It will give “space for reflections on the state of the crisis in Ukraine from the geopolitical-military point of view; on the role of politics: missed opportunities and perspectives; on the role of city communities with respect to the rearmament crisis, the nuclear threat, the call for disarmament.” And, the organizers go on to say, “we will talk about positive peace: which is not ‘absence of war’ but is the construction of political ‘architectures’ and institutions for peace: from the Ministry of Peace to the Peace Councils and Councils to foster in every urban community active policy of peace education, nonviolent conflict management, urban mediation and reconciliation, restorative justice, nonviolent civil defense, disarmament, human rights protection, interreligious dialogue.”

In addition to Zuppi, speakers will include Marco Tarquinio (Avvenire), Paolo Ciani (Demos), Francesco Vignarca (Peace and Disarmament Network), Laila Simoncelli (Peace Ministry Campaign), university professors Pier Giorgio Ardeni (Political Economy) and Bernardo Venturi (co-founder of the Peacebuilding Agency), [as well as] Stefano Ramazza who followed, with Beatrice Draghetti, president of the Province of Bologna, the provincial Peace Table.

“It is no longer the time,” says Alberto Zucchero, of the Portico della Pace (Peace porch) in Bologna, which is organizing the event in collaboration with the Europe for Peace city committee, “for ritual street demonstrations or empty proclamations. Politics speaks with the acts and decisions it makes. And so we are asking those who govern our cities for a kick and an updated political reading to such a dramatic today.”

Especially in Bologna, “a European reference in the history of anti-fascism, the labor movement, and the social and political left. But also the city of Lercaro, Dossetti, and today of Zuppi, mediator for Pope Francis in Ukraine.” Not only that: Zucchero recalls that Bologna, on May 25, 1962, saw 30,000 people parade for the peace march, “in the midst of the Cold War and a whisker away from the nuclear disaster that came close with the Cuban missile crisis. Those were the days of Mayor Dozza and Councilor Tarozzi, in close contact with Aldo Capitini and Pietro Pinna, the fathers of the nonviolent movement in Italy… Well, inspired also by the late Enrico Berlinguer we dare to say, ‘Peace first'”, but also quote Pd secretary Elly Schlein who in Bologna, on the eve of the primaries, said, “There is no left without peacebuilding, here in our communities as in the theaters of conflict.”

In Bologna, in February, the Peace Porch asked Mayor Matteo Lepore for the creation of a city Peace Council, an aldermanic delegation to Peace, and the signing of the World Cities Appeal in support of the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of nuclear weapons. “It is time for Bologna to return to being a leading city if it really wants to be ‘the most progressive City in Italy,'” concludes the Peace Porch.