Hundreds march for peace in Vienna, honor global peacemakers
by Dr. Michael Schober, IPPNW-Austria
Several hundred people from many faiths, cultures and nationalities marched on 8 October in Vienna, Austria to honor the “Peace Heroes” of the past and present and to bring attention to the peace work of many people worldwide.
“In the media the interest in peace and the efforts to secure it – which many people work for – is much less represented,” said organizers from the Vienna Peace Museum. “The reports of crimes, war and demands for counter-measures and counter- violence dominate public discourse. This is very one-sided! “
That is why the Vienna Peace Museum, under the direction of Ms. Liska Blodgett, initiated this event, featuring signs of peace heroes such as Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Austria’s most famous peace activist Bertha von Suttner, and walked with marchers via the Ringstrasse to the university.
About 60 others were honored, such as the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum, a human rights activist who grew up during the Guatemalan Civil War, and Anne Frank, the Jewish German girl who emigrated to the Netherlands with her parents in 1934 to escape the persecution by the National Socialists and fell victim to the Holocaust just before the end of the war.
IPPNW-Austria President Dr. Klaus Renoldner addressed the crowd that assembled after the march in the Stephansplatz. He spoke about the dangers of nuclear weapons, the international efforts to ban the use of nuclear weapons and the role of doctors in conflict regions. Dr. Renoldner praised IPPNW’s founders, Soviet cardiologist Dr. Evgeny Chazov and his American colleague Dr. Bernard Lown, as two global Peace Heroes.
Above all, the following march across the Kärntnerstrasse attracted attention among the many passers-by who were able to view the posters with photos and the short biographies of the Peace Heroes.
Various workshops were held at the end of the event. IPPNW-Austria hosted a workshop on “War and Health” where Dr. Nadine Reiter, Dr. Renoldner and myself discussed with participants the subjects of small arms, disarmament initiatives and the global development of weaponry.
We also showed our poster exhibition “Small Arms Draw Large Circles.”