We define culture as the manifestation of human intellectual achievement produced by a particular group at a particular time. This expression of our knowledge defines us as human beings and gives us the possibility to approach this world with a better understanding of how our existence works, of the people who form it, of the dynamics which drive it. The gift of culture defines our level of human consciousness as citizens and allows ous to chose with a higher level of critical judgment.
In this sense culture allows us to position everyone in his unique context and helps us understand that every personal experience is part of a shared human experience.
The aim of this project is to share the stories of those young citizens of our community who have lived through war, ethnic cleansing, escape and exile. Young members of our society today who have acquired Swiss citizenship as well as those who have not acquired citizenship, yet are unrecognisable as exiles, so well have they integrated.

This precise cultural goal translates into concrete communication; it shows that war is not only physical but it continues on psychologically even outside its tangible borders, declined here and there from time to time depending on the personal historical moment. Sometimes fiercer, sometimes less. However it stays present in those people who have lived through war, for the rest of their lives. This inaudibile violence can’t just hide or vanish: it must be re-worked. The metaphor of the tree tells that it isn’t easy to transplant what has already grown up. Great concern must be given so as to not hurt its roots; it must be transported with care and a place must be found where it can be replanted, if possible with a little of the same earth from where it came. Then one must wait until its roots start growing again, happy to be in a new place. Time is fundamental, but sometimes time can is not enough.


Scars

Since the beginning of the twentieth century the Balcans have been stigmatized as Europe’s powder keg; conflict and violence in our continent have been ativistically attributed to the Slavic populations.
During the Jugoslavian conflict in the 90s, European media and politics managed to depict the event as an outcome of the natural behaviour of the Slavic people. This kind of stigmatisation was then interiorized by the people involved, with terrible consequences.
The refugees who were scattered around Europe lived through very difficult challenges and their growth and ways to renew their lives were (and still are) often prevented by prejudice towards them. To be convinced that people coming from the Balcans are naturally irritable and defensive is an idea rooted in people who are far from being racists; it is as if they think that the historical facts which hit the region are evidence of some sort of presence of a predominant genetical character inclined towards violence.

By listening and giving voice to these refugees, exiles, and new Swiss citzens,the project would like to contribute to the eradication of this racial prejudice. We are convinced that bringing attention to the story of another human being is the first step towards mutual comprehension. On one side, who tells his or her story will feel him or herself more welcomed. On the other, who listens will feel empathy.

Understanding how this violence took everybody by surprise and empathizing with the reactions of those who suffered and with the choices they made, will contribute towards demolishing the pernicious walls of indifference and ignorance.