Europe and the Mediterranean. Talking, Learning, Working, and Living Together 4

Europe Bottom-Up Nr.18 | A Conference in Heraklion/Crete, Greece 24th to 27th April, 2017, Conference Papers (Part 2) 

Remember for the Future – The Mediterranean as a Memory Space

by Ferdinand Richard1

Bearing in mind that we are in Greece, I would like to put my thoughts under the auspices of two Greek words, “politiki”, which means politics, and “politismos”, which means civilisation. I find this semantic similarity a good frame for my intervention.

Our very rich debates over the last two days have provided me with some valid starting points.

Let me point out a few of them:

  1. We are facing nothing less than the reinvention of a shared political space by refusing the dictatorship of nationalisms.
  2. We realize that the core clash in politics nowadays, not only in the Mediterranean area, but all over the world, is about falsifying history.
  3. We must consider extended time, refuse to be dictated to by immediate urges, and search for long term multiple level solutions. This part of the world bears ample witness to the fact that quick solutions today may well result in long-lasting problems in the future.
  4. We acknowledge that the notion of a common ground is large, transversal, holistic, and flexible. It entails a constant up-hill battle.
  5. We are concerned with multiple spaces overlapping each other, and not always fitting the classic diplomatic neo-colonial approach of the so-called Mediterranean space.

1. Ferdinand Richard is the current president of the Roberto Cimetta Fund and attended the conference in this capacity. The Roberto Cimetta Fund is a civil society initiative, launched by arts and culture professionals more than 10 years ago, in order to support the mobility of artists and cultural activists between Europe, the Arab world and the Middle East. The members of its board and panel of experts come from the all parts of this area. The Fund has awarded more than 1500 travel grants over a 10-year period. In the past two years, a second programme, called Tamteen, has provided financial support to sustain 20 local teams of artists in the Arab World and the Middle East (including Yemen, Iraq, etc.). The Fund’s latest programme, Fil Manfa, aims at supporting three shelters/co-working spaces for approx. 40 artists/cultural operators in exile, in the neighbourghood of conflicts (Kurdistan, Beirut, Istanbul).