May 21 – A day for the world


A beekeeper fully involved in his task, a symbol inscribed on the skin, a child's song that you can hear from the valley, a road that winds and overlooks the shore, a stick placed on a bench, seeds being ground with a pestle and mortar... are the simple yet beautiful actions that will take place in the coming day. 

We will be able to follow the stories, eventually made of over 400 halts and episodes. Ephemeral stopovers, these stops carry a promise: succession. Yet the more we think about, the same thought comes to mind…. What if all these elements are all intertwined and linked? What if each story doesn’t come to halt but leads to the next? 

Take a moment and think about how the stick has been used to pace up and down the shore, and the beekeeper had stealthily diverted from his task as he heard a voice from the valley, and if the body in motion crushing the grains in the mortar hinted at a tattoo …? Through the ordinary magic of the world, many of these fragments that we thought were isolated, would suddenly enter into resonance with other fragments, opening to the most vital dialogue. That’s why we invite you today: May 21, to a long day chasing time zones. A day dedicated to cultural diversity and the link between them all... Let's go meet twelve vast territories, twelve moments and twelve words: peace, sign, people, belief, road, culture, speech, matter, space, learning, dream and time... Twelve acts of an unfinished journey towards others and towards oneself, discovering this fascinating intertwining that makes humanity. An inter-twinning so vast and as infinite as our stories... Happy 21st of May!

Acte 1 - Peace
Acte 2 - Symbols
Acte 3 - People
Acte 4 - Believing
Acte 5 - Journey
Acte 6 - Space
Acte 7 - Culture
Acte 8 - Speech
Acte 9 - Materials
Acte 10 - Learning
Acte 11 - Dreaming
Acte 12 - Time

ACTE 1 - Peace…

« Peace »: one of the most essential words

A word that sheds light on its noblest, most demanding side...
A word that bets on our mutual understanding...
A word too often brought back to its opposite’s
We'd almost end up forgetting it

Let's start this day
From this flagship word and its variations…
In the so-called "Pacific" Ocean ...

Named because of its leniency
Who would have accompanied Magellan's crossing in 1520?

An opportunity to question human sedimentation
And those who set up these island lands,
For millennia or more recent times…

From Tonga to Hawaii,
From Vanuatu to the Australian continent,
Welcome to this peaceful vastness …

ACTE 2 - Symbols…

There is such a force that crosses cultural diversity
Constituting the guarantee of its inexhaustible dialogue
A force of which we could count the resources
By the thousands, by the millions… and we could lose ourselves in it.

This force is inseparable from human history
It’s what unites us all
Due to the great diversity of "signs" marking out the cultural paths
And leading into our constant quest for meaning ...

Whether they are emblems, symbols, letters, ideograms,
Whether tattoos, logos or seals ...
Whether they are custodians of knowledge or doors to creativity,
What place do we give to familiar signs?

How can we welcome this constant flow?
And more importantly how do we value it? ….

From Ginza neon lights to Tang calligraphy,
Korean school notebooks to Mongolian temples,
Welcome to the forest of signs…

ACTE 3 - People…

How many human groups have existed on earth?
How many have been before us?
How many will come after us?

What major ethnic, political, religious, geographic, economic criteria make up this mosaic?
How was I born into it myself?
With what strength of attachment? 
And sometimes from what distance? ...

From Filipino rice fields to Indonesian volcanoes,
From Thai shores to Vietnamese cities,
Choose here to share the daily life of some peoples
To catch a glimpse of this brilliant mosaic...

ACT 4 – Believing…

Believing or not believing...
A story that takes on very personal aspects,
Referring to various forms of engagement, membership
Or, on the contrary, of removal, renunciation...

An equally collective story
One which drives the life of communities and societies,
Of their interrelations,
And sometimes clashes, alas…

A story that questions the nature of spirituality
And the path it offers, sometimes of peace, sometimes not...

From Sri Lankan processions to Pakistani Madrasa,
From Bangladeshi pilgrims to Indian Sadhus,
Let's stop to meet here and there the many faces of devotion ...
Without ever losing sight of the societies in which they are registered ...

ACT 5 – Journey…

It is said that two friends met in the souk of Samarkand…
Then they each went about their business
When one of them witnessed death.
Frightened by this sight,
He quickly went to join his partner 
To show the unfortunate encounter.

After which, he said that under such conditions,
He wouldn't stay a moment longer
Having decided to flee to Tashkent immediately
Where he would spend the night.
Then he reluctantly had to leave 

A moment later, it was the other’s turn to witness death.
Although he was not taken back 
He blamed death for terrorizing his partner.
To which death replied that they shouldn't worry
Because tonight, she would go to sleep in Tashkent…

As all the paths this story crosses
Let's go on roads, alleys, paths and lanes
That cross the vast Central Asia
To go beyond the Caucasus to Anatolia ...

An opportunity for stops and encounters…

ACT 6 – Space…

Further north,
Going from Siberia to Russian Europe,
Let's take the time to discover these northern spaces…

A world of tales and legends,
From ancient to modern beliefs,
A world of forests and ice…

A range of different environments that remind us
That different environments define our relationship to the world as to others ...
Is cultural diversity able to follow the different topics such as

The ecological challenges of our time?
Let's take this opportunity to question the means we have…

ACT 7 – Culture…

« Culture » is a word with such power and meaning  
A word not clearly defined
« Culture » encompasses an infinity number of practices and knowledge,
Memories and projects…

Often brought back to our heritage,
It’s passed down through generations,
Carrying out a commitment, a projection,
"An ideal to achieve" a poet said...

What ideal can cultural diversity achieve?
How does this ideal relate to me?

In a crossing of the Arabian Peninsula,
From the Persian Gulf to the shores of the Red Sea or the Mediterranean,
Let us share the living reality of our cultures, creative, committed….

ACT 8 – Speech…

Over 2000!
The number of languages spoken in the whole African continent,
More than 2,000 languages out of the 5,000 - 7,000 currently spoken around the world
Of which many of these languages are in great danger…

What would cultural diversity be without them?
Without their transmission, without their evolution?
Without the dozens of ways to transcribe them?

So from one territory to another,
And under the palaver tree,
In the griot boxes as on the digital screens,
Let us inhale the land of our ancestors that the language has multiplied from distant antiquity
And let us welcome the contemporary verb, carrying its values of renewal…

From Nigerian plurality to the Kalahari Desert,
From the Ethiopian plateau to the confines of the Atlas,
Let’s take the time and the pleasure to get lost…
Who knows, one or two ideas may come to us
So we can protect them better…

ACT 9 – Materials…

From amber to copper,
From ceramic to wood,
Let’s try and look at the greater diversity of materials?

Materials capable of recalling the spirit that transformed them
Materials telling the story they carry ...

As an introduction to others,
If they met European lands ...

From Iberian trails to Scandinavian fjords,
From Alpine peaks to the Aegean Islands,
Let's discover the traditions, know-hows
Inventiveness and creativity 
And the cultural diversity that crosses them…

ACT 10 – Learning…

There are so many ways to learn, teach and educate
And each one needs balance
Made of traditions and/or progress

Human history unfolds an unbroken tale of meaning
Associating respect for others and mutual listening,
Speech and silence,
Gesture and leadership ...

And far beyond this diversity,
Beyond the knowledge and skills acquired or to be acquired,
One question unites us:
Can education make for a more peaceful world?
Why does recognising cultural diversity play an essential role?

Crossing the Andean lands,
Crossing the Amazonian thickness,
Crossing the Caribbean,
Questioning this educational challenge ...

ACT 11 – Dreaming…

What are we dreaming of?
What would we like to dream of?
What do our dreams say about our achievements, and our future?
What can I learn from them?
Am I able to decipher the signs?

How important are dreams in daily life?
What influences do our cultures and heritage play?
How can I get a form of peace from it?

From dream catchers to shamans from the far north,
Wishes for a fulfilled and free life with psychedelic visions,
Let's go during this stopover in the whirlwind of our dreams …

ACT 12 – Time

Because in truth, how many thousands of other encounters
Stops, testimonies of this fascinating diversity
Are still to be discovered and talked about …

Here is the time to end this trip and conclude this day
Through all the stopovers
And the wanting to continue to multiply them

From the American plains to the Siberian lakes,
Amazonian rivers with Himalayan peaks,
From West African cities to Polynesian assemblies…
A final glimpse at our cultural diversity
A glimpse that refers to people and paths
From materials to beliefs,
Who merges into creating new symbols,
To the ultimate question of time…

What is the time for humanity?
How much time do I have?
What time can we share?
Thank you for sharing this May 21
And in the footprint it will leave …

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