The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association participated in Germany’s international Kirchentag alongside Barack Obama and Angela Merkel.
Kirchentag 2017 is a series of panel discussions, concerts and film screenings, all concerned with human rights, tolerance and intercultural dialogue, organized by the German Evangelical Church in Berlin and Potsdam from 24th to 28th May. The speakers at this year’s event included, among others, the former president of the USA Barack Obama, the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, the Israeli writer Amos Oz, and the Islamic feminist from Malaysia Rozana Isa.
A co-founder of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association, Rafal Pankowski, participated in the panel discussion about hate speech, which took place as part of Kirchentag in the plenary session hall of the regional parliament of Brandenburg on 26th May. The discussion was illustrated by a theatre performance dealing with xenophobia and stereotypes. Victims of intolerance were commemorated by a minute of silence. Other participants in the panel included Michal Bilewicz from the University of Warsaw, Magdalena Kicinska from Poland’s main daily ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’, Philipp Fritz from ‘Berliner Zeitung’ and Florian Kellermann from Deutschlandradio.
Rafal Pankowski invited the audience to participate in the next edition of ‘Polish Woodstock’, Europe’s biggest music festival, which takes place near the Polish-German border, where the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association organizes its annual football tournament under the motto: ‘Let’s kick racism out of the stadiums’. – ‘This is a manifestation of the existence of a tolerant and open Poland’ – said the representative of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association, and his speech was interrupted by applause.
– ‘We face a common challenge to create a positive vision, solidarity over national and religious divisions’ – said Rafal Pankowski.
This year’s Kirchentag was organized as part of celebrations to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation initiated by Martin Luther. The panel in which both Barack Obama and Angela Merkel participated was met with special attention as the first European public appearance of the former President since last year’s election in the United States.
The ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association is an anti-racist educational and monitoring organization established in Poland in 1996.