People and their Ideas, for all Seasons
A Complexion Change
International & Intercultural Diplomacy
A tribute to
Chancellor Willy Brandt
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
President John F. Kennedy
President Barack Hussein Obama
The world often and perhaps always, finds itself in need of guiding lights
and principles which foster approaches to life and governance enabling and
possibly ennobling individuals and societies to develop and stabilize their
human and earthly resources.
An integral part of the philosophy of Fountainhead® Tanz Theatre, Black International Cinema Berlin, The Collegium - Forum & Television Program Berlin and Cultural Zephyr e.V. has been and continues to be an analysis of the interests and needs of individuals and societies in order to stimulate the creation of unifying themes, which are utilized for the purpose of developing a basis for mutual appreciation and hence cooperation, based upon interests in common, through the utilization of culture, art, publications, artistic presentations and media and as a means of offering and perhaps providing information and inspiration to the society in which we reside and elsewhere.
As sources of information and inspiration we have chosen Chancellor Willy Brandt, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., President John F. Kennedy and President Barack Hussein Obama and the ideas based upon their statements as beacons of light for our XXIV. Black International Cinema Berlin 2009.
Chancellor Willy Brandt was regarded as a peace chancellor for his contributions
to the world during the post war years.
His desire for reconciliation during 1970 in Poland, was demonstrated by signing the Warsaw treaty, which obliged the Federal Republic of Germany and Poland to maintain inviolate the existing borders and refrain from the use of force.
He was also instrumental in establishing good relations between the two German states and to forego the use of force between them. Another achievement of Willy Brandt was the signing of the Moscow treaty in August 1970, renouncing the use of force and the respect of post war borders with Leonid Breznev.
In addition, Mr. Brandt was invited by Robert McNamara, President of the World Bank to assume the chairmanship of the independent commission for international developmental issues, which became known as the North-South Commission and eventually the Brandt Report.
“To ensure survival - common interest of industrial and developing countries.” This is an issue which is still being addressed today, that “world wide disarmament could make available huge sums of money for the development of third world countries.” In addition to his many accomplishments, Chancellor Willy Brandt was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1971.
The 35th president of the USA provided a presence, which remains with Berlin
and the world and who described Willy Brandt in 1960 as “my friend”.
Brandt responded to this sentiment, by writing a book with his impressions of America’s young president entitled “Begegnungen mit Kennedy, Meetings with Kennedy”.
John F. Kennedy wished to remove the stigma of the Cold War from the US and USSR relationship and signaled his readiness to reach an understanding with the former USSR. “Henceforth we should respect existing borders and spheres of interest as the basis for the status quo. Progress toward German reunification should no longer be a pre-condition for east-west détente.”
Willy Brandt supported the policy of John F. Kennedy providing, “The Americans will not permit themselves to be expelled step by step from Berlin.”
Kennedy summarized the American interest in Berlin with three non-negotiable demands: Continuation of the American military presence, free access to West Berlin for the western allies and guaranties of self-determination for the West Berlin population and continued viability for the city.
The Berlin Wall began construction on August 13, 1961.
Eventually the response from John F. Kennedy was a visit to Berlin in June 1963, during Willy Brandt’s career as governing mayor and stated: “Ich bin ein Berliner.”
I am a Berliner, which underscored the United State’s support for the divided city of Berlin and the policies of Willy Brandt. John F. Kennedy became a serious contender for the 1960 democratic presidential nomination, as a result of the exposure garnered during the 1956 democratic convention.
An occasion to be replicated by another democratic Senator from Illinois, in July 2004.
Contributions from John F. Kennedy in domestic and international affairs were demonstrated in the area of civil rights, where he observed, the grand children of slaves freed by Lincoln, “are not yet freed from the bonds of injustice.”
Issues of foreign affairs included, the Bay of Pigs incident, missiles in Cuba, the Cuban missile crisis, the space project through NASA, peace corps, alliance for progress concerning Latin America, limited nuclear testing and the increasing US involvement in Vietnam.
The policies of John F. Kennedy were interrupted by his assassination and hence his legacy may be viewed, “as an unfinished life”.
During his freshman year at Morehouse College, Martin Luther King read Henry
David Thoreau’s Essay on “Civil Disobedience” and was intrigued by the concept
of refusing to cooperate with an evil system.
After reading books on the life and teachings of Mohandas Gandhi, Dr. King overcame his skepticism concerning the power of love and non-violence.
Some of the statements made by Dr. King provide an insight into the principles he utilized to guide his efforts on behalf of civil and human rights.
He merged the ideas of Gandhi and Christian theology. “Christ furnished the spirit and motivation while Gandhi furnished the method.”
He dismissed the use of violence as both “impractical and immoral” and endorsed nonviolent resistance as the only “morally and practically sound method open to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.”
“The non-violent resistor must often express their protest through non cooperation or boycotts, but they realize that non cooperation and boycotts are not ends themselves, they are merely means to awaken a sense of moral shame in the opponent. The end is redemption and reconciliation. The aftermath of non violence is the creation of the beloved community, while the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness.”
In the summer of 1941, A. Philip Randolph, founder of the brotherhood of sleeping car porters, called for a march on Washington to attract attention to the exclusion of the Black community from the economic opportunities of the war years. The threat of a hundred thousand marchers in Washington D.C. pushed President Franklin Roosevelt to issue executive order 8802, desegregating the defense industries and Randolph cancelled plans for the march in response.
On August 28, 1963, more than 200,000 demonstrators gathered at the Lincoln memorial to participate in the March on Washington for jobs and freedom. The march demonstrated to the nation the differences between the principles of American democracy and the every day experience of Black Americans and was successful in pressuring the Kennedy administration to commit to passing federal civil rights legislation. It was during this event that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech.
Dr. King’s chief aid Ralph Abernathy stated, “...We did not have to use violence to achieve the goals we were seeking.”
Dr. King was presented the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
During a speech in Chicago, Barack Obama stated, “What our troops deserve
is not just rhetoric, they deserve a new plan.”
We believe our new president is a hopeful and constructive work in progress, not only for the troops, but for the USA and the international community.
The ideas of the persons to whom we have paid tribute are a reflection of that statement. They provided new directions through their ideas, decisions and deeds.
In some cases the actions of the aforementioned individuals were less desirable than one might have wished, but the impetus for constructive change is what they sought and what we have sought since the founding of Fountainhead® Tanz Theatre in 1980 and the creation of Black International Cinema Berlin in 1986.
Our efforts like theirs, remain a work in progress, but here we stand, offering a combination of words and deeds.
Welcome to the
XXIV. Black International Cinema Berlin 2009.
Fountainhead® Tanz Theatre