Thursday, May 14 at 23:59

Retrospective ... the seventh day

All of our ISWIcipants got up early after a long part at the a-MAZE-in' Human Rights yesterday night.

The Thuringia Day led them to Erfurt, Weimar, Eisenach and the Kickelhahn.

Before taking off, the documentation group handed out the second issue of the ISWI-newspaper.

In the evening, the movie "I am Sam" led to a lively discussion at the Audimax. Read more

A Tribute To The ISWI

We made jokes about it, we spread rumors and we filled our lazy breaks with imagining them. And then we actually found them: ISWI-Children!
Well, to be honest, we only found one and to tell the truth it is, by definition, not a real ISWI-Child. An ISWI-Child would have been conceived at ISWI. But as the parents of this sweet little child met at ISWI eight years ago and then nearly instantly decided to stay together, this is a story worth telling.

He was a German, She was a Mexican. “I first saw her at the international brunch, performing a polka on the stage. Next time I met her by incident in the club, we had a great conversation and, yes”, he smiles, “That's it.” At the end of the week they decided to spend more time together and went on holiday to Madrid, for two and a half months! Two years later they were married and another four years later, their little girl was born – an ISWI-Child.

So that's love that overcame distance, culture and language. If it comes to love, all that doesn't matter any longer. Read more

Overcoming Fears

Today I learned a lesson, that I'll never forget again. In the course of the day I lost my faith into the underlying good in every human being and then got it back. I went desperate and then was fulfilled with happiness again. And this is my story:

At the Workshop-Day I did the kind-of-reception job and was responsible for all the technical stuff. We did offer some laptops for the workshops but there was a clearly made instruction: ONLY give laptops to group-leaders! So everything went well, everybody got what he wanted, everyone was happy until that guy appeared. He asked for internet-access and I, in my overall state of confusion and lack of sleep, handed him a laptop out. He left me his ID in return. No problem, right?

The drama began about one hour later, when we started to clean up and packed all the stuff. The last workshops ended and the guy didn't appear again to bring the laptop back. I got slightly concerned now, if I did the right thing by handing out the laptop or if it would have been better to keep it at the desk. I mean, what value does a plastic yellow ID-Card have compared to a laptop? What if he just ran away? Half an hour later I was really nervous if I'd ever see the laptop again and started asking people if they know the guy. I began to get angry about my own naivety to believe that people are basically honest and really just loan such valuable things as laptops.

At this point nearly everybody else was already gone, except me and that empty bag. When I then talked to the organization-team and they got mad at me and were moaning about the missing (“lost”) laptop, I really really went desperate and was somehow convinced that this guy decided to keep the laptop.

So can you imagine my face when he appeared about two minutes later? This wonderful participant was self-consciously smiling at me and apologized for letting me wait for so long. I felt so relieved! Not only because I had the laptop back, but also because all those ungracious thoughts about the missing trustworthiness of foreigners proved to be wrong! I got my faith back.

And so I'll carry on believing in the underlaying good in every human being. Because that is, in my opinion the first step to overcome fear, hate and prejudices: TRUST. Read more

Intercultural communication and the understanding of others

After a burning discussion about the Israeli –Palestinian conflict, Ahmed EL Garhy from Egypt ran a soft discussion about intercultural communication and accepting others to help getting people back to ISWI’s mode
A documentary under the name” Whose song is that” was played afterwards and the audience liked it very much, as it simply showed people’s perceptions towards other cultures.
Participants also had the chance to give a brief overview of how can cultural influence affect the relationship between people specially if they have different cultural backgrounds.
Mido, Egypt Read more

The Times they are a-MAZE-in'

“Ich bin frei”. That is the first article stating probably the starring v.i.p - human right. Surely the most demanding event of this year’s ISWI was the amazing Human Rights Labirint built in only two days. At first designed for open air, later on adjusted to the Ilmenau weather and brought inside the Ice Rink, the maze complies handcraft, painting, drama, broadcasting, roleplaying and many more, meant to give an insight on the effects of the Human Rights violations.
At 9.05, the doors were open to the people. And right from the start, I had the feeling of guilt or of committing a crime, as we were greeted by some strict security that checked our bag and backpacks.
The suspended cameras augmented the feeling of supervision and high level security, as you got more and more confused about the no sign entries and swirling corridors. Throughout the whole maze-journey one could express his opinion towards the violations of human rights, whether it was by voting, drawing, writing or simply making a choice. Or at least that’s what I thought until I got “arrested” for taking notes and not speaking German. What a wrong feeling, that of deprivation, in any way.
Like in everyday life, the situational absurd was put in the limelight by the irrationally suspected objects: a pack of garlic with the title of a flower, a pear which was actually an apple, some feathers called stones.
You could not guess many opinions, that is why I asked some visitors about their opinion. Thomas(Germany) really enjoyed the chaos buzzing around and inside the maze and his favourite part was the mirror which said “suspected terrorist”; he would have liked a bit more pictures, but the overall impression was a positive one, especially that he finds the concert idea and organisation really good. Amr(Egypt) enjoyed quite a lot the idea and the set up of the TV show inside the maze, as well as the “mine fields” with the skeleton and the hanging rope. Rares(Romania) thinks the coffee trade wheel was one of the best set ups, together with the minefield lockers. He also has a message for the organisers: “Ohne Tasche, ohne Competition!”.
People hazed in every direction. Closing walls, fake exits, wrong corridors. In a way, having the iswicipants enter the maze was an act of art itself. With all of us exploring the space at the same time, the crowd movements themselves became the solution to the puzzle – so that, as a group, each of us helped to guide all of us through this maze of human co-existence. Read more

What you could do today

Good morning, Ilmenau!
Our seventh day shows the beauty of Thuringia:

08:00 - Thuringia day (train station)
21:00 - movie night + discussion: "I am Sam" Read more

The interviews with the bands at the Open Air

Kafkas are against traditional approaches, as well as borders between
different kinds of music and so they like to mix different music styles. The rock
band added some electronic music to their last album. In their songs
they stand for the rights of women and children, as well as they stand strongly against homophobia.
In their song lyrics Kafkas express their support for animal rights. The guitarist of the band, Daniel Korn is a teacher at primary school. He says he's a very strict teacher, despite his underground, informal clothing and life style. Band members do not have any special ritual before the concert, as they think that anything like that is boring.

The guys from the ska punk band Rafiki were strongly motivated to visit the ISWI. Mostly they sing about various social problems that are highlighted by media. Lorenz and Andreas from Rafiki were studying in Ilmenau and were participating in the previous ISWI. Rafiki was the youngest band on the concert and they were glad about performing on one stage with two other older and more experienced bands. Rafiki traditionally drink a bottle of beer and have a hug before the concert.

Rentokill, the melodic hardcore band from Austria, visited the ISWI during their tour. The conception of this year's ISWI influenced their decision to perform here on the Open Air Festival. The members of the band follow veganism. They support animal liberation and clean environment. Touched by meeting the refugees from Chechnya personally, the band has written few songs about the conflict in that region. It is important for the band to sing about their own experience. Rentokill do special exercises for muscles and for voice before the concert. Read more

Finding Nemo

"Can you write about the Making of a-MAZE-ing Human Rights?" ... how can I say no where there are so many subject to cover? "Of course I will...if I have to"... When I asked who's in charge of if, I was told that Nemo is the "guilty" one for the entire stuff there. And this is how began my adventure in finding Nemo...

Before going at the working-in-progress-labyrinth in order to find Nemo, I went, together with my colleague, Wolfrang-the photographer, at the Info-Point to be sure he's there. Of course, they told me he's still working there. Great, then we went just right there to catchy him. There was no Nemo. "He's at a meeting in the campus somewhere, he will come in one and a half hour". We can wait then...So we took pictures. Of the empty Eishalle, of the scheleton we found there (of someone who lost himself in the labyrinth), of butons from the music/light desk, of the lake outside, of the ducks on the lake... Each car arriving there was a good reason for us to believe that Nemo is inside. I did not even know how he looks like so I always had to ask Wolfrang "Is it him?". No reaction, no Nemo, no more things to take pictures of, no fun. 30 minutues later there was no Nemo aroung. Neither 40 minutes.

So, no Nemo, no article. Here the opening time begins. I go inside, visit the labyrith and after that...guess what: no surprise, I am going to find.....Exactly, you guessed. I go outside, I ask, I don't know the way he looks but I am looking for him. A friend of mine knows him, sees him, we are running through the labyrinth..and he is close, so close..please staaaaaaaaaaaaay....and I caught him.

Here it comes the part that normally it should have been the main info of the article: more than 50 persons involved in making the a-MAZE-ing Human Right labyrinth, "a loot" of wood, plastic from sponsors and some Ilmenau-nice-people, 100l of beer consumed, more than 100l of coffee, 80 meters long, 200 pieces of wood plus another hundreds of pieces for connexions between them, around 4.000 nails, 2 working days to make it real plus several unslept hours and at least two really happy but tired faces - Nemo's and Kristie's, the ones I talked to. For those who did not notice it, the labyrinth was composed of three main areas, each of them with a symbolic meaning: the beginning - about the violation of Human Rights,the middle - human rights today,and the end of the labyrith about what each of us can do protect and respect the Human Rights.

To end up with a trivia fact: even some of the guys involved in this project got lost in the labyrinth will working there.

Note: Nemo, I've just been told that you don't like when people make the connexion between the movie and you name, buy it's so late and I am so tired, I won't have the time to change the article so please don't get mad at me :) Read more