Memoric launch in Bulgaria

We all know about WWI. Most of us have probably heard stories from our parents or grandparents. It is an important period well marked in every history book. We have all seen movies, read about it in the media… we know its facts and dates. But what makes history is also the way we remember it, the way it is told and taught from generation to generation.

The team discussed about the project objectives and analyzed key terms such as Memory, Remembrance, Pacifism and War. The debate was also stimulated thanks to the visit realized to the he National Museum of Military History in Sofia, with its exhibition on WWI, containing clear examples about how WWI is depicted.

Although memory is personal, remembrance is a constructive experience. And the process can be biased, as the same events are analyzed with different approaches. The narrative we get from the WWI is a remembrance focused on war and soldiers. We have hardly heard about those who stood against the war, against any fight of any kind. They fought for us too without any violence. In SCI we think that the remembrance is missing a past we want to bring out, more focused on human stories, founded not only on the artefact but also on the logic and connection with today; seeking the positive aspect of the story in a more horizontal approach. 

 
What’s beyond the rhetoric? What’s beyond the poems and the poppies? Is there courage and honor or mass-destruction and violence? There is an important lesson not to be forgotten and big mistakes not to be repeated. And there is also the seed of the pacifism movement and the origin of SCI.
 
 
                       
                      Pierre Cérésole. SCI's founder, image from SCI International Archives
 
This is the reasoning behind SCI’s new international project, Memory beyond Rhetoric. A project focused on WWI and the growth of the pacifist movement in Europe. With it, SCI aims to promote a mature idea of peace, anti-militarism and non-violence. SCI’s remembrance project critically analyses the image of soldiers-heroes and wants to contribute to a real understanding of the history and diversity of the European Union, which was created as a peace guarantee.
 
SCI’s remembrance project includes the organization of seminars and activities in some of the most meaningful scenarios of the First World War, such as the international seminar in Verdun, France, where the “Battle of Verdun” was fought in 1916 and where Pierre Cérésole organized the first SCI workcamp. 
 
 
The first meeting of the project took place in Lozen (Bulgaria), from the 15th to the 19th of October 2014. The project coordinating team counted with the support of the No More War Team and the International Archives of SCI. During four days, the coordinating team of the project shared expectations and experiences, discussed the future project plan and set up the first steps to follow.
 
The event involved 13 citizens, including 1 participant from Begium, 1 participant from Greece, 2 participants form Austria, 1 participants from Albania, 3 participantS form Germany, 1 participant from Italy, 2 participants from Bulgaria, 1 participant from Netherlands and 1 participant from Serbia.
 
The aims of the event were to create the coordinating team of the project and a detailed workplan; to create the space for partner to share useful information and tools; to start agree on the shape of the final booklet; to highlight the European dimension of the project and make it clear to all partners; to set up monitoring and evaluation tools; to increase the awareness about the importance of reflection on history and memory for the creation of a better Europe; to achieve a better understanding of the role peace organization have now and had in the past, especially during the WWI.