From Kyiv, Moscow And Amsterdam With Love

Viola Winokan

My speech at the event
"From Kyiv, Moscow And Amsterdam With Love"
April 14, at the TenClub in Amsterdam
“We are a mixed audience of many nations. Tonight we came here to heal the cracks of political separation which is forcing people to oppose each other. With this multinational program we will show that culture is the real power and that talent has no nationality.
Culture is the opposite of war. A club event like this with the war in the background is unique and is creating unity between the people and reinforces peace in conflicted times.
What we do tonight - spending a normal evening together - is also politics, namely politics of peace, the real politics and how politics actually should be done: In communication with each other.
We are so much stronger and powerful because of what we do here than those who are making war out there. By supporting and practicing culture we are doing real politics. We are stopping war and creating peace in our minds and around us.
Everyone after this eve will leave with a better feeling about the world because of what happened there.
I am of mixed nations myself. Born in Moscow from Russian-Indonesian parents, I grew up in West-Berlin during the Cold War. I have enough suffered from hostility between East and West. I am against nationalism, I value humanity & empathy, freedom & equality and peace above all. I am running an art gallery in Amsterdam, showing several Russian artists as this is my cultural roots.
When I heard that the Russian state started a war, I was shocked, in disbelief and deeply ashamed. Then I was glad I'm Russian and that I know the language because now I can be useful to humanitarian aid as Ukrainians mostly don’t speak English and Germans and Dutch don’t understand Russian. I carefully ask every Ukranian if I may speak Russian to them and until now every one responded “yes, of course”. I find connection with the refugees based on our similar cultural roots. None of the families I helped doubted to get in contact with me. There are also tears of sisterhood and realisation that we are all mothers. Helping another child feels same to me as helping my own son.
In war times we have the chance to gain more friends instead of making enemies. We don't need to choose for separation. Times like this empower us to stand in our truth.
There’s nothing more powerful than being firmly rooted in our wish to live in peace with all nationalities.
That is precisely why people need culture without restrictions now to stay connected with each other in what they find beautiful. What we find beautiful unites us. Genius artists are being born to human parents and this is independent from a nationality. First the talent is born. It is only after that the artist performs under a certain flag. This year it is 200 years since Beethoven composed his 9th Symphony. It survived the horror of the 2nd WW and the Holocaust. We are still reading Goethe and Schiller despite there was a Third Reich. Art is food for the soul and keeps the mind clear and healthy. A sane mind is not going to kill a body - any body.
Tonight we came here out of a personal choice – the choice to play and sing with each other and to worship culture beyond nationalities.
Welcome to the Club - the TENCLUB”

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