For Peace I spare no conflict
For peace, sometimes you have to go into confrontations - and I am willing to do that.
How do people manage to live together in peace after a war? I have dealt with this question throughout my professional life.
It can work if people - against all odds - stand up for an alternative, non-violent way of dealing with conflicts, and inspire others to do the same. I learned this in 2004 as an intern with the German Development Service.
It can work if they build alliances, even with players who are alien to them, e.g. with the military or with people with a different religion. This needs to happen borne by the common goal of creating peace, and united in the discussion about the way to achieve it. This was one of the results of my dissertation on so-called "peace zones" in Mindanao.
It can work if people jointly solve the problems of everyday life which they are unable to solve on their own, and if they do so free from ideology. Examples are building a school, distributing wells or attracting business to a region. I observed this during my field research in the Philippines and Liberia.
It can work if they jointly build structures in which everyone can participate - this eliminates one of the root causes of radicalisation. And it can work when people who do not yet dare to participate in these structures are encouraged to do so. I have had the privilege of accompanying these types of processes as a consultant for various international organizations.
These processes apply elsewhere just as they do on our doorstep. I have come to understand this in 2016, when the AfD in Berlin-Lichtenberg suddenly won 20% of the votes. And I decided to go into politics myself. First as district chairman, then as a direct candidate for the Bundestag and finally as candidate for the European Parliament.
Europe is evidence that peace can be learned. Our history gives hope to many people worldwide. And I am not prepared to accept that autocrats and reactionaries will destroy it. For peace, I spare no conflict with them - on my doorstep, all over Europe and in the world.
But our policies in Europe also have an influence on the crises of this world. Examples are when we export weapons to warmongers, when the climate crisis hits the poorest, when women are once again not sitting at the negotiating table and when dictators extort money from us because of bad deals concerning refugees. For peace we must seek conflict in such situations and show a firm stance.
That is what I am fighting for in the European Parliament.