It’s a global relay race in the name of peace and unity between peoples along the world’s most dangerous borders. From the US-Mexico border to the one separating Hungary and Austria, where were raised protective that people attempt to cross in the hope of a better future, putting their life at risk.
It’s called Run4unity , promoted on Sunday May 8 by hundreds of thousands of young boys and girls from the Focolari Movement in all corners of the globe. From 11:00 to 12:00 they will follow a track by foot or by bike, with rollers, by boat. A time-out will follow, along with a minute of silence or a prayer for peace.
“Youths for unity” in Mexico have decided to run across Mexicali, 3.500 km from Mexico City, on the border with the United States. They will be running along the wall that divides the two peoples, in memory of all those who lost their lives in the attempt to cross the border, finding themselves in a desert land. The initiative, included in the school program, involves 10 schools with 1500 pupils. It is promoted by a team of physical education teachers coordinated by the local school inspector.
Across the ocean, Hungarian youths responded to their Mexicali “friends” with a relay race held Sunday May 1st in Sopron, on the Austria-Slovakian border. Last year the city hit world news as a destination of migrants desperately trying to enter Austria by train from Budapest. The relay took place with the participation of young Afghan refugees from a nearby refugee camp.
Over 100 thousand adolescents have participated in the initiative held in previous years. From the islands of Wallis and Futuna in the Pacific Ocean to Cairo, the baton passes from time zone to time zone to kick off sporting events, solidarity actions and active citizenship experiences in places marked by loneliness, poverty, marginalization. In the city of Bari, (Italy) the initiative will take place in the Fornelli juvenile penitentiary with a four-way football tournament, while in Bisceglie, the youths have decided to visit the reception centre for asylum-seekers.
Wherever they will be running, “their flag” will bear the “Golden rule”:
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you.”
It’s an ethical principle that is found in almost all cultures and religions – they said -. From Judaism to Islam, as well as in the most ancient African traditions.
If the world stopped on Sunday, and were handed over to these young people to govern, perhaps many fears would be dispelled, tensions would ebb, many tears would be wiped off and a rainbow of peace would cross the world. Obviously, one hour is not enough to accomplish this “dream.” And from Sunday the world will start spinning as it always did. But they won’t, these young people will remain. They have learned to see the world with different eyes. And most of all, they have the age of the future. For now, the rainbow of peace shines in their hearts and they are already capable of following it going to those places where humanity is facing major historical challenges. Indeed, they are the future and represent hope. They are asking us and working towards a world where humankind will be as brothers and sisters. Perhaps it is worthwhile listening to them.