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Peace and Human Rights (1986)

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With this, the reservations of the Treptow parochial church council and the representatives of the church leadership, which had led to the postponement of the seminar, were indirectly confirmed. In the text, the seminar’s role as the aim of the undertaking retreats into the background.

The contents of the so-called Document III represent a political threat to the preparations for the seminar, create a sectarian separation between human rights and peace work, and harm the peace movement.

When the speakers were first confronted about this so-called Document III, they either made light of the criticism or did not respond at all. Their comments included: this is the agreed upon informational letter; there was no reason to convene the preparation committee; the passages to which there is objection include approved terms; the interpretations feared by those who intervened represent nothing but panic-mongering; the critics are actually obstructionists who waste time by constantly raising provocative discussions of fundamental issues and hamper the work being done.

When – contrary to the expectations of the speakers’ group – reservations were voiced more loudly and pressure to convene a meeting of the entire preparation committee grew, massive efforts were made up front to exclude critics from this meeting and to prevent their attendance. Some members of the preparation committee were given false information about the time and date of the meeting; some claimed that everyone had already been invited to it – though this can be proven untrue – and, up to the last minute, attempts were made to keep critics of the so-called Document III away from the meeting on February 24, 1986. One of the speakers even said at the meeting itself that the presence of some of the people there was contrary to what had been agreed upon, though invitations were extended to friends who belonged neither to the coordinating group nor to the critics.

Consequently, the meeting was very emotionally charged from the outset. The spokespersons tried to shift the blame to the people who attended the meeting of January 9, 1986, by once again claiming that the contents of Document III corresponded with what had been agreed upon at that meeting, and that whoever was unaware of that must have been sleeping. The charge of sabotage and pressure for a discussion of fundamental principles was reiterated. But since a majority, even among those friends who had initially remained impartial, had expressed criticism, and since no convincing arguments for the so-called Document III were presented, a vague disclaimer representing the minimum consensus on defusing the criticized text was drafted after four hours of discussion. This result was immediately undermined by assurances that the conditions in the preparation committee would repeatedly lead to the same old conflicts. On the very same evening, some participants reported that they did not feel bound by the minimum consensus.

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