General von Kirchbach: A Symbol for Peace

Peace – a dream of mankind

Peace is an old dream of mankind. Nevertheless, there have always been wars. War was and is part of the human existence.

Kant described his vision „about eternal peace” to be established among the nations in a philosophical treatise of that same name which was published in 1795. To reach this goal he envisaged constitutions containing a number of provisions that ultimately would make war impossible, guarantee freedom for men and mutual tolerance and thus lead to peace. Unfortunately, this goal has not yet been achieved, Kant’s treatise has not become a common ground for statesmen or people at large. Therefore, a globally durable peace has remained a dream up till today.

Men make peace

The artist Batuz, world famous through exhibitions of his works in almost all important museums of the world, has a vision how to develop further the ideas of Kant.

In doing so, he is far ahead of his time.

Only human beings can establish peace. In 1984, Batuz founds the Société Imaginaire, a friendship and peace association which includes important people across all continents. Heads of State, artists, writers, winners of the Nobel prize adhere to this visionary association. The National Gallery in Washington, D.C., dedicates to it a permanent exhibition.

The Société Imaginaire views itself as a virtual society that is not limited by existing frontiers, interests or cultural differences, but takes its inspiration from the needs and imaginations of that one mankind which can and should live together – despite all differences. Frontiers can and must be overcome. The Société Imaginaire wants to constitute a platform that allows people of different origins, nationalities, descents and religions to communicate, exchange their views about the world and contribute to peaceful coexistence among all people.

Peace requires an image

To follow such a road we need actions based on meaningful signals. Batuz’s works represent such signals. They always use as proposition a line that can be a border but also indicates always a space in front of and behind it. No more borders, no más fronteras – this is the first principle not only of the Société Imaginaire, but also of the art of Batuz. His art wants to be a manifest of individual freedom and peace.

Batuz and the Société Imaginaire send out other illuminating signals. Men from different countries and cultures come together through artistic activities, thus forgetting their differences. The symbolic crossing of the river Neisse unites Germans and Poles; from that encounter a great piece of art emerges. A human chain is formed in Afghanistan, „Helmets for Peace” becomes a project which brings together soldiers dedicated to peacekeeping, projects transcending borders in the Antarctic or between Argentina and Uruguay are presentations which signal and exemplify the possibilities men have to rise above their present condition. In his actions, Batuz consciously includes first and foremost people from countries actually at war. In that way the virtual society becomes time and again a reality. A utopia can only become a reality if and when people are beginning to live it. That is the goal of all projects of Batuz, the heart and soul of the Société Imaginaire.

The Société Imaginaire becomes a reality

What was still a utopia in Kant’s time and hardly imaginable when the Société Imaginaire was founded in 1984 can become a reality in our days. The new media enable people to communicate in an uncomplicated way, without interference of the state and without censorship. Today, people can talk to each other, exchange ideas, encourage one another to take action on a global level. While in the eighties of the last century only a chosen elite would conduct globally relevant discussions, today everybody can join in.

We are all called upon to take part in this dialogue among people with the aim to overcome borders, to live and act within a huge social network of peace.

Never in the history of mankind has man had so big a chance to rise to such levels of self-determination.

If the Société Imaginaire one day becomes a lived reality, this could help to come closer to Kant’s vision. There should be no lack of further signals.

But what is at stake is to find the way from a virtual society to a real one, from utopia to reality.

General Hans-Peter von Kirchbach

Former Commander in Chief of
the German Armed Forces