While this issue of Culturelink is going to press, announcing in one of its sections the year 2000 as the Year of the Culture of Peace, ethnic cleansing is taking place again in the name of nationalism and ideology. Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians are fleeing from Kosovo and seeking shelter in the neighbouring countries, Macedonia and Albania, in conditions in which they are barely able to survive. At the same times, bombs are falling on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The discrepancy between the ideal of the culture of peace and the harsh reality has been pointed out by the Director-General of UNESCO, Federico Mayor in his appeal for a renewal of dialogue to find a peaceful solution to the Kosovo situation:
"Today, once again arms are doing the talking. The lives of men and women are being put at risk because others were not able, or did not wish, to establish dialogue and find a peaceful solution to their problems.
The UN was created at the end of the Second World War 'to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war'. We are indebted to the UN; several conflicts have been avoided, but prevention is not something visible. The Security Council should be involved in all decisions concerning the use of force, as explicitly laid out in the North Atlantic Treaty. I deplore the fact that a precedent has been created that may have unforeseen consequences.
UNESCO's mission being to 'construct in the minds of men the defences of peace,' I also deplore the reduction of investment in education and sustainable development, while expenditure on arms has increased in recent years. This situation of war is a failure for all of us. I appeal to the reason of those responsible to renew dialogue forthwith, so that a political solution may be found. The search for peace should be of the utmost priority. The force of reason should always prevail over the reason of force."