Voices of Rondine

Voices of Rondine

Rondine is based on the experiences of the people who lived and live in the Citadel of Peace.
Their concrete steps on the path of dialogue and peace.

Voices of Rondine.

  • “I can trust you”

    Where: Rondine Cittadella della Pace

    When: 1998

    Who: Ilias, Chechen student, and Franco Vaccari, President of Rondine

    “Mr. President, can I tell you something? I have finally understood that I can trust you!”
    “Wow! It took you an entire year to figure that out?
    “Yes. I thought that eventually you would want something of me in return, asking me to abandon my Islamic heritage to become a Christian. Now, however, I understand: you will never ask this of me.”

  • The washing machine

    Where: Rondine Cittadella della Pace

    When: 1999

    Who: The first Chechen students and Franco Vaccari, President of Rondine

    “Mr. President, we want to leave”
    “We no longer want to share the washing machine with the Russian students, washing our clothes in their dirty water”
    “After one year of coexistence and fine declarations of peace, do you really want to throw it all away for a washing machine?”
    “Yes. If you don’t provide us with another machine, we will leave”
    “Leave, then, if that is what you want. Rondine is not made for public declarations of peace. It’s made for young people who are ready to wash their clothes in the dirty water of the enemy.”

  • Flags are for praying, not burning

    Where: Rondine Cittadella della Pace

    When: 2012

    Who: Rabee, Palestinian student

    That day, in the World House, tension was very high: new bombings were striking the Gaza Strip, a tiny Palestinian enclave situated right between the Israeli border and the Mediterranean.
    When the night fell, my Israeli mate Yoav, other students from the Middle East, and myself gathered in front of the flags that greet everyone who arrives at the Citadel of Peace and represent the countries of origin for each of the Rondine students.
    We lighted some candles and prayed silently, each one according to his or her religion for the lives of our loved ones.
    Then we started talking about the conflict and kept on talking until late into the night. That’s how the dialogue began.

  • Peace is not the absence of conflict

    Where: Rondine Cittadella della Pace

    When: 2016

    Who: Ulwiia, Azeri student

    I was coming back to Rondine from the university when I received an audio message from my brother. I couldn’t hear properly, I just remember these words: “Call Mum more often, we have already left for the front”. I don’t remember how I got from Florence to Rondine.
    While walking up the street leading to the Citadel of Peace, I was reminded of the words my mother used to repeat me when I was a kid: “If Armenians didn’t exist, life would be better”. I walked and repeated to myself: “If Armenians didn’t exist …”
    At the top of the hill, I met another Rondine student, an Armenian. We did not greet each other. Instead, we just stared at one another. Looking into his eyes, I saw my own fear, the same rage, the hate that I was feeling in my heart. His brother was at the border, too, in the war, like mine. Just at that moment I understood what peace means for me. It’s worrying about the brother of my “enemy”, about his mother and his loved ones who cry on the other side of the conflict, just like mine.
    It is a hug that is free of blame for all sides.