Moto for Peace, formerly Peace for the People, is an association made up of officers of the Italian State Police, the “Polizia”, whose aim is to spread the knowledge of varied world cultures in order that people can live in peace and harmony. The association, with that objective in mind, participates in the setting up of development projects throughout the world, by making society aware of the issues and collecting the funds necessary for the development of these programs. The members, having shared experiences sponsored by other associations, decided to create “Moto for Peace”, that pursues humanitarian goals through motorcycle expeditions. By motorcycle, and for various different motives, they have crossed far and wide though Europe and Asia, and now with an ambitious and exciting project they have decided to go “to discover” Africa.
The Associazione MotoforPeace is preparing for a new motorbike mission covering half of South America: departure planned for Autumn 2007.
The new project is entitled “Panamerica”, and mirrors the journey of the pioneers of world exploration, the first to challenge the frontiers of the unknown, who in overcoming national isolation, embraced the great adventure of the discovery of new worlds.
Following expeditions in Europe (Cape North – Jubilee year 2000; Kosovo – Easter 2001), Asia (“Rome-Beijing” – 2002; Sabra and Chatila – 2006) and Africa (“A Bridge for Africa” – 2004), the Association has now chosen to offer its solidarity and support in South America.
The expedition will include police officers from a number of European countries, who on their charitable mission will cover a good part of the famous Pan-American Highway, leaving from Venezuela and finishing in Patagonia, with the goal of carrying out a humanitarian project focusing on the children of a South American country: a tangible and concrete gesture for a country in need of aid, friendship and support.
The current draft programme is based on a route from Caracas to Buenos Aires, crossing the states of Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Argentina. This will be a long journey, across a continent of great variety, not only geographically, with its polar ice and extensive open plains, but also from a cultural point of view, including a diversity of civilisations, traditions and ancestral models of living.
Our team will cross South America with a strong message of peace, conscious of the need to avoid certain routes, not only for geographical reasons but also for motives of security. Certain plains, valleys and forests of central and south America where there might be at the very least the risk of having to contend with insect bites, are now also off limits, bloodied by the battles of guerrilla fighters and the forces of state repression.
In this context, with the same objective as in our previous missions in other parts of the world, we hope to offer our small gesture of solidarity as a message of peace and fraternity, with the intention that our actions, spreading by a positive chain reaction might be a contribution, if not one that can bring about permanent change, at least a catalyst, diffusing the atmosphere of global crisis which has become a sign of our times.
We are well aware of the difficulties which lie on the long path of peace and tolerance, but our optimism gives us hope that after centuries of crisis, depression, uncertain promises and unfulfilled settlements, we can finally take part in the beginning of a stable chapter of peace and the evolution of integration throughout the world.
2006 – Missione di pace in Medio Oriente
MotoforPeace is organising, for Spring 2006, a new motor bike expedition to the Middle East.
Following the North Cape (Jubilee 2000), Kosovo (Easter 2001), Roma-Peking (2002), and “A Bridge for Africa (2004) , the association has decided to focus on a geographical area which has for years been ravaged by war, violence, hostilities and armed struggle.
The scope of the trip is to show our solidarity and support of the MotoforPeace Association through the delivery of two ambulances, health-sanitary and other equipment to the community of Palestinian children in the refugee camps of Sabra and Chatila and Dalal Al Moghrabi KG in Burj El- Barajneh in Beirut.
The current draft programme envisages crossing Greece, Turkey, and probably Syria, to arrive at our final destination: Beirut.
The choice of a refugee camp was unavoidable after we had become aware of the serious situation of environmental and health deterioration in which these children have to live, guilty only of being heirs to a dramatic story of civil war and hostility between peoples.
Our trip will be merely a first step on the long road of understanding and solidarity which not only the Lebanon but also the entire world has deemed necessary.
In the current phase of history, marked by the pluralism of peoples and regions, in which wisdom, coming together and above all understanding between the cultural and religious diversity of the people who live together in social situations far from calm, it is fundamental to begin dialogue, and this is exactly what we intend to do with our simple gesture of solidarity.
Looking forward to a future in which our Association can confide, a future in which dialogue becomes a catalystic element, an essential factor for cohesion, of unity and understanding. An intense dialogue between peoples who are culturally far from each other, but with the intention of creating models of integration which allow them to live together, in peace, and above all with dignity, in safeguarding their common values. A dialogue in which the priority is the respect towards the children. A dialogue which transforms in a future without refugee camps, discrimination, without such unfair inequality.
5 January 2003 – EPIPHANY BY MOTORBIKE
The association “MotoforPeace”, now named Peace for the People, made up of police officers, following the Rome-Beijing expedition of the previous summer (16,000 kilometres by motorcycle), organized for the 2003 celebration of Epiphany a charity event in the Santa Maria Assunta and San Giuseppe parish churches, in the district of Primavalle, Rome, the Bambino Gesu children’s’ hospital and the care home “Figlie della Carità”of Rome.
On 5 January the members of the association, dressed up as Father Christmas and witches riding their motorcycles, brought gifts to the children of the Hospital, the Parish and other gifts and clothes to the children of the care home, hoping to raise a smile and bring a moment of joy on a special day.
2003 – EUROPEAN TOUR “A bridge to Africa”
The MotoforPeace Association, in order to continue its short but glorious tradition, is organizing a motorcycle expedition to Africa. Following the “Rome-Beijing” trip (16,000 Km on motorcycle), the Association is planning, for Christmas 2003, a new expedition to the African continent, through which to show the solidarity and friendship of the members of MotoforPeace – officers of the Italian Police – to their fellow Africans colleagues.
From our horizontal view of the earth, the choice for this trip fell on an area that is crying out for integration with the rest of the world. No less importantly, the African landscapes also influenced our choice, so extraordinary as to make fascinating – as well as difficult – even the task of drawing up the route that will determine our path.
The first draft of the project involves crossing Africa from east to west: leaving from Egypt and arriving in Morocco, crossing Libya, Tunisia and Algeria. The dream of the African continent has excited us from the very beginning: more than one western traveller has described the fascination of Africa as enticing even to the most unsentimental eyes. The fascination of extraordinary Africa. Of wonderful Africa. Of Africa with its incredible and unique beauty. Of immense, spectacular and mysterious Africa.
What unites us to Africa is much more than what divides us: this will be the raison d’etre of this trip, as without wanting to go too deep into history, it is not possible to overlook all the instances in which the fortunes of Italy and the countries that will be visited have overlapped. In the sands of the African desert is also buried a part of the European history.
Today the Africans countries watch Europe like a model: a continent that was completely overturned by the last world war, has successfully broken the chains in which was imprisoned and, reborn from its own ashes, has been able to respond to historical events: whether to submit to them or resist them, adapt themselves or actually take advantage by new leaps forward: it has therefore developed into a new wider community, with common institutions, succeeding in managing its own destiny so as to prevent the repetition of the recurrent tragedies that have tainted its past.
Africa however, having put behind it the euphoria of decolonisation – that renewed its pride in the principle of self-determination by its people – and having followed a different evolutionary process from the western model, has encountered a world economic situation that is not exactly favourable to its needs. Competition on the playing fields of globalisation is fierce, and Africa still seems not to satisfy the necessary conditions to take off.
If we add to this the progressive reduction of aid destined for underdeveloped nations from the so-called “industrialized” part of the world, the situation of the African continent is compromised, relegated to the shadows and in a limbo of helplessness, being penalized for its intrinsic delays and therefore coerced into playing a subordinate role, in cases where it is not completely marginalized. To make this worse, numerous wars have consumed enormous amounts of wealth in favour of local factions that, hiding behind the words democracy and justice, have plundered all sources of riches.
The consequences of this short-sighted vision of development have determined the emergence of phenomena such as clandestine immigration and the state of permanent war, which obliges thousands of people to depend on unscrupulous criminal organizations in order to escape the misery and in order to hope for a life worth living.
The images of starving or crippled children now have little effect on us and there is a growing danger that this becomes the norm. We must rekindle our awareness of these desperate conditions that beg for simple understanding.
Our association wants to launch a small challenge and to establish a project of solidarity in Africa with countries that live in less difficult social and economic conditions. It is the first step, it will not be the last.
In order to make this project more effective, we intend to involve police colleagues from all over Europe: we will therefore contact our colleagues of the European Union to invite them to join our initiative to form teams of motorcyclists to travel side by side with us on our African expedition.
We would like our path to follow “from the plural to the singular”, to be in some way involved in the steady but difficult exit of the African Continent from its isolation from the rest of the world and to feel a little bit like the pioneers of a great European adventure seeking the goal of integration of all the civilizations on the planet. An extraordinary adventure – in the guise of missionaries of peace and solidarity – led by the MotoforPeace Association and backed by teams from the whole of (or most of the countries of) the European Union. Europe, therefore, is at the head of the movement: an enterprise that, leaving behind the diatribe of the past, is looking towards the future hoping to be identified as a model worthy of being followed.
To cross North-Africa with our European colleagues will mean travelling over once again part of our common history: this time not on opposing sides, but together, and for one collective objective: to contribute to the breaking down of cultural, social, religious and economic barriers that so often in the past have initiated conflict and led to misunderstanding and to lay claim to an essential, deep, intrinsic, equality.
On this trip we will be involving our fellow colleagues Africans in the countries we cross, and in order to make our task more real, we are now organizing the distribution of calendars of the Polizia, produced in collaboration with Unicef, so as to dedicate our humanitarian mission to children. Therefore, as in Tibet, with the effective collaboration of the Ngo ASIA and its sponsor Dr. Andrea Dell’Angelo, where we contributed to the financing of a clinic for Tibetan medicine, we intend to set up a similar initiative again involving one or more Ngo or, more realistically, the offices of Unicef.
As far as logistical aspects are concerned, the experience gained in the previous expeditions – other than China and Tibet, we have carried out work in a social context also in the Balkans and Scandinavia – persuades us to continue our collaboration with our technical partners with whom we have created a common bond and an understanding that goes far beyond the normal working relationships. Above all, with the support of Aprilia that will continue to sponsor us in this adventure, having supplied us with the means – five CapoNord motorcycles – that enabled us to reach Beijing in perfect safety and comfort.
The true innovation of the Africa plan is clearly in the involvement of the European and African police colleagues. During the expedition to China, we have already been able to fulfil the wishes of many colleagues in the countries we passed through, to participate in the organization of future plans. What better occasion than this? If, as we hope and we believe, our European colleagues participate with us in this adventure, then we will find ourselves in 2003 celebrating Christmas in Africa and laying the foundations for future and more ambitious solidarity plans, brought about by persons united in their curiosity for the world, compassion towards humanity and an “off-limit” passion for the motorcycle.
By our contribution we want to represent the voluntary participation in an ever-open debate: the opening-up of the world; as history teaches us that the world would not evolve if it stopped or became bogged down in a single point of view. We intend, with this new adventure, to remain faithful to the objects of our association: to spread solidarity across the world!
5 January 2002 – EPIPHANY BY MOTORBIKE
The association Peace for the People had been just founded, and the members Antonio, Dino, Piero, Enrico, Paola, Gianni, Duccio, Riccardo, Lorella and Fabrizio wanted to immediately express a message of solidarity by organizing a charity event on the occasion of Epiphany. Thus was founded “Epiphany by motorbike” in the Rome children’s hospital Bambino Gesu and in the care home “Figlie delle Carità”.
The funds for the initiative were collected in the police station where the members work, which enabled them to purchase gifts, clothes and sweets for all those children who enjoy no holiday from pain and suffering even during the festive period.
Riding their own motorcycles, dressed like witches and Father Christmas, the members of the association visited both places, arousing curiosity and offering at least a smile to the small hosts.
But a plan much more challenging and fascinating – the main objective of the association for 2002 – began to engage all the members: the Rome-Beijing expedition!!!
2002 – “China is near”
The idea for the expedition came about for three reasons: firstly and most importantly, the fascination of a thousands of years old culture, which over the course of the centuries, has influenced the entire planet and which Dino and his travel companions could not resist. Secondly, the challenge: to follow in the footprints of a great explorer, leading towards the discovery of beautiful and unknown lands: Marco Polo. Last, but not least, the will to contribute to the integration of various cultures, carrying humanitarian aid to people in need and establishing a twinship with the Chinese police forces.
There were nine members of this enterprise: Dino, Antonio, Duccio, Gianni, Riccardo, Roberto, Daniel, Alexander and Paola, equipped with five Aprilia North Cape motorcycles and a Mercedes truck. The route, already under preparation, had to undergo various changes, above all because of the tragic international terrorist attacks of 11th of September that upset the political equilibrium world-wide, but which did not discourage the group who were determined to carry through their plan.
The preparations were laborious, because it was necessary to be prepared for the unexpected, on account of the difficulty of the terrain which was to be crossed, not to mention the bureaucratic difficulties which, at certain stages, threw into doubt the realistic practicality of the plan. Finally, the definitive itinerary was drawn up, which would lead the group to distant China through Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Byelorussia, the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan.
In the capital city of every country crossed en route, meetings were organized with the fellow colleagues of the local police forces, to bring a message of peace and solidarity, proof of the firm intention to promote dialogue and collaboration between different societies. The difficult task of raising funds for charity donations was also carried out; the choice of which project to support was not easy, but ultimately, in collaboration with Onlus Asia, the group chose to sponsor a hospital in Dangché in Tibet.
On 22 June 2002 the adventure began. The whole group felt the weight of the challenge, above all Dino, the mentor of the expedition, who felt responsible for his travelling companions and who hoped to be able to carry out the necessary the role of “support” for them and not to disappoint them in their expectations. Fortunately very soon the tension broke down, with the proof that the team were well suited.
The trip by far exceeded all expectations: Austria was as charming and friendly as ever, and Vienna still very… European; Prague was beautiful, a unique jewel, and the welcome by the city was unforgettable; Warsaw greeted the group with music, an escort and band in their honour. In Minsk, the genuine warmth of the Byelorussian people was also shown through the organization of a local police chauffeur who drove the team in order to make their voyage as comfortable as possible. The “diversity” of the landscape and the scenery began to reveal itself almost with arrogance, but the warm welcome from the people was so remarkable that it made the group feel “at home”.
Russia, an immense and troubled land – with the signs of an all too present past and of a too distant future – received the expedition with kindness and unexpected attention and witnessed the founding of a mutual understanding between fellow police colleagues. Kazakhstan, mysterious and beautiful, elicited an infinite sense of freedom, with its unending and wild landscapes, almost suspended in another time dimension. Not to mention the inhabitants: affectionate, dignified, the interest they showed was astonishing.
Finally, longed-for China. No longer unattainable. But close. Proud. With those unbroken, powerful, soothing, magnificent landscapes. Attractive also in its most humble poverty. An explosion of infinite images, colours, silences. Unimaginable natural symmetry. So beautiful it took one’s breath away. So seductive as to make one overcome with emotion! Rich in an universal tranquillity that conquers the hearts of the whole group, spreading a feeling of total peace and making them overjoyed, to have by their small contribution, brought closer together the people of the earth.
2001 – Kosovo
Hardly a year had passed since the North Cape, and Dino – who during the course of the previous trip had been able to get to know Enrico and Piero much better, and found they were on the same wavelength – got together with his two “travelling companions” in order to organize a new adventure.
The aim of this mission was exclusively of solidarity: to bring material aid to families living in a serious state of discomfort in the city of Pec, in war-torn Kosovo. The organization this time was much more complex, although the distance to cover was decidedly less, as was the small number of days (only 5) envisaged for the trip.
The first major difficulty was encountered in the preparatory phase: it was in actual fact very complicated to define a definite route, considering the current state of war in the region, just as it was very challenging to organize two trucks of foodstuffs and educational material for children, which was the objective of the mission. The generous aid of the various sponsors was fundamental, as was the support of the fellow collaborators based in Pec. The expedition turned out to be an odyssey from the start; the weather conditions were harsh: the rain and the snow that accompanied the group up until the boarding at Bari were just a prelude to the progress of the expedition. Landing at Bar, many obstacles and misunderstandings were encountered from the Montenegro authorities, difficulties resolvable only with “the oldest method in the book”. But this method could not be used to resolve the closure of the mountain pass at the entry to Kosovo, blocked by two meters of snow, which resulted in the loss of one day on the expected date of arrival. The group by now was determined to overcome all obstacles, even a customs officer in Pec, who was not impressed by their reasons for entering the city. In spite of everything, the group succeeded in their attempt, bringing the humanitarian mission to a successful conclusion and, above all, by the end of the expedition, they found themselves united by strong and renewed ties that would lead the members of this adventure – Antonio, General of the Polizia and future President of the association, Roberto, Enrico, Piero, Paola and Dino – to become founder members of the association Peace for the People.
2000 – NORTH CAPE
This trip came about from a passion for the motorcycle and the desire to travel to those places that are a must for all motorcyclists. To go by motorcycle “to the top of the world”, was Dino’s dream for many years, perhaps more than ten, that is, as long as he has been riding a motorcycle. For various reasons he had to put off the fulfilling of this dream, but the year 2000 seemed the right moment: a few months of preparation and the plan was ready. He would travel with a new motorcycle for approximately 12,000 km through Austria, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, the Czech Republic; 24 days of pure adventure, fulfilling at last his dreams in those marvellously enchanting landscapes. Then, about one month from departure, destiny made the dream of Dino a reality, when he came across a Rome motorcycle club which had organized an identical tour, in the very same period; as some of the participants were also members of the Polizia, Dino decided to contact them to look into the possibility of travelling with them. It was well-organized: the tour was sponsored by Moto-Guzzi and other important companies, and the aim of the expedition appeared worthy: to distribute letters written by children from a school in Ladispoli (Rome) throughout the schools of all the capital cities which would be visited en route, so as to promote the understanding of diverse cultures and to set up a network for the exchange of contact between young people of various nationalities from childhood.
The aim of the expedition was also to collect funds to donate to research for a cure for “ataxic syndromes”.
The trip was exciting from the start: at least 2000 people attended the departure from Ladispoli, and the rest of the expedition saw ceremony after ceremony in all the Italian embassies and meetings with the representatives of local institutions. The group was received everywhere with enthusiasm and admiration, above all for the aims of the mission, which for Dino came to feel like his own. Where there were no institutional meetings organised, the lure of the powerful and wild nature led the group out of their ordinary dimension. The midnight sun is hard to describe, difficult to recapture, triggers inexpressible feelings, because up there at the borderline of the world, it is as if nothing matters any more. One feels parts of a serene universe, in spite of the temperature which was glacial.
The unanimous opinion of the travelling companions was that it was hard work, but it was really worth it!