In early April 1999, some of the later proponents of the INITIATIVE EQUIDISTANCE, Prof. Michael Benedikt, Prof. Gerhard Botz, Dr. Gerda Buxbaum, Dr. Leopold Specht a. o., met with me to discuss the possibilities and the necessity to declare one's position in regard to the escalating war in and against Yugoslavia and to generally reflect on the constitutive elements of a new world order being established by military means.
I offered to make the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts the meeting place for the initiative. On 21 April, the group that Dr. Wolfgang Greisenegger, Peter Noever and Prof. Elisabeth von Samsonow had joined in the meantime got together and drafted a common resolution which was the basis for an appeal addressed to a wider circle of artists, intellectuals and academics.
There is no justification for the war for Kosovo.
The undeclared war of Western democracies has hastened and aggravated the Serbian politics of violence and expulsion against the Albanian population. It has reinforced the state of emergency in Yugoslavia in favor of the Milosevic regime. Thus, the European peace order in existence since the catastrophes of Word War II has been weakened in a fateful manner during the last weeks.
Each single additional day of war will do damage to Europes cultural understanding of itself and its fundamental prerequisites. It is imperative to cease all acts of war and to return to the negotiating table without any delay.
This is why we demand
to immediately stop the expulsion of the Albanian population from Kosovo,
to cease all acts of war unconditionally, and
to start peace negotiations on a UN scale immediately.
Numerous artists and intellectuals spontaneously signed the proclamation, and their approval was the starting point for the exhibition STOP THE VIOLENCE!!!.