When, in the second half of April, we received the news about a fire that had burnt down the GERM (Group for Study and Research on Globalisations) premises, we were appalled by the force of devastation that had completely destroyed the documentation, publications and archive of GERM, and its working equipment, including computers. Everything that had been so precious for the cooperation of GERM with numerous institutions in their scientific and research work, projects and networking was ravaged. As chance would have it, in one of his recent articles François de Bernard, founder and president of GERM, wrote about how "man becomes a neglected quantity, how he is omitted, erased, absorbed, eliminated from the memory: we live in a world that is burning from all sides" (La Libre Belgique, 5 April 2016). We should really all start rethinking the future of humanity on our only planet.
How does one find words to express the indignation at such a barbarian act against an association which, from its very establishment in 2001, has advocated democracy, peace, human rights, cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue. For years, it has been organizing conferences, debates and talks with the wider public on topics such as war and peace, global governance, sustainable development, the future of UNESCO and many other topics. It is also worth noting, that GERM's Critical Dictionary has gained acknowledgement on all continents, advocating new phenomena and spaces of freedom.
The loss is enormous. It takes a lot of courage and perseverance to start afresh and to continue GERM's wealth of valuable activities. Yet we all agree: discontinuing GERM's activities is out of the question!