Social Trend: Walk About Loveby: Taly Weiss January 1, 2010
Walk About Love is a social love – peace movement. For the third year in a row, people from all over the world intend to gather in Israel for this event. The idea is for people from different backgrounds and cultures to come and see the real Israel and exchange knowledge and understanding at a grassroots level – an action for peace.
Participants will walk, see, eat, drink, dance, make music, volunteer for good causes they meet during their walk and discuss different models of how to live harmoniously together with local communities all over Israel.
The name “Walk About” is adopted from the Aboriginal slang term meaning “to go for a long walk for an unspecified period, where the walk itself and not the destination is the emphasis”.
When the Second Lebanon War broke out two years ago, Rea Pasternak, a 23-year-old former soldier from Israel, felt frustrated and helpless. He was traveling in Australia at the time, so was not required to come back to fight. He found, though, that try as he might he could not enjoy himself while his friends back home were in danger. His thoughts were consumed with concern for their wellbeing and frustration at the situation they faced.
He wanted to do something. Something big. Something to change people’s perceptions and help set the groundwork for peace on a personal, social level. “I was sitting with my aunt in her house in Sydney, watching the news,” Pasternak recounts, “when in one second the idea came to me. I went directly to my room and spent the next three days writing and laying out plans for Walk About Love.”
In India he learned about non-violent affirmative action for peace, and how effective it has been in the past. In Australia he met immigrants from all over the world who are successfully harmonious, interested and benefiting from each other’s cultural variety.
In Australia, he started spreading word of his idea, asking for advice and meeting with people who enthusiastically offered to help create the event. Reinforced with new energy from his experiences, Pasternak found himself inundated with phone calls from people wanting to contribute to Walk About Love. He gave up his independent lifestyle and moved back to his family home in Israel, to devote his energy full time to the cause.
For the last two years Rea has lived and breathed Walk About Love. He has been networking with people, building websites, raising funds and sending ambassadors around the world to the US, Mexico, Australia, South America, Iceland, London, Australia, Japan, the Balkans and Europe, with Walk About Love T-shirts, fliers and other promotional materials to spread the word.
Pasternak hopes that Walk About Love will prove to be not only a venue for cultural exchange, but an economic boost for the local communities involved. “Even if I wanted to I couldn’t stop it now,” he gleams, energetically. “The ball is rolling and people are responding from all over the world.”
Pasternak’s ambitious dream of a grassroots event to expand cultural exchange may well become a reality. He emphatically describes his initial vision of “all the people from all over the world walking through Israel, fighting without weapons! Our mission is to plant the seeds of understanding between people and cultures”
Following in the tradition of Gandhi’s famous Salt March through India in 1930, this walk is expected to take three months to complete, taking time to visit local neighborhoods across Israel and learn from Israelis of all ethnicities.
the 2010 travel begins on the 1st of March.