A Meditation on Basic Democratic Values
in Times of Political and Economic Insecurity
under the patronage of Kerry Kennedy
President, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
April 30, 2015 at 11.00 a.m.
Center of Tolerance / Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum
(Naugarduko g. 10/2, Vilnius)
Literary Collage with texts by Mahatma Gandhi, Robert F. Kennedy, Hermynia zur Mühlen, Erich Mühsam, Alfred Polgar, Carl von Ossietzky, Joseph Roth, Hans Sahl, Kurt Tucholsky, Lasantha Wickrematunge, and others
Narrator Gregorij von Leïtis will read the various texts. Gregorij von Leïtis is winner of the New York Theatre Club Prize, Founding Artistic Director of Elysium and President of The Lahr von Leitis Academy & Archive.
Michael Lahr, Program Director of Elysium, will give a short introduction.
After the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, the victory parade of democracy seemed unstoppable. 25 years later, the initial euphoria has given way to great disillusionment. Globalization, rising unemployment, retrenchment in social programs, marginalization of large societal groups: all this has led to shrinking trust in democracy and its institutions.
Since 2008, social and economic upheavals have been further aggravated by the bank crisis and the sovereign debt crisis. The economic crisis has developed into a crisis of democracy. In many places, the expression "post-democracy" has been used.
Today, the Western system of an open society based in democratic values is threatened from many sides. Especially in these times of political and economic uncertainty it seems more important than ever to remind ourselves of the great achievement democracy is, and that it is worth fighting for. The program “Defending Democracy” presents texts of authors and thinkers who, in their time, fought against undermining tendencies of dissolution and the erosion of the republic by totalitarian forces. The cry for simple solutions, the longing for a strong man who liberates us from the complex trap of a globalized world, is growing louder. The program "Defending Democracy" wants to take a stand against that.