Martin Auer, renowned Austrian author of children's books has put together a collection of stories for children and young people
named "The Strange War Stories for a Culture of Peace". The book that has been published by Beltz & Gelberg, Germany, in
summer 2000 can be read online and can also be downloaded for printing at http://www.peaceculture.net.
Translators from so far eight different countries have volunteered to translate the stories.
Complete versions are available at the moment in
English (thanks do Kim Martin Metzger from Mexico),
Russian (thanks to Dmitriy Chursinov from Voronesh) and
Danish (thanks to Hendrik Grøn from Copenhagen)
and of course in German.
The Chinese (Zhixin He), French (Christian Lassalle) and Estonian (Tiina Tuul) versions are well under way and parts can already be read online. Some stories can also be read in Serbian, Dutch and Japanese.
"It is not enough to tell children that war is a bad thing and peace is much nicer", says Auer. "They want and need to know more:
Why do people fight wars? Has war existed always? How did it come into the world? Is war something that just cannot be avoided? Maybe because human nature just is aggressive and murderous? Is it possible that a war 'breaks out' even if the majority of people want peace? Who is responsible for the keeping of peace? Governments? The Soldiers? Everybody?
In these stories I have tried to tackle philosophical, economical, anthropological and political questions without oversimplifying them and still in such a way that children can understand. I hope that peace education workers all over the world will be able to use those stories in their work. This is why I use the Internet to distribute them free of charge.
I am very grateful to the translators who are doing a wonderful job and without whom this would not be possible. I am also grateful to my publishers for treating the copyright issues in a flexible and not purely businesslike way.
The printout with an illustration by German artist Verena can be folded into a neat booklet. Distribution for educational purposes is free.
Volunteers for translations into more languages are welcome.
For more of Martin Auer's works see http://www.martinauer.net.