Meeting Brno 2024: From Trauma to Hope (June 21 – 30, 2024)

Meeting Brno 2024: From Trauma to Hope (June 21 - 30, 2024)

Since its foundation, the Meeting Brno festival has been focusing on stories that we as a society sometimes prefer not to remember. They provoke questions that are not easy to face. They hide cruelty, cowardice, apathy. Perhaps we hope that these events in our history do not affect us. We are already facing uncertainties we could not have imagined a few years ago. We have been through an epidemic and an energy crisis. There is a war not far from us. The world is complicated enough even without the ghosts of the past.

Yet we feel that difficult moments of history keep emerging. In relation to the direct election of the President, the undignified level of pensions of former dissidents, on the occasion of changing the judges of the Constitutional Court. And not just that. As if we would still owe something. The past, with which we do not cope, distorts our present. Benedict XVI noted, in relation to the actions of the Catholic Church, that if we leave evil, moral guilt in the past, we can always be sure that it will “catch us" later.

“The past is never closed and finished once and for all," said poet Zbyněk Hejda in his essay Taboo in Czech historiography. " We return to it, that is, by bringing its meaning to the future through ourselves. […] The purpose of history is not given once and for all, it is always being created anew. Our task is to take part in its creation, and thus also to take responsibility for it". In Images of History of the Czech Nation Vladislav Vančura wrote that “[…] even the oldest things lie in the net of present time".

We want to be part of the creation of this " meaning of history". That is why we devote this year's Meeting Brno festival to the topic of coping with historical and personal traumas. We will talk about why we do not sufficiently commemorate the fate of the Jews of Terezín who were assigned to the family camp in Auschwitz. We will open up questions related to the decisions of President Edvard Beneš. We will discuss how the judiciary was involved in the communist regime. We will explore the fate of the Belcredi family over the course of 20th century.

Philosopher Alice Koubová speaks about personal trauma: “Trauma takes a lot of time on itself. When one remains fascinated by it, […] one moves through life as an understandably overwhelmed person, identifying with injustice, resentment, and making many harmful decisions that are damaging both oneself and his surroundings. But he has a right to do so, not as a victim, but as a free human being." She continues, “Healing trauma is a physically and mentally constant liminal experience. For a long time a person is maybe just walking, that’s already a feat. Or he is going crazy and trying too hard, making many mistakes, retraumatizing himself repeatedly, is asking inappropriate people for help, hurting other people too, but then one day he might be able to grow out of it and experience a gift, in a sense deserved, in a sense unforced."

Talking publicly about coping with personal traumas is undoubtedly very fragile. Yet we believe we can gain inspiration and hope from those who have walked this path before us or who work with trauma professionally. That is why we will be hosting the screenwriter and director Eva Lustigová, Daniel Low-Beer, who is establishing a Museum of Survivors in a former textile factory in Brněnec, the opera conductor Tomáš Hanus, and the philosopher Alice Koubová.

There are 10 days full of meetings, artistic experiences, discussions, lectures, walks and concerts before us. We are looking forward to seeing you!