Friday, September 4, 2015

International Day of Peace

September 20 is the United Nations International Day of Peace. The San Geronimo Valley Community Center is hosting a music festival and art exhibition. As peaceniks and longtime supporters of the idea of a world without war we are participating with these artworks:

One Wish - Peace
Judith Selby Lang

The tradition of candles on the birthday cake harkens back to the Ancient Greeks who burned candles to represent reflected moonlight. Long ago in Germany candles were placed in the center of a round cake to symbolize "the light of life." 

In my family, an important part of the birthday celebration was the cake, the song, and then the thrill of blowing out all of the candles. The belief that the silent wish would indeed come true, had me wishing big. Never for a new bicycle or a new dress, even as a young child I was wishing for world peace. These days there are way too many candles on my cake so I am back to only one and my wish remains the same, One Wish - Peace.

The True Cost of Plastic
Richard Lang
Judith Selby Lang

For the International Day of Peace we turned our attention to a somber bit of plastic jetsam that is washing up onto Kehoe Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore. Through the years we have amassed quite a collection of toy soldiers plus Cowboys & Indians, space-men, and pirates that chronicle the history of world conflicts. To date, we have well over 200 from Japan, Korea, China, and from gutters from our San Francisco Bay Area neighborhood. The miniature helmets and weapons make it clear that war is our subtext and whether it is the internal disagreements of life’s decision-making or real war, these little figures are a way for the psyche to play; to imagine the impact of combat.

Now home from the war, wracked by a long life at sea, some of the faces are gnarled, chewed on, abraded by the sand. When we looked into their tiny faces we were amazed by their expressions. Each soldier is a poignant reminder of the ravages of war and the extremes to which nations will go to preserve dominion over the petrochemical world. Is plastic still cheap when the cost of war is added to the calculation?