Sunday, September 21, 2008

This Bag Is for Peace

© 2008 Karen Van Fossan

I've been away from home now for nearly two weeks, and it occurs to me that I'm living a double life. Back in Bismarck, I would have spent today, the International Day of Peace, knocking on neighbors' doors (for peace), drumming through the streets (for peace), or circling the state capitol with bubbles (for peace).

Instead, I spent today, the International Day of Peace, in the presence of my mother and an unusual paper bag. We (my mother and I) attended an inspiring peace celebration in the south suburbs of Chicago. Sponsored by Generations for Peace, the celebration included a bass guitar, a couple of maracas, fresh water, a DVD, a dog-eared book, and the unusual paper bag.

A few specs on the bag...

Current location: Flossmoor, Illinois
Future destination: Tehran, Iran
Purpose: World peace

Essentially, we were all invited to write notes to the people of Tehran, Iran, and then drop our notes in the peaceful paper bag. The contents of the bag were unknown to me, mostly. All I could spot were scraps of white paper, earnest notes written by earnest peacenicks, addressed to the people of Tehran.

I'm told they celebrated the Day of Peace in Tehran today. Maybe they pounded drums, surrounding Azadi square with bubbles of peace. Or maybe they did as Generations for Peace did today, right here in Illinois. Sing loudly for peace. Dance circles for peace. Extend the hand of friendship to would-be enemies.

Some of the Illinoisan peaceniks wrote volumes; I watched them fill their paper scraps with inky, reaching words for the people of Tehran.

I wondered, what did they say?
We don't hate you...
Please don't hate us...
We don't want to drop bombs on you...
We're sorry for what the USA might do...

My note was brief.
We wish you lasting peace.
From a mother and daughter in the U.S.

Simple words, far from profound. What could I say to someone I do not know, and I do not hate?

Maybe next year, I'll send bubbles.

P.S. People of Tehran, Iran, held a candlelight vigil this morning in honor of the Day of Peace. In Afghanistan, NATO forces and Taliban forces agreed to a day-long ceasefire, enabling transport of crucial medicines. I am not aware of an official response to the International Day of Peace in Iraq.


Julie said...

I'm glad you were able to spend a Day of Peace with your Mom. I wish I could have been with you. I miss you!!!!!!!

Kathy B. said...

It gives me a lot of hope to see folks so earnestly working for peace. Maybe it really is possible?