|Message from USA|
|from prof. Tom Anderson at Florida States University|
|Why? Why, oh why? And how could this be? From a clear blue, sky hijacked terror ripped through steel and metal, tearing a hole in thousands of lives and in the scrim of complacency of so-called civilized people everywhere. People getting on planes to see loved ones or do business as usual ending up as charred remains in what was the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. Fifty-seven years ago people looked up at a single plane over Hiroshima. They saw an immense flash and their lives were gone, or changed forever. I visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial fifty years after the bombing. The aged who survived were there too, with their burn scars and cancers, breathing with the help of oxygen. And there will be people who went to work in New York today who will breathe with oxygen tanks for the rest of their lives. They're the lucky ones who lived through it. And of course we remember Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Cambodia, the Balkans, Rwanda. It is a long list indeed, too long.
Why, oh, why? How can people commit genocide? How can they believe it's right and good to destroy each other? Where does this drive to war come from? Maybe it's ignorance. May be it's as simple as lack of understanding. Lack of understanding that all human beings are worthy of lives filled with love and work and family and reward and the pleasures of old age. To build bridges of understanding between the world's peoples, through developing trust and good will in the hearts of its children---the future leaders of our small planet---is the goal of Kids Guernica, "Children painting peace". Children love to paint. And they love being together. While participating at the workshops, they paint, they play. And they build bridges.
It is easy to draw platitudes, across cultures, such as the one that goes, "we are all alike under the skin" if only we can understand each other. But a close examination reveals we aren't all alike. We have differences as well as similarities.@But this shouldn't be enough to hate, to despise, to discriminate and kill each other. We can and we must learn to understand and accept, respect, and sometimes even love each other. The approach we used to develop and implement the International Children's' Guernica Peace Mural Project uses real-life content and real-life concerns that have a real impact on the children and adults who participate. The goal is to build this bridge of understanding between us. The vehicle, not the end but the vehicle, is art. The goal is to foster peace.@In other words, to save the world, through art.
Is it too grand to claim that the world can be saved through instruction in art? Probably so. But let me reverse the question and ask if not through art then through what? Through the arts that we develop the sensibility, the unifying sense, the direction, in short the ability to use our tools and abilities. Let me repeat then, if the world cannot be saved through art then through what?
So in spite of set-backs---or maybe especially now, more than ever because of them---we look to this next reincarnation of this important project, opening soon on the spine that looks down on all of Europe, with high hopes and dreams of peace for the future. A big and long exhibition, to which we entrust our hope for peace. It's a future that rests with our children, and in some small way we, hope with this KIDSf GUERNICA Children's Peace Mural Project to build a bridge of peace, with hands across borders and good will across cultural barriers, one understanding and one trusting relationship at a time. There is still more healing to be done in this world. What better place to start than with our children?