Heyoka and i have launched our thousand cranes project. To find out more go to http://1000cranes.net .
Starting means, after a bit of planning and discussing, we now go out and talk to people about peace. It means we, er, actually approach people, and ask them to write the word 'peace' on a square sheet of paper. Then we promise to fold them into cranes.
The idea came from our wondering about ways to broadcast people's wish for peace. We have both been marching in London, attending some vigils, and talking to activists in the area. Pictures of the masses of marchers on Feb. 15 went around the world, and covered the front pages of the national newspapers. We were also marching in representation of other people who couldn't attend the marches. We decided to use another way to represent these millions of people, and the thousand cranes idea fit.
First, there is a tradition of folding a thousand cranes for peace, which people all over the world have done since the 1950s.
Adding to the tradition, the word 'peace' personally written by a thousand different people will show that there is a movement out there, represented by more than the marchers. It will take these people less time to write the word than to write to their MP, or their local newspaper, but it would show that these people probably would be more vocal if asked or encouraged.
It starts a conversation, that could start a thousand more. It means I have to practice what i preach: if I believe that my government should always strive for nonviolent solutions to word problems, then I should find how I can play my part in it. I can do this by talking to people about it, and trying to have an informed response to any argument for violent actions.
Part of the Stop The War Movement has been gathering various other organisations together. From the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament to the Socialist Workers Party to the Stuckists and the Slacker Generation, all were marching for peace. The 1000 Cranes project is the same, taking all people who want peace together.
The great thing about folding cranes is that it can be done during slack time: while watching a movie, listening to the radio, going over the newspaper, even in the bath. Once you get the process down, it's almost second nature. The folds don't have to be perfect: wonky cranes have more character than precision cranes. So really, the only 'work' is talking to people, which isn't too hard, is it.
Well, I do have a lot of trepidition about that. I remember the 'first' gulf war, and how opinion was divided between 'dude, like, no blood for oil!' and 'Love it or leave it, peaceniks!'. There was very little discussion about the why and effects, about what was truth and what was propaganda, about ways to stop dictators and superpowers without a hell of a lot of innocent people killed.
I have fears that this war-- which is illegal, deadly and bloody-- will spawn more. Because, since there were people who were silent, the US and the UK feel they got away with it. I was too silent when Afghanistan was bombed. Not enough of us said, 'no'. And we need more people to realise they have a voice, instead of letting the ones with the bigger guns get away with murder.
When America and Britain started up their campaign in Afghanistan, I spent my energy growling at the newspaper. Ranting and raving to heyoka, who ranted and raved the same things back. We've been doing the same in the past few months, but also started being more active about it, contacting the local Stop The War group and attending their meetings and vigils. Now, instead of preaching to the converted, we will find out if there are more people who want peace instead of war.
Maybe this project won't work. Maybe it's the wrong approach. But we have to try. I don't like feeling as if I've stood by without standing up to be counted.
If you have any ideas for this project-- various groups to send information about it to, ways to get the word out, etc-- or want to get involved, please /msg me or heyoka or, better still, email 1000cranes at 1000cranes dot net.