Peace starts within

Earlier this week, I attended an amazing brainstorming session for ‘Walk of Truth’, an NGO which aims to raise awareness among people of different ethnic, religious and national identities about the value of cultural heritage in all its forms. I plan to write more about this at a later post, however, I would like to share a quote which acted as great food for thought and discussion by Kathy Barrett, a fellow participant: ‘Peace is a process and it starts within until we bring peace to the world.’ As part of the brainstorming, one of the stories I shared was about a presentation I attended about a year ago… In his presentation which was part of the project UNCOVERED., Palestinian curator, Jack Perkesian, showed how artist Mona Hatoum, used Nablus soap as a medium to depict the division of Palestine. At the 2004 World Economic Forum, Perkesian explained how they used soap bars from Nablus to create a wall which was the backdrop to the stage. At the end of the event, the artist called the audience to take a soap bar with them… the result was heart breaking…. People were tearing the soap bars out of the wall giving a message of PEACE to put an end to this ‘separation’. Take a few moments to read the below. I hope it touches you as deeply as it touched me…
It’s not just for washing your hands: By Jim Quilty, Daily Star staff
BEIRUT: During the 2004 World Economic Forum, held that year at a Dead Sea resort in Jordan, organizers commissioned Palestinian curator Jack Persekian to engineer a Palestinian Cultural Evening. When the designer-branded WEF delegates assembled, they found a stage decorated with an installation made from thousands of bars of Nabulsi soap. Its curious design
was comprised of a meters-high wall, punctuated by cylindrical towers topped with flood lamps. When the event ended, delegates were invited to come up on stage and take a bar of soap from the wall. It would be a memento, they were
told, of the ceremonies. Many did. Persekian’s depiction of this incident was the climax of “Nablus Soap,” his illustrated talk at the Beirut Art Center Wednesday evening. As his photos documenting the event clicked past on the screen behind him and chuckles arose from his audience – one photo finds Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa inciting a small avalanche as he gleefully yanks down a soap bar –  you couldn’t but speculate how many of the assiduously non-partisan delegates were aware of the politics of their gesture.

About Mahi S

I was born on the island of Cyprus in 1971. For years, I lived the life of a nomad: I grew up in the Arab Gulf, finished high school in Cyprus, then went to the U.S. for five remarkable, life-changing years of study and work in public relations. With every change of home, I was confronted with the challenge of separation and the issue of identity, but ultimately the rewarding experience of interacting with people of different cultures has informed my life ever since. It inspired me to create an ideal setting wherever I found myself, to live meaningfully and use passion as the main ingredient in my life. I run to keep myself motivated and to fire the kind of creative thinking that keeps me balanced and content. But it’s also an ongoing challenge: since 1999, I have completed 17 half-marathons, which I try to run in a different city every time. In fact, running and travel are the two pillars of my life philosophy: “Travel is fascinating, whether it’s about a series of mesmerizing destinations or a journey within myself”. “Running keeps me sane, motivated and focused!” Right now, I am focusing on promoting my new book, ‘A squirrel in your kitchen’ an e-cookbook with quick, easy and delicious recipes (and anecdotes) from dearest friends around the world. I am also hoping to experience the fascinating challenge of a full marathon in 2016; in Athens or New York. We’ll see!

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