The Peace Sign
Copyright 2020 by Rani Jayakumar
©Peace sign courtesy of Funguerilla.com
I grew up in GenX - but
embraced, through my parents, all the ideals of the hippies:
environmentalism, peace, women's empowerment, civil rights, and beyond.
This article began as an exploration of the popular symbol of peace and
you know that the peace sign was originally created as a protest
against nuclear bombs? The semaphore symbols for N and D - for
nuclear disarmament - were put together to create
this design in the 50s.
find this really interesting for multiple reasons - as usual, partly
to do with the words.
nuclear disarmament is something I think most ordinary humans would
agree is good (though it often doesn't seem that way). As the
daughter of a nuclear physicist, I see the value in science and
progress in many areas but even those who invented the science behind
the atomic bomb warned that it should not actually happen
Nuclear disarmament is about nations of the world agreeing not to
hurt one another, putting down their weapons and calling, "truce."
Sometimes I feel that is the way it is in my house - we rise up at
the smallest hurts, fists and words at the ready, but then
miraculously find a way again to be with one another in peace.
I love the word "disarm." While disarmament means getting
rid of weapons (also something I stand by), someone who is disarming
can make others feel at ease. In fact, Webster's
defines it as "to deprive of means, reason, or disposition to be
hostile." This is the peace I long for - removing hostility from
myself and others, finding ways to be together.
as the article discusses, the peace symbol has so many conflicting
origins and meanings - some say it is anti-Christian, others
anti-Semitic, still others pro-Communist. It reminds me that, like
all things, the good in our lives can come from a tragic history, but
we have the power to reinvent what we see. We can take the symbols of
oppression and turn them into freedom. We can take our own failings
and turn them into strengths.
can create space, just as we can create peace.
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
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