- Peace symbols
A peace symbol is a representation or object that has come to symbolize
peace. Several different symbols have been used throughout history, of which the dove, olive branch, and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmamentsymbol (the peace symbol) are perhaps the best known.
Dove and olive branch
Judaism, Christianity, and Islama white doveis generally a sign for peace. The Torah, The Old Testamentand The Korandescribe a story in which a dove was released by Noahafter the Great Flood in order to find land. The dove came back carrying an olive branchin its beak, telling Noah that the Great Flood had receded and there was land once again for Man. ( Genesis8:11).
The motif can also represent "hope for peace" and even a peace offering from one man to another, as in the phrase "extend an olive branch". Often, the dove is represented as still in flight to remind the viewer of its role as messenger.
in their "Gunstar" logo.
Shalom and Salaam
Hebrewword " Shalom" (Hebrew: hebrew|שָׁלוֹם), and the Arabic" Salaam" (Arabic: rtl- _ar. سلام) have been used as peace symbols. Shalom and Salaam literally mean "peace" and are cognates of each other, derived from the Semitic Triconsonantalof "Ś-L-M" (realized in Hebrew as Š-L-Mand in Arabic as S-L-M). They have come to represent " Mideastpeace" and an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Wall plaques and signs are sold with both the words and are featured in such such as "Salaam (Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu)."
In recent years, especially in connection with the
2003 Invasion of Iraq, there has been a surge in popularity of the Peace flag, a series of seven rainbowcolors (red on bottom) with the word PACE ("Peace" in Italian and Romanian, derived from the Latinword "pax", pronounced "pah-chay") boldly printed across the middle. The more recent usage originated in Italy. In most of the world, however, the rainbow flag (red on top) is most often connected with gay pride. The usage of the rainbow can either be tracked back to pacific coexistence of different people, or to the rainbow that God showed Noahat the end of the Biblical flood, as a token of the covenant that He made between Himself and mankind, that He would not again destroy the entire world with a flood (Genesis 9) [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%209%20;&version=9;] . The flag in its current shape appeared as early as September 24 1961, in an Italian peace march. It had previously featured a dove drawn by Pablo Picasso. [http://www.elettrosmog.com/bandieradellapace.htm] The flag is often flown from balconies in Italy by citizens opposed to the Iraq war. Its use has spread to other countries as well, with the Italian "pace" replaced with its translation in various other languages.
Amnesty International, producer Franco Belsito had produced only about 1,000 flags annually for 18 years, and suddenly had to cope with a demand in the range of millions. [cite web|url=http://www.amnesty.no/web.nsf/pages/494DD08999FC10CEC1256D3D00328635 |title=Det nytter! |accessdate=2008-03-22 |date=2003-06-06 |publisher= Amnesty International|language=Norwegian ]
The "V-sign", also called the "peace sign" and the "victory sign," is a
hand gesturewith the index and middle fingers open and all others closed, facing the viewer. Originally strictly a sign for victory, it developed into a peace sign during protests against the Vietnam War(and subsequent anti-war protests) and by the countercultureas a sign of peace. Because the hippiesof the day often flashed this sign (palm out) while vocalizing "Peace", it became popularly known through association as the peace sign. Originally, however, its symbolic meaning was "love"; signing "love" and saying "peace" was a hippie anthem and mutual greeting. John Lennonand his wife Yoko Onolater made "Peace and love" an ongoing theme in their relationship and public personae, even conducting a public "bed-in" (a parallel construction to a favorite hippie theme event during the 60s and early 70s, the " love-in") in Queen Elizabeth Hotelin Montreal, Canada, where they refused to leave their hotel bed.
The peace symbol
This symbol (☮) was originally used for the
Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War(DAC) and was adopted as its badge by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament(CND) in Britain, and originally was used by the British nuclear disarmament movement. It was subsequently adopted as an international emblem for the 1960s anti-war movement, and was also adopted by the countercultureof the time. It was designed and completed February 21 1958by Gerald Holtom, a professional designer and artist in Britain for the April 4march planned by DAC from Trafalgar Square, London to the Atomic Weapons Research Establishmentat Aldermastonin Englandcite web
title = A Piece of Our Time
url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1725969,00.html
accessdate = 2008-04-02] . The symbol itself is a combination of the semaphoric signals for the letters "N" and "D," standing for Nuclear Disarmament. In semaphore the letter "N" is formed by a person holding two flags in an upside-down "V," and the letter "D" is formed by holding one flag pointed straight up and the other pointed straight down. These two signals imposed over each other form the shape of the peace symbol. In the first official CND version ("preceded by a ceramic pin version that had straight lines, but was short lived") the spokes curved out to be wider at the edge of the circle which was white on black. [The CND symbol. Hugh Brock Papers. http://www.brad.ac.uk/library/special/cwlhbp.php] cite web
title = The CND logo
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
url = http://www.cnduk.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=435&Itemid=131
accessdate = 2008-04-03]
Holtom later wrote to
Hugh Brock, editor of Peace News, explaining the genesis of his idea in greater depth: "I was in despair. Deep despair. I drew myself: the representative of an individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya's peasant before the firing squad. I formalised the drawing into a line and put a circle round it."
The peace symbol flag first became known in the United States in 1958 when
Albert Bigelow, a pacifist protester, sailed his small boat outfitted with the CND banner into the vicinity of a nuclear test. The peace symbol button was imported into the United States in 1960 by Philip Altbach, a freshman at the University of Chicago, who traveled to Englandto meet with British peace groups as a delegate from the Student Peace Union(SPU). Altbach purchased a bag of the "chickentrack" buttons while he was in England, and brought them back to Chicago, where he convinced SPU to reprint the button and adopt it as its symbol. Over the next four years, SPU reproduced and sold thousands of the buttons on college campuses. By the late 1960s, the peace symbol had become an international symbol adopted by anti-war protestors of the Baby Boomergeneration. cite book|title= Peace: The Biography of a Symbol | author= Ken Kolsbun with Mike Sweeney| publisher= National GeographicBooks | sate=2008-04-01 |ISBN =9781426202940 |url=http://peacesymbol.com | accessdate=2008-08-28]
Unicode, the peace symbol is U+262E: ☮, and can thus be generated in HTMLby typing &#x262E; or &#9774;. However, many browsers will not have a font that can display it.
The original drawing of the CND is housed in the Peace Museum, U.K. [ [http://www.peacemuseum.org.uk/ The Peace Museum, Bradford ] ] in
Bradford, England, where a replica is on public display.
The fact that the symbol resembles a bird foot in a circle gave rise to spurious alternative interpretations, ranging from plain mockery of "
crow's foot" or "The footprint of the American Chicken" (suggesting that peace activists were cowards) to a number of occult meanings, such as an upside down crucifix with the arms broken downward, suggesting the way that St. Peter was martyred (see Cross of St. Peter), or a representation Jesus on the cross upside-down. This broken cross of Christianity was commonly conjectured as an antichristsymbol in the 1960s. Others have claimed that the symbol resembles a medieval sign known as " Nero's Cross" that represents Christian heresy. [cite web | url=http://www.docspopuli.org/articles/Fist.html | title= The origin of the Peace Symbol | work=Docs Populi | accessdate=2008-03-21 ] [ [http://www.nisbett.com/symbols/peace_sign.htm Christian Resource Centre: Peace Sign] ] [cite web | title=Subdivision bans peace sign Christmas wreath | date=2006-11-27 | publisher= Associated Press| url =http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15912456/ | work = MSNBC| pages = | accessdate = 2008-03-22 | quote = Homeowners association threatens to impose $25-a-day fine ] [cite news | first=Kirk | last=Johnson | coauthors= | title=Pro-Peace Symbol Forces Win Battle in Colorado Town | date=2006-11-29 | url =http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/29/us/29wreath.html | work = New York Times| pages = | accessdate = 2008-03-22 | language = ] Alternatively, some have suggested that the symbol is an inverted Elhazrune, which would reverse the rune's meaning, according to the critics, from 'life' to 'death' (although the Elhaz rune is thought to mean "elk" [cite book| last =Plowright| first =Sweyn| authorlink =| coauthors =| title =The Rune Primer| publisher =LuLu| date =2006| location =| pages =pp.18,123| url =| doi =| id =ISBN 1847282466] ). Gerald Holtom's explanation of the genesis of the symbol and his first drawings of it, however, do not support those interpretations.Ken Kolsbum, a correspondent of Mr. Holtum, says that the designer came to regret the symbolism of despair, as he felt that peace was something to be celebrated and wanted the symbol to be inverted. [cite news | first=Kathryn | last=Westcott | coauthors= | title=World's best-known protest symbol turns 50 | date=2008-03-20 | publisher= | url =http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7292252.stm | work = bbc.co.uk| pages = | accessdate = 2008-03-20 | language = ] The peace symbol was also believed by some to represent a swept-wing bomber, the type that would be used to deliver a nuclear weapon.Ironically, a nearly identical symbol was used by the Nazi German 3rd Panzer Divisionduring World War II. [Panzer Divisional Markings. [http://www.germandressdaggers.com/Panzer%20Section%20Divisional%20markings%201%20to%203.htm]
Richard M. Spencer, late of the
World Wildlife Fund, creatived much unexpected derision when he utilized the symbolfor their marketing campaign"Have you hugged a pandatoday?" which featured a drawing of a panda holding a peace sign. The posters were made during the height of the Vietnam conflictand turned off many would be supporters. They were redone with the panda holding his arms out instead.
White Poppywas first developed in 1933 by the Women's Co-operative Guildas an alternative to the Red Poppies used to commemorate British military dead. The newly-formed Peace Pledge Union(PPU) joined in distributing them in 1934, and white poppy wreaths were laid "as a pledge to peace that war must not happen again. In 1980, the PPU revived the symbol as a form of remembering the victims of war without glorifying militarism. In 1986 UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcherexpressed her "deep distaste" for the symbol. [Bill Hetherington, "Symbols of Peace", Housmans Peace Diary 2007]
Other peace symbols
Origami craneis a well-known symbol for peace.
Some unique items have come to symbolize peace. For example, the
Japanese Peace Bellwas a gift from the UN Association of Japan to the United Nations, presented to them in 1954. The bell remains at UN headquarters and is struck yearly, in remembrance for peace.
Pax Culturasymbol, created by Nicholas Roerich has also been used as a peace symbol.
"Guernica", a painting by
Pablo Picasso, has also been associated with pacifism. Although it was not conceived by the author as a representation of war's horrors, its depiction of the Nazi Bombing of Guernica is now considered an iconic anti-war statement.
* [http://www.peacesymbol.com The biography of the Peace Symbol by Ken Kolsbun] - PeaceSymbol.com
* [http://www.peacesymbol.org A tribute to the Peace Symbol and the Peace Sign] - PeaceSymbol.org
* [http://www.kolahstudio.com/Underground/?p=71 Peace symbols Part I] - peace signs and images (author: Arash Vahdati)
* [http://www.kolahstudio.com/underground/?p=72 Peace symbols Part II] - peace signs and images (author: Karan Reshad)
* [http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a2_149.html What is the origin of the peace symbol?] (from
The Straight Dope)
* [http://humanpeacesign.org/ International Human Peace Sign]
* [http://www.bekejel.net/index.php?loader=oldal&page=jelek Live peace symbols] - in 30 country, 60 location
* [http://www.happybirthdaypeace.com Happy Birthday Peace] - celebrating 50 years of Gerald Holtom's peace symbol
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7292252.stm World's best-known protest symbol turns 50] - BBC News
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