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La Pietra Dialogues On the World On-Line
The Seeds of Nonviolence: An Exhibition of Posters of Peace
Vittorio Pallotti
La Pietra Dialogues
April 2, 2011

From a simple idea (the ‘seed’), a project follows; from a project, sometimes a struggle, a nonviolent reality (the ‘plant’) can be born, often is born, which can grown into a large tree with an abundance of fruit and seeds that produce other plants and other trees when they fall to the ground or are intentionally planted, becoming the foundation for new forms of life. And no one, I believe, can deny that nonviolence is a form (and what a form!) of life. It is not by chance that Gandhi wrote that famous phrase, “The means can be compared to a seed, the end to a tree: between the end and means there is the same inviolable relation as between the seed and the tree”, reversing the Machiavellian conception that “the ends justify the means” in a way that allows you to truly arrive at your goal (you can’t achieve peace with arms!).

With the exhibition “The Seeds of Nonviolence” we have tried to show, using a selection of 50 posters from our archive, the initiatives, the ideas, and the people who have planted, and still plant, the true ‘seeds of nonviolence”; ‘seeds’ that we have divided into 7 different types (obviously not exhaustive) that represent the vast and complex reality of peace and nonviolence at different historical moments.

The seven sections are:

  1. Conscientious objectors
  2. Nonviolent action
  3. Education for peace
  4. Social and civil service volunteers
  5. Productive reconversion
  6. Public square and street demonstrations
  7. Alternative defense

The number of posters per section varies from a minimum of 4 to a maximum of 12. Each section is preceded by an explanatory note.

“The seeds of nonviolence” was born out of a previous exhibition that took place in 1996, which we called with a similar but more generic title “The Seeds of Peace”. We wanted the new exhibition to deal more specifically with nonviolence, so we chose a new mix of posters and increased the number from 35-40 posters to 50 posters. The most important addition is a guidebook for students and teachers, which we didn’t have for the “The Seeds of Peace” exhibition.

We are in the “Decade of Education for Nonviolence: 2001-2010” proclaimed by the United Nations in response to a call by all previous Noble Peace Prize winners. Since its first viewing in Casalecchio di Reno (Bologna) in 2003, we have wanted the exhibition to be part of the numerous initiatives that have taken place across the globe to bring this “Decade” to life.

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