Friday, July 28, 2006

War is still not Healthy for Children and other Living Things

You don't have to be a mom to know the wisdom of this simple iconic message and image.

vintage collectible WAR IS NOT HEALTHY for children and other living things peace art signs shirts posters jewelry pendants earrings

The another Mother for Peace logo, (above) is the iconic folk art image of a sunflower with the words, "War Is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things," was created by Los Angeles artist Lorraine Schneider in 1967 and became an instant classic.

Background: In 1967, at the height of the Vietnam War, television writer-producer Barbara Avedon invited 15 women to her house to take a stand against the conflict raging in Southeast Asia.

Lorraine Schneider, the daughter of Russian immigrants, grew up in the L.A. neigbhorhood of Boyle Heights, was schooled in non-violence, and became an artist and print-maker. She created "Primer," the original image which was to become Another Mother for Peace's logo, for an art competition. The original was only four-by-four inches.

In an introduction to a book of Schneider's art work, Avedon wrote, "On February 8, 1967, fifteen friends met at our house to discuss 'doing something' about the war in Vietnam. We wanted to do something that would communicate our horror and disgust to our elected representatives in one concerted action.

"We were not 'bearded sandaled youths,' 'wild-eyed radicals' or dyed in the wool 'old line freedom fighters' and we wanted the Congress to know that they were dealing with an awakening and enraged 'middle class' voters, precinct workers, contributors. We decided to send a Mother's Day card to Washington. We would print and distribute one thousand letters of protest that said in a very ladylike fashion:

For my Mother's Day gift of this year,

I don't want candy or flowers.

I want an end to killing.

We who have given life

must be dedicated to preserving it.

Please talk peace.

"Lorraine had given our family an etching of 'Primer' some months prior to that meeting. Its eloquent, irrefutable, sunflower truth said it all for us. I called Lorraine and asked if we could use 'Primer' on the face of the card. She said, yes, and one thousand became two hundred thousand cards. And because of her genius Another Mother for Peace was born."

The book was Lorraine Art Schneider, 1925-1972, An Illustrated Catalogue of her Graphic Work.

Schneider died in 1972 at 47.
Maybe it's time to revive the simple but powerful gesture of sending thousands, maybe millions of those cards again -- to the warmongers in the white house, elected officials (wherever you live, whatever country you hail from) ... as a simple message that we are sick of their continued use of violence (while using their empty, disingenuous rhetoric of peace).

All that rhetoric about peace, democracy on the march to justify brutalizing other human beings while obscuring their primary goals: oil profits, multi-national corporate profits, military industrial complex profits ... and all the power that goes with controlling weapons, profits, profit-making systems -- and of course that dynamic is a lock-and-key fit combined with all variations of religious fanaticism -- also about power and control over others, with profits as a benefit and tool to expand their goals.

Brutal violence as a means to achieve peace -- how contradictory is that?

Hat tip for the excerpts -- full article from the Santa Monica Mirror -- read all at CrosbyCPR.

You can still buy the highly sought after collectible and vintage versions of the original 1960s & 70s peace activist era War is Not Healthy for Children & Other Living Things T-shirts, posters, jewelry, pendants, Another Mother for Peace stickers, cards, etc at various places online including, as well as peace signs and symbols on jewelry, belly rings, watches, clothes, shirts, studs, earrings, bracelets, posters, and more.

Note: I think new non-vintage ones are also available at leftist, progressive bookstores and the Another Mother website, too.

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At July 28, 2006 12:29 PM, Blogger Fistandantalus said...

Maybe I'm old fashioned but peace to effect peace doesn't seem to be working so well either.

At July 28, 2006 1:22 PM, Blogger BZZZT said...

I hear your frustration and understand your initial skepticism. But I want to go deeper into what all this war-making/war-mongering/war-profiteering really says about us as a so-called 'civil society.'

Frankly, I simply don't see any evidence that "peace to effect peace" is happening on any level commensurate with the efforts to wage war -- nor with the 'collateral' destruction, violence, havok being effected anywhere, especially in the middle east (but let's also look at our own domestic backyard -- they're connected, obviously).

Ever notice how much better financed the war machine in all its iterations and components (infrastructure, tools, staffing, technology, personnel, budget, intentionality, energy, efforts) is than peace efforts?

What in the world might happen if we consciously, intentionally decided to invest (or re-deploy) the same money, technology, ingenuity, efforts, energy, hearts, minds, souls into creating peace and nonviolence instead of war?

Then I would agree that 'peace to effect peace' was truly occurring and then I think we could judge whether it was truly working or not.


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