“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it begets more violence. With violence, you can murder the hater but you just increase the hate. Hate cannot drive out hate. Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that; only love can drive out hate.”
– The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
With the unprecedented emergence of civil unrest around the world images of massive, coordinated efforts by diverse populations gathering in the streets to make themselves heard by the powers-that-be have been presented to us by the media as never before. These efforts have been met by governmental violence and suppression of civilian rights in shocking ways.
I chanced upon the following story this morning and was stunned by the simple beauty and courage of this response to violence and hate.
In 1992 an artillery shell killed twenty-two innocent civilians standing in a bread line in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Vedran Smailovic, a former principal cellist for the Sarajevo Opera, responded by donning his tuxedo, bringing his instrument to the bomb site and performing alone for the next twenty-two days as the shelling continued. Twenty two days, amid shrapnel and sniper fire, Smailovic played; one day for each of the twenty-two friends and neighbors who had been killed.
In 1997, after hearing this story, 10-year-old Jason Crowe, was moved to action. He is working to create a tribute to the spirit of the Bosnian people in the form of the Children’s International Peace & Harmony Statue, to be shipped to Bosnia as a gift from peace-loving people around the world, especially children.
“We will inherit the new millennium and we must voice our desire for peace and show the world we are willing to work for it. The statue itself will be our voice giving us a way to shout, ‘Never again must mean never again’.
The Children’s International Peace and Harmony Statue will depict and honor: 1. The spirit of all Bosnians who have lived through or died in the madness of ethnic cleansing; 2. The spirit of harmony that cries on like a lone cello in a world full of violence which refuses to listen; and 3. The spirit of children around the world who want peace and harmony, not war and genocide, as their legacy in the new millennium.
For more information or to support Jason’s project go to: