The civil war in Mozambique lasted 16 years. It finished in the 1990s but its legacy lives on even 20 years later. Too many people are still armed to the teeth and more than three quarters of the population live on less than £2 a day. Poverty + Guns = Danger
The civil war in Mozambique lasted 16 years. It finished in the 1990s but its legacy lives on even 20 years later. Too many people are still armed to the teeth and more than three quarters of the population live on less than £2 a day. Poverty + Guns = Danger Many children have played with a gun, and suffered a dreadful accident.
In Mozambique, after the civil war, many people kept a gun for protection. And many children had accidents with guns. The Bishop of Maputo’s friend Desantos lost his leg in a land mine accident
Bishop Dinis of Maputo sat in his Cathedral and cried while the Bible was read out. He had seen children with land mine injuries ~ one foot blown off, one hand only. The mental scar of having shot a friend by accident. There were perhaps 2 million guns in private hands after the civil war ended
The Bishop cried because of the vision the Prophet Isaiah had 2700 years ago. The prophet saw people turning swords and spears into tools, and leaving war behind, making peace.
He heard the biblical 2700 year old vision of peace from a Jewish prophet: ‘They shall beat their swords into ploughs. They shall study war no more.’ But it wasn’t happening in Mozambique. After praying and crying, he had an idea. He asked one of Britain’s largest charities for £50 000 to spend on second hand bicycles, garden tools and sewing machines.
An envelope through every letterbox in Britain and Ireland, and donations from a few pence to many pounds add up to £15 000 000 raised in a week. So Christian Aid sent £50 000 to Maputo to buy second hand sewing machines, garden tools and and bicycles.
‘They shall beat their swords into ploughs. They shall study war no more.’ Working with young people from the city college on drama courses, Dinis publicised the swap he was able to offer through street theatre. Effective in a non-literate culture. Bring your gun, no questions asked, leave it here, take something you can use to make peace.
Artist Kester created these AK47 Chairs. “No –one’s getting shot with these weapons; rest instead of fighting.”
The Bishop sent over 50 of the art works back to Britain for an exhibition on London’s South Bank. An auctioneer, who supports Christian Aid, gives his time freely to the art exhibition. The funds amount to more than the original grant. The images retell the story. The money buys more sewing machines.
The Tree of Life is the latest piece of art from the project, made entirely out of guns such as AK47s, Walther 42s and British 4.85mm pistols. It stands three metres high and weighs around half a tonne Adelino, Fiel, Hilario Nhatugueja and Kester with their peacemaking art
The tree of life Symbol of faith Fulfilment of the Prophet’s Vision from 2700 years ago And the Bishops’ vision from 10 years ago
Tracey (8) says: “Make a difference like the camel, slow but tireless.”
Jessie (9) has made a peaceful icon. Anyone can turn swords into ploughs, icons of war into images of peace
Who’s the hero? • Bishop Dinis? • Isaiah the Prophet? • The Auctioneer? • Kester the sculptor? • Everyone who took in a gun? • The Christian Aid Collectors? • Every person who put £1 in the red envelope?
Global aid charities from different religions Muslim Aid http://www.muslimaid.org/Islamic Relief http://www.islamic-relief.com/Hindu Food Relief http://www.foodrelief.org/Sewa International http://www.sewainternational.com/Tzedek - Jewish action for a just world http://www.tzedek.org.uk/Christian Aid http://www.christian-aid.org.uk/Tear Fund: Christian http://www.tearfund.org/Buddhist: The Rahula Trust http://www.rahula-trust.org/rahulatrust.htmRokpa UK: Buddhist http://www.rokpauk.org/Sikh: Khalsa Aid http://www.khalsaaid.org/ All images reproduced by kind permission of Christian Aid