Mahatma Gandhi 1869-1948
Gandhi's book, My Experiments with Truth, tells of his internal struggles
and remarkable triumphs. He was an inspiration for many of the people in this
series and continues as an inspiration for many others in the world today.
Another timely book is A Man to Match his Mountains: Badshah Khan Nonviolent
Soldier of Islam by Eknath Easwaran. Timely because, as American forces persist
in Afghanistan, it is important for us to understand the Afghan people and
their culture. This book says a great deal to educate us in that respect. Khan
and Gandhi formed a deep friendship based on their dedication to nonviolence.
A devout Muslim, Khan’s story is one to ponder, as well.
We can learn much about the Afghans at a time in their history when nonviolence
was unpopular. However, Badshah Khan chose nonviolence out of his dedication
to the deepest aspect his faith and out of true respect for Gandhi. I wanted
to create a sculpture of Badshah Khan but was unable to due to limited finances.
Since I could not, I wanted to mention him in this book in hopes that I could
inspire you to read Eknath Eswaran’s book. You will learn of the treasured
independence of the Afghan people, their culture, and commitment to nonviolence
that this man embraced.
Pondering the life of Gandhi, I remembered how meditation and contemplation
were most important to him, so sculpting him with eyes closed in meditation
symbolizes his deep spirituality and commitment to internal guidance.
Please visit www.gandhiinstitute.org, as there is much to learn there.
"Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is
mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity
From: The Forgotten Woman by Arun and Sunanda Gandhi
“Numerous books have been written about the legendary Mahatma Gandhi, the
man who freed India, but little nothing the woman who shared his successes
"Known simply as “Ba- Mother,” to millions of people in India she is truly
the forgotten woman, whom history has side-lined. The woman who shared Gandhi’s
loves his sorrows, his triumphs and his tragedies. Together since childhood
she knew the flaws and the human frailties of the man behind the legend.
"They say that behind each great man there is a woman; But Kastur was not
the woman behind the man. She was the one who stood by his side, even being
imprisoned with him on several occasions. She overcame many obstacles as she
gave up a life of wealth for one of utter poverty.”
"Our painstaking research confirmed that she played a significant role in
the struggle for India’s freedom and in the “making of the Mahatma.”
Quotes from Mahatma Gandhi about his wife and women:
“I learned the lesson of nonviolence from my wife. Her determined resistance
to my will on the other hand, hand her quiet submission in the suffering of
my stupidity involved on the other hand, ultimately made me ashamed of myself
and cured me of my stupidity.”
"I have put all my hopes in women. I strongly feel that the ultimate victory
of nonviolence depends wholly on women. I believe the strength which women
possess is given them by God Hence they are bound to succeed in whatever they
Links to more about Kasturba Gandhi:
Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929-1968
I heard the story of how Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife made a trip
to India to study Gandhi’s methods for their movement for equality. Therefore,
King was then my next choice. I have been truly inspired by his actions, speeches,
books, and definitely his courage. When I read any speech of his, I much emotion
arises in my heart. Such a gifted orator and writer. How grateful we should
all be that this man chose to give his life to the cause of equality for the
American negro, inspiring so many and opening hearts and minds.
When I started, I didn’t know that Dr. King is a particularly difficult subject
to sculpt. One of my mentors, master sculptor Christopher Pardell, later shared
that insight with me. Christopher was a great asset to me. From him, I learned
how to make molds, a necessary skill for a sculptor. He even let me use his
studio for my work. His expert guidance and generosity was an offering of his
Read more at www.TheKingCenter.org
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
“Everybody can become great because everyone can serve.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mother Teresa 1910-1997
Next, I created a sculpture of Mother Teresa, an Albanian Catholic nun known
for her work with Hindus. I thought about the important impact of her life
and knew she belonged in this series for many reasons. She upheld nonviolence
by honoring the humanity in all people, no matter that their religious beliefs
differed from her own. Serving humanity from the heart, so naturally and with
such passion, is a quality shared by all my subjects; in her, it was a well-known
trait. She spoke about the importance of compassion, service and great love,
and she lived what she spoke.
A copy of the Mother Teresa sculpture is in a hospital in Los Angeles. I donated
it to a group of Carmelite nuns I happened to meet one day, walking down the
street. I gave them the sculpture, and they decided to place it in the hospital
were it could inspire people to look at their difficulties through Mother Theresa’s
"Love has no meaning if it isn’t shared. Love has to be put into
action. You have to love without expectation, to do something for love itself,
not for what you may receive. If you expect something in return, then it
isn’t love, because true love is loving without conditions and expectations."
"People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive
them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior
motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful
friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere
people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. What you spend years
creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway. If you find serenity
and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today,
will often be forgotten. Do good anyway. Give the best you have, and it will
never be enough. Give your best anyway. In the final analysis, it is between
you and God. It was never between you and them anyway."
Chief Joseph 1840-1904
My next sculpture was of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, who was loved, respected,
and reputed as a supremely honorable man. The story of Chief Joseph and his
tribe is a horrific one, like so many in that time, but the Nez Perce had a
tradition of nonviolence and peace. Joseph's given name is Hinmatoowyalahtq’it,
which translates to “Thunder Traveling to Higher Areas.”
After the sculpture was completed I contacted the Nez Perce tribe and offered
to donate a copy in bronze. Unknown to me, a visitor center was opening up
on the Lolo Pass in Idaho, six weeks later. The tribe was delighted to receive
this gift and place it in the new center. I brought the sculpture to the opening
personally, and it was received with great joy. I had the opportunity to meet
some important tribal members and descendants of Chief Joseph. The Lolo Pass
Visitor Center has become a stopping place for adults and children to reflect
on the story of the Nez Perce and I am told by the Visitor Center staff that
the sculpture is a favorite of visitors. Such a delight for me to hear! I hope
you will take a journey there someday in remembrance. It is a beautiful part
of our country.
My favorite books about Chief Joseph are The Nez Perce Indians and the
Opening of the Pacific Northwest by Alvin M. Josephy, Jr. and That
All People May Be One People, Send Rain to Wash the Face of the Earth by
Chief Joseph. There are many more worth reading as well to honor and remember.
"I am tired of talk that comes to nothing. It makes my heart sick when
I remember all of the good words and the broken promises. There has been too
much talking by men who had no right to talk. Too many misrepresentations have
been made; too many misunderstandings have come up between the white man and
"If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian he can live
in peace. There need be no trouble. Treat all men alike. Give them the same
law. Give them all an even chance to live and grow. This earth is the Mother
of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it."
Link to more about Chief Joseph:
USDA Forest Service
H.H. The Dalai Lama
From Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama
“Dalai Lama means different things to different people. To some it means that
I am a living Buddha, the earthly manifestation of Avalokiteshvara, Bodhisattva
of Compassion. To others it means that I am a “god-king.” During the late 1950”s
it meant that I was a Vice President of the Steering Committee of the People’s
Republic of China. Then when I escaped into exile, I was called a counterrevolutionary
and a parasite. But none of these are my ideas. To me “Dalai Lama” is a title
that signifies the office I hold. I myself am just a human being, and incidentally
a Tibetan, who chooses to be a Buddhist monk.”
Please take the time to read this book if you haven’t as yet. You will understand
his life in a new way, and find deep respect in your heart for one who chooses
compassion and joy over blame and anger.
Six million Tibetans where killed when the Chinese took over Tibet. Something
that you don’t hear about, and it is an honoring of the deceased that seems
to me to take place when you read this story and an honoring of a life lived
for compassion. However, if you have read this book, then perhaps you understand
the respect I feel and the reason I added H H The Dalai Lama to this series.
Link to more about the Dalai Lama:
Cesar Chavez 1927-1993
Cesar Chavez, born in the United States with Mexican heritage, was not only
inspired by Gandhi but also committed his life to following Gandhi’s methods.
He completely embraced the cause of nonviolent action for the benefit of his
fellow farm workers.
This quote from Chavez exemplifies his philosophy:
Non-violence is a very powerful weapon. Most people don’t understand the
power of nonviolence and tend to be amazed by the whole idea. Those who have
been involved in bringing about change and see the difference between violence
and non-violence are firmly committed to a lifetime of non-violence, not because
it is easy or because it is cowardly, but because it is an effective and very
I have read much about this remarkable man and learned many things that helped
me create this sculpture. Chavez loved a particular leather jacket with a pin
from the United Farm Workers. He also had a special shirt that he was fond
of, one that his mother gave to him. I sculpted Chavez wearing that shirt,
jacket and pin. It was my way to connect with, not just the humanitarian, but
also the man who loved his family. Chavez’ family chose to sacrifice much during
his time of service, as have the families of many great peacemakers. That type
of loving support is one of the essential keys to their success.
Links to more about Cesar Chavez:
Danilo Dolci "The Gandhi of Sicily" 1924-1997
In one of my foundry classes, I met a man from Sicily. I told him I was sculpting
a series of people that had been inspired by Gandhi. “Oh,” he said, “How about
Danilo Dolci? He was called the Gandhi of Sicily.”
I had never heard of Dolci, so with that trusted recommendation I read
Fire under the Ashes: the Life of Danilo Dolci by James McNeish. It had an
immediate impact on me. I wondered why I had never before heard about this
amazing man and his life. Here, I thought, was a monumental story to share,
one of untiring dedication to the poor of Sicily and to nonviolent action.
Dolci is a humanitarian in the highest sense. He was nominated for the Nobel
Prize in Literature and wrote many books about his work; The World is One Creature
is one of my favorites.
I wrote to the Dolci Trust, an organization maintaining his work and honoring
his life, to offer them a copy. Eventually I received a wonderful reply: We
are so delighted to get this email. We have wanted a sculpture of Dolci for
many years, but have not been able to acquire one. Will you come to Sicily
as our guest at the celebration of his coming to our town 50 years ago? What
a surprise and delight to have this opportunity! Who knew?
"It is senseless to speak of optimism or pessimism. The only important
thing to remember is that if one works well in a potato field, the potatoes
will grow. If one works well among people, they will grow. That's reality.
The rest is smoke."
Meena, Heroine of Afghanistan 1956-1987
I unexpectedly received a call from an old high school friend. She told me
about a book she had just read about an incredible woman named Meena. The book
was Meena: Heroine of Afghanistan by Melody Chavis. I read it and
immediately knew Meena would be my next sculpture.
If you are concerned about terrorism, hatred, and mistreatment of women,
or wish for a deeper understanding of the courageous women of Afghanistan,
this is the book to read. As the founder of Revolutionary Association for the
Women of Afghanistan, the first human rights organization for women in Afghanistan,
Meena is a perfect model for public service. Her sacrifice for others was the
utmost: her life.
I was deeply touched by Meena's story and the women who have followed in
her footsteps. I created this sculpture to honor her memory and the women of
RAWA. I wrote to RAWA and informed them I would be making a sculpture of Meena
for my series. Very swiftly, I received a reply with approval. They sent me
photos of Meena to work from, and I sent back photos of my progress. When the
sculpture was finished, I emailed a final picture of the bronze. Their response
was fantastic, an email written in huge letters that read, WONDERFUL, LOVE,
KISSES AND HUGS for your great work. We are speechless.
It has been most rewarding bringing Meena's story to the attention of others,
notably the OHSU School of Nursing at Southern Oregon University, which invited
me to talk about Meena’s work creating desperately needed hospitals in Afghanistan.
From that visit many nursing students read her book. Can you imagine my delight
and amazement at how these sculptures bless my life with joy and gratitude?
Not only for the lives of the people I am sculpting, but also the impact, and
inspiration their lives continue to have.
In the Meena sculpture, you will notice a slight raise in her right shoulder.
In the main photo I chose to replicate, she has her arm raised in a victory
salute. Sadly, it would have been too costly to create the entire gesture,
so I ask you to try to imagine that victory salute.
Peter Benenson 1921-2005
After my visit to Sicily, I traveled Italy for another two weeks and met a
lovely couple that had worked as volunteers for Amnesty International for many
years. I told them I was looking for subjects from different countries and
cultures for my series, and they suggested Peter Benenson, founder of Amnesty
International. Benenson, being from England, allowed me to represent another
new country in my series. Thank you, Patricia and Walter (and, of course, your
daughter for giving up her room for me!). Your suggestion was brilliant.
When it was time to start sculpting, my mentor, Christopher Pardell, said,
“Meera, you need to work smaller. If you want to continue this series, you
will need to make some money to continue.” He also pointed out that most people
can’t afford—nor particularly want—a life-size sculpture in their homes. Therefore,
working with a harder plastaline clay, I decided to sculpt on a smaller scale.
I display the sculpture of Benenson with a candle wrapped in barbed wire,
the symbol for Amnesty International.
“On May 28 1961 I wrote an article in The Observer newspaper which gave birth
to Amnesty International. It began with these words: Open your newspaper any
day of the week and you will find a report form somewhere in the world of someone
being imprisoned, tortured or executed because his opinions or religion are
unacceptable to his government. The newspaper reader feels a sickening sense
of impotence. Yet if these feelings of disgust could be united into common
action, something effective could be done. Pressure of opinion a hundred years
ago brought about the emancipation of the slaves. Pressure of opinion is now
needed to help Amnesty International achieve its ultimate objective: to close
for business. Only then, when the last prisoner of conscience has been freed,
when the last torture chamber has been closed, when the United Nations Universal
Declaration of Human Rights is a reality for the world’s people, will our work
Mairead Corrigan Macguire 1944 -
and Betty Williams 1943 -
Now, for practical purposes, I continued working on a smaller scale. The next
country represented would be Ireland. The story of the Peace People founders,
Mairead Corrigan Maguire and Betty Williams, is a heart-wrenching one. Mairead's
sister, Annie, was walking down a street with her three children. An IRA bomber
driving by was shot at by British police. The car went out of control and hit
the family. Annie was pinned her to a nearby fence with a broken pelvis and
two broken legs. Her children were killed in front of her.
One wonders why it takes such violence to mobilize people, but in this case,
it certainly did. Maguire and Williams organized a movement, the Peace People,
to stand up to the violence that had been tearing Ireland apart for years.
Through group marches, made up mostly of women, Maguire and Williams took a
stand for Peace. They marched with Catholic and Protestant women, a controversial
act at that time. Despite threats and harassment, they all stood together for
a common cause. In time, their efforts decreased the violence in Ireland by
fifty percent, earning these two women the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976.
The story of the Peace People is one that could be told in many countries
today. I hope that, in reading about them, you will find inspiration towards
some type of action—to speak out and to help others living in violent conditions.
Please learn more about this heartbreaking story and of how it changed the
lives of thousands. Visit www.peacepeople.com
“All of need to take responsibility for the worlds violence and, like Gandhi,
pledge our lives to the nonviolent transformation of the world in order to
resolve these insane cries through the wisdom of nonviolence.”
Mairead Corrigan Maguire
“God doesn't start wars. That's the greatest load of nonsense. Mankind starts
wars. But then we bless armies to go and kill in God's name. Somebody's got
to blow that myth out of the water.”
Dr. Albert Schweitzer 1875-1965
Dr. Albert Schweitzer had great foresight in planning his life. He studied
to become an accomplished musician, earning doctorate degrees in music, theology,
and philosophy, yet he still managed to fulfill his required military training.
At thirty, while still in school, he decided to study medicine and dedicate
the rest of his life to serving humanity. After graduating from medical school,
he created the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Gabon, Africa.
Dr. Schweitzer's story may leave you inspired just by knowing a man lived
with such depth of spirit. His commitment to live with “Reverence for all
Life” in these days of environmental breakdown is a timely reminder worth
pondering daily. His example can teach us much about the rewards and joy of
Schweitzer’s autobiography, a best seller in it's time, is called Out
of my Life and Thought. You can also learn more about this man and his work
“The scientist should not live for science alone, nor the businessman
for his business, nor the artist for his art. If affirmation of life is genuine,
it will demand from all that they should sacrifice a portion of their own lives
“I knew that a system of values which concerns itself only with our relationship
to other people is incomplete and therefore lacking in power for good. Only
by means of reverence for life can we establish a spiritual and humane relationship
with both people and all living creatures within our reach. Only in this fashion
can we avoid harming others, and, within the limits our capacity, go to their
aid whenever they need us.”
Links to more about Albert Schweitzer:
Dr. Marshall Rosenberg 1934 -
Dr. Marshall Rosenberg is the founder of the Center for Nonviolent Communication.
I met him through Annie Muller, a dear friend of my husband. Marshall has played
a special role, in not only my life but also the lives of hundreds of thousands
around the globe. He has traveled around the world for over forty years, sharing
the tools for nonviolence through communication. His book, Nonviolent Communication:
a Language of Life, which is dedicated to Annie, has been translated into twenty
languages. My husband, Alex, and I took several of Marshall’s classes;
many times over the years, we have found his methods to be invaluable to both
our personal relationships and our internal dialogs—how we speak to ourselves.
He taught us to serve Life by making our choices based on what brings us joy.
Alex is still a Certified Trainer, as was I until I took time off in order
to work on this series.
I cannot imagine living without these tools:
Empathetically listening: observations, feelings, needs, requests
Honestly expressing: observations, feelings, needs, requests
Sounds very simple. However, this philosophy calls for observation without
evaluation, owned feelings, and realistic expectations. These teachings also
address what Marshall considers the true, basic human needs: acceptance, affection,
security, stability, and authenticity, among others. These tenets teach us
to give from the heart, never from a should, ought to, or have to. Simple?
It takes true commitment to live this way, but the rewards are well worth the
I highly encourage you to check out the Center for Nonviolent Communication's
Albert Einstein 1879 - 1955
Albert Einstein is renowned for many scientific breakthroughs, but his statements
on nonviolence are equally inspiring. Creating this sculpture came from reading
about how Einstein and other scientists spoke out against using the atom bomb
on Japan. They were convinced that a demonstration of the bomb’s power,
without damage to human life, would be sufficiently effective. They, of course,
were not successful in their protest, but they did their best to stop this
Einstein was no stranger to the ugly side of discrimination, and he rejected
biased attitudes. His words, often uplifting and thoughtful, prompted me to
add him to this series.
Learn more at www.nobelprize.org
“Human beings are a part of a whole called by us the ‘Universe’,
a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and
feelings, as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion
of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us
to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles
of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more
violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move
in the opposite direction.”
“Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.”
“We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used
when we created them.”
John Muir 1838-1914
John Muir was the first president of the Sierra Club and has a fascinating
life story. He did not work for nonviolent social change in the usual ways,
but I believe his dedication to saving environmental beauty merits adding his
life and works to this series of humanitarians. Beautiful places of nature
are often sources of peace and improved spirit. John Muir’s wisdom and
vision for preserving these places is a nonviolent contribution that shall
benefit generations to come. His life story is fascinating, traveling
by foot across the United States he fell in love with the beauty of this country. Preserving
the treasures of this country, natures cathedrals created a life mission.
Two informative websites are www.johnmuir.org and www.sierraclub.org
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray
in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul.”
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to
the rest of the world.”
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace
will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their
own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop
off like autumn leaves.”
“Keep close to Nature’s heart...and break clear away, once in
awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit
Nelson Mandela 1918 -
and Desmond Tutu 1931-
Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu have lived for a passionate cause—freedom
from apartheid. I dearly wanted to add them both to this series because of
their deep understanding that violence is not the answer to the long-term question
of people living together respectfully and harmoniously. Mandela’s autobiography,
The Long Road to Freedom, gives insight into Mandela’s life and his commitment
to humanitarian work. The life of Desmond Tutu shows a true understanding of
what it takes to make real social changes in the midst of very difficult circumstances.
The struggle for change was long and tiresome, with many years of imprisonment
for Mandela and constant work by Tutu and many others to keep peace. In the
end, their efforts brought freedom and humanitarian shift in a country ravaged
by apartheid. Without their constant vigilance, this terrible circumstance
could have been much more horrifying. But with wisdom, insight, and dedication
over long years, change did occur.
The sculptures depict Mandela and Tutu together on Inauguration Day, a victory
for them and all the blacks of South Africa, a time of great rejoicing.
“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”
“Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every
time we fall.”
“The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to
do nothing. If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
See: www.tutu.org and www.nelsonmandela.org
Sister Chan Khong 1938-
Choosing Sister Chan Khong for the series came unexpectedly. There was a notable
Vietnamese population in Los Angeles, so I wanted to sculpt someone from that
culture, particularly for the interest of Vietnamese schoolchildren. My choice
was Thich Nhat Hahn, a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. However, when I went
to see him at his Deer Park Monastery, a mishap had me arriving too early.
While waiting for the meeting, I took the opportunity to visit the monastery's
bookstore. There, I came across the book Learning True Love: How I Practiced
Nonviolent Social Change by Sister Chan Khong. After reading Sister Chan
Khong's book, it became clear to me that her story needed to be told. Happily,
both she and Thich Nhat Hahn liked my idea to add a sculpture of her to the
I believe that this sculpture carries the energy of her dedication to others,
energy that has weathered much adversity but which has grown into deep compassion.
Her book tells of her nonviolent humanitarian work under extremely violent
of conditions and of how she managed to keep an open, compassionate heart in
spite of it all. She continues her humanitarian work to this day.
“If we just worry about the big picture, we are powerless. So my secret
is to start right away doing whatever little work I can do. I try to give
joy to one person in the morning, and remove the suffering of one person
in the afternoon. If you and your friends do not despise the small work,
a million people will remove a lot of suffering.”
Sister Chan Khong
“For Sister Chan Khong [True Emptiness] working for social change and
helping people are sources of joy for her. The love and concern that underlie
her work are deep. True Emptiness is also true love. Her story is more
than just the words. Her whole life is a dharma talk.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
Tariq Khamisa 1975-1995
I heard about the Tariq Khamisa Foundation from a friend who knew of my sculpture
series and recommended I read Tariq's father Azim Khamisa’s book,
Azim’s Bardo: From Murder to Forgiveness a Father’s Journey. It
is one of the most powerful stories I know of that demonstrates true forgiveness
in difficult circumstances. Khamisa’s personal journey took place following
the murder of his only son, Tariq, by a fourteen-year old gang member. This
tragedy led to an extraordinary act of forgiveness, and the founding of the
Tariq Khamisa Foundation. Azim and Ples Felix, the grandfather of the boy who
murdered Tariq, made the decision to start an organization that protects children
at risk for gang violence.
I had a difficult time deciding whom in this story to sculpt. It would be
natural to honor Azim Khamisa or Ples Felix, but ultimately I choose Tariq—the
precious son whose life was lost.
Please learn more at www.tkf.org
“The United States is arguably the greatest of all nations. But a
child is arrested here for a violent crime every five minutes. Guns on
the streets of the United States take the life of one of our youths every
hour and a half. It chilled me to think of how many parents were wearing
the same cloak of grief I was. Where were our priorities?
"We have such wealth, such ability, such achievement. Each week we push
back daunting frontiers, we look to the ends of the universe through our
telescopes. We stretch technology to communicate instantaneously anywhere
in the world. We penetrate the secrets of the atom, the depths of the ocean.
We design and build massive construction projects in miraculous time frames.
We transplant organs and end Cold Wars. With some readjustment in priorities,
couldn’t we add, 'stop kids from killing other kids' to our impressive
list of accomplishments? Wouldn’t it be worth trying?”
Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo
The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo formed during the Dirty War, a seven-year
period of state-sponsored violence against dissenters, when thousands of people
were abducted by the Argentine government. The Mothers donned scarves, embroidered
with the names of their “disappeared” children, and met each week in the Plaza
de Mayo. Walking in a circle of silence, they strengthened the protest for
many with missing family members.
“This meant transforming anguish into action with a universal voice, a demand
not only about the search for their children but for the rights of all human
beings. Today we know that those kerchiefs in the street stopped the disappearances
and there are many Argentineans who owe their lives to these Mothers circling
the Plaza de Mayo.”
Antonio Elio Brailovsky
The Mothers continue to help many in Latin America. There are many websites
and books about their unique commitment to justice, as well as a moving documentary,
Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo. I think anyone that learns this story will
be struck by their immense bravery and their unique way of speaking out without
aggression. I, myself, was moved into creating this sculpture. There were fourteen
women in the founding group, so I created my first bas relief of those women,
wearing the white scarves that signify their organization, circled around the
May Pyramid in the Plaza de Mayo.
The Circle in silence
we the women in dark clothes, with dark looks
the women who walk in the circle,
myself a woman, myself a mother,
in Adriana's name, Pablo’s name, in Raquel's name,
for my son, for my daughter.
Circle of Love Over Death
“We think that to be able to tell the truth, as difficult as it might be,
to be able to face the powerful without violence, to face them as we do, gives
us strength, a different kind of power, and not their kind.”
Las Madres of the Plaza de Mayo
The film "Las Madres: The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo"