A Peace of Picasso

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guernica

My first glimpse into the horrors of war did not come until after college. On a surf trip to the Basque Country of Spain, I asked a local friend what I should do since the waves were flat. He said I should go visit Guernica.

“Why would I go there?” I asked.

“It’s the city depicted in Picasso’s painting,” he said raising both his hands high in the air.

I had no idea what he was talking about. I never took art history at UC Santa Barbara. To tell the truth, all I really cared about as an undergrad was getting “some tasty waves and a cool buzz.”

When I finally saw a print of Picasso’s painting, I buckled at the knees. Something about the look on the horses face captured my attention. This was the first time I had thought about war from the perspective of innocent civilians. I had loved war movies my whole life. From Tora, Tora, Tora to Platoon, I had seen them all. Yet all these films were from the point of view of the soldiers. Like most American boys, I played war as a child, Risk as a teen, and first person war video games as a young adult.

Walking around the Basque countryside near Guernica, I could feel the surprise, dread, shock, and suffering of those innocent villagers who were the first to be bombed from the sky. Suddenly, war didn’t seem so cool anymore.

Phan Thi Kim Phuc napalmLater in life, I saw those same expressions of dread, shock, and suffering in the photos of a Japanese mother holding her dying daughter after the bombing of Hiroshima and in the photo of 9 year old Phan Thi Kim Phuc after a napalm attack in Vietnam.

Then in 2001, I felt those feelings myself after the 9/11 attacks. Once again art, this time in the form of spoken word poetry, forced me to empathize with the victims of senseless violence. Listening to Suheir Hammad I started to realize that the real enemy is not a Muslim, a Nazi, a Red Chinese, or even a terrorist. The real enemy is hatred. The real enemy is war.

“Affirm life, Affirm life.”

A friend of mine has a three-types-of-people saying: “Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who say ‘What happened?'” I think about the confusion in the eyes of those who have been innocent victims of warfare and I know I have to be someone who makes things happen. I never want my wife, my sons, or anyone, for that matter, to ask in confusion “what happened?” as they hold the hands of the dying.

Bloggers for Peace is my way of making things happen. If I could paint like Picasso, I would create a new Guernica. If I could write like Suheir Hammad, I would spit my poetry of peace on every street corner. Instead, I blog, but my intentions are the same:

“Affirm life. Affirm life.”

Thank you for reading, sharing, and/or smiling.

How do you “affirm life”? Please share.

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66 comments on “A Peace of Picasso

  1. Jueseppi B. says:

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat.Com™ and commented:
    Bloggers Foe Peace. Please get involved.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thanks for the reblog and more importantly, spreading peace, Jueseppi. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

      • Jueseppi B. says:

        I would like to enlist your help with something if you believe you are

        interested and can help a just cause. I am working with

        freetheirp6.org and a-justcause.com, 2 organizations involved with

        fighting a legal injustice done to 6 businessmen from Colorado. These

        6 businessmen have been tried, convicted and imprisoned all because

        they invented a software program the federal government and the

        “big boys”, such as IBM, wanted. These 6 businessmen are now in

        prison, snatched from family and their lives, for being brilliant and

        following their American dream.

        I am asking you to blog about this injustice done these 6 men. This

        subject may be off topic from what you normally blog about. The

        reality is this could happen yo you, me and anyone who stands up to

        the United States Government and our corrupt judicial system. No

        One Is Safe.

        I have written a series of 3 post about this case found here:

        http://theobamacrat.com/2013/05/18/free-the-irp-6-this-could-

        happen-to-you/

        I am asking that if you agree with this cause please use all or part of

        this 3 blog post series. I’m not interested in you using my name, using

        the name of TheObamaCrat™ or linking back to my blog. This is not

        about personal recognition but about freeing these 6 men. PLEASE

        feel free to copy & paste what you need from my blog post or from

        the Free The 6 web site located here: freetheirp6.org. You can find

        links to the original articles I used in my initial post here:

        freetheirp6.org. The web site spearheading this project to free these

        6 men is : a-justcause.com.

        I thank you in advance for whatever help you can give us. If you decide this is not your fight or that it is outside the scope of your blog, I fully understand.
        No hard feelings & ♥ ❀ ✿ Namaste ❀ ✿ ♥

        #FreeTheIRP6

        Thank You.

  2. Actress Isabella Rosselini talked about that second photo and how the naked girl inspired her performance in this pivotal scene in the movie Blue Velvet. She said, rather than be walking around proud or comfortable naked, her character was a victim of rape and should seem hold her body ashamed, in a confused and scared manner.
    I always found that interesting. That she took inspiration from such a horrible incident and understood how that poor little girl must’ve felt.
    Anyway, this is a wonderful bit of writing, Kozo.
    The real enemy is hatred indeed. I was having such a crappy day today but this somehow made me realize, there are much worse things going on elsewhere & I need to buck up & get over it.
    *Hugs for that*
    & P.S. Thanks for the pingback.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I love the Rosselini story, DDiW. Glad this post made you feel better. We are all blessed to be living in a relatively peaceful time. But I would not advise you to “buck up and get over it.” You have a right to your feelings. I wish I could hug them away for you. Here is a try: {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  3. ” The real enemy is hatred. The real enemy is war.”
    That made me cry, and you are so right.

    Thanks for caring and for caring enough to speak up. May others light their candle from yours.
    Z

  4. I do the same as you, man. First I observe, I form an opinion and I share it in hopes that others will feel inspired to do the same.

    Love, just like hate, can spread like wildfire. And that’s what I would like to happen.

    Change our way of thinking: respect yourself, respect each other and each others differences.

    I want dignity and respect to be people’s number one priority again, like it’s supposed to be, money isn’t everything.

  5. Stuck Sucks says:

    Reblogged this on Being Stuck Sucks and commented:
    Granted, I’m having an emotional day, but this made me cry… I still need to find my way to make things happen.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      {{{Hugs}}, Being Stuck Sucks, for the reblog and for the emotional day. I hope we can continue to trust in the Universe to make beauty, joy, and peace happen in our lives. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  6. Alison says:

    We can’t stop war by hating war. We can only have peace by loving peace. And by affirming life!
    I think the best way I affirm life is by not interfering, by letting myself ‘be done’, by letting life live itself rather than me trying to live life. The more I get out of the way the better it is.
    You are doing all that you are meant to be doing K, you are being perfectly and wonderfully yourself, you are affirming life. Thank you for spreading that energy out into the world. Every little bit helps.
    ((((((hugs)))))) Alison

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      “Loving peace” and “affirming life.’ check/check. Letting life live itself. check. Get out of the way. check. Be yourself. check. What a great check list for a peaceful life. Thank you, Alison. {{{Hugs}}} kozo

      • Alison says:

        Okay so now I’ve listened to the video. Holding back tears. It happens every time. Every time there is affirmation of the truth, of the goodness of people, of people caring and opening their arms and their hearts to each other I am a puddle. Spending a lot of time just with Don, we’re not very sociable, I forget that there’s a whole world of big-hearted caring honest authentic people out there all willing peace and affirming life. Thanks K for reminding me xoxox

      • Kozo Hattori says:

        Suheir Hammad is amazing. Yes, there is a whole world of “big hearted caring honest authentic people out there willing peace and affirming life.” Thank you for being one of them, Alison. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  7. KM Huber says:

    Maybe if we would all look within, we would see our connection to one another as this beautiful post so artfully demonstrates. Count my tears with all the rest for truly the art of peace is in the beating of the open heart, which is the same color for every human being. The video is stunning, Kozo, but nestled among your stirring words of love, it rises rather like a phoenix so reminiscent of your work for peace. As I have said many times, my friend, your commitment to peace inspires each one of us to do just a bit more even when we think we can’t. Truly, this post is one of your finest, and of those, there are many.
    KM

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thanks, Karen, for reading and watching the video. I was inspired by the David Foster Wallace video you posted yesterday.
      Your words are encouraging and inspirational because your attention and presence shines through them. You see through all the Maya. You see what my deepest intentions are, even if I am distracted by delusion. You help me aim my purpose to where I’ve always wanted to go. Thank you, my dear friend. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  8. Beautiful, Kozo! …and thanks for the pingback. I love the title of your post 🙂 tomas ☼

  9. Tracy says:

    This is a really moving post Kozo, words and sentiments to inspire us and make the world kinder, more compassionate and harmonious overall. Thank you for setting up bloggers for peace, we should never underestimate that the power of a few committed people can change the world. You change it for the better every day and I love you for having the courage to stand up and do that. Sending you a very big hug, Tracy

  10. […] A Peace of Picasso (everydaygurus.com) […]

  11. theINFP says:

    If you’re ever near Barcelona, a short trip by train can take you to Figueres, home of the Dali Theatre Museum. A municipal theatre gutted at the end of the Spanish Civil war http://www.salvador-dali.org/museus/figueres/en_historia.html

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I’m adding it to my bucket list, Robert. It looks amazing. I saw a Dali exhibition in Paris. His Crucifixion painting is one of my favorite. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  12. Thanks for a most engaging piece. In talking about your own childhood, you reminded me of mine. It seems terrible now, but in far away New Zealand, we too played war games all the time, pretending to shoot each other. We didn’t understand what war really was, quite obviously: the rules were that if shot, you had to ‘be dead’ for five seconds, then you got up and carried on.

    In those days (1970s), it was always World War II we played, interestingly, not Vietnam. The kids next door were half-German and we were both thrilled and terrified when their grandfather came to stay. He had been a soldier in the German army in World War II—he was “a real Nazi”, our friends said. We were horrified, but tried to catch glimpses of him to see if he really was a monster.

    War play was considered normal and was even encouraged. We also played “cowboys and Indians”, which now seems awful to me as well, though I’m sure we meant no disrespect. As you also note, these types of childhood games were no doubt inspired by American and British movies of the time. We had all the stirring music from the war movies, too. Being part of the British Commonwealth, it was always British versus some European country’s army that we played. I remember we had our own version of the song Rule Britannia, in which we sang the words the way we heard them. I realised many years later that we had been singing it wrongly. It is not ‘Britain never, never, never will be saved’!

    Now, so many years later, I look back on our war games with mixed feelings, but mostly through the rosy glasses of sentimentality. This is because my brother died at a young age (17), so all I have of him is the childhood memories. Funnily enough, I don’t think constant playing of these types of games affected me at all. I didn’t turn into a warmonger, an aggressor or a bully. I don’t even like war movies any more and go out of my way to avoid them and other violent movies.

    • Oh, and thanks for the pingback too, Kozo.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      We played the exact same games as kids, Caron. I would argue that they shaped you less because you were a girl. You might have been playing the games, but at a certain point you must have realized that all the soldiers you saw were men. I never got that disconnection. I continued making models of bombers and fighter planes into my teens. Then I started watching all the violent war movies that I could. I even checked out books on war and bought the Time/Life World War II series. Like I’ve written before, I lost a lot of empathy and compassion in my youth. Thank God for artist like Picasso and Suheir Hammad who reawaken compassion in my heart. Thank you so much for your honest confessions of childhood. I hope to teach my sons a new way to play, but I’m not sure what that looks like. Have a wonderful weekend. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

      • Interesting. Perhaps it was a subconscious reaction. I guess a girl playing war games in those days was not in any way being groomed to actually go to war, whereas you could argue that boys were. Worth more thought. I wonder if there’s any research on this.

  13. Catching Happy says:

    Hello!! I have nominated you! http://catchhappy.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/oh-happy-days/ Be Blessed and Stay Happy!!!

  14. C.K. Hope says:

    Kozo, Excellent post! Suheir Hammad, I had never heard of her before. Thank you for posting the video, it is amazing.

  15. diannegray says:

    Another amazing post, Kozo. I grew up in an era where parents and grandparents thought war was ‘honorable’. I remember when I was very young and sitting at my kitchen table having dinner, purposefully placing some of my food into a napkin on my lap. My parents were talking about the Vietnam war and how it’s only the ‘cowards’ who won’t go and fight. At the table were my four elder siblings and my younger sister. We all listened quietly to my parents who were totally unaware that we had hidden several conscientious objectors under our house. They were friends of my older brother and we would sneak food down to them every night after dinner. It’s amazing how I (and my siblings) grew up knowing the evils of war, even though my parents tried to convince us otherwise. Things can change in one generation {{{hugs}}}

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Dianne,
      That is such an amazing story. I was wondering what you were doing putting food in your napkin. Again, you demonstrate empathy, wisdom, and compassion even as a very young child.
      Yes, so much can change in one generation. My goal is to make changes in myself to empower my sons and their peers to make global changes.
      Thank you for spreading peace down under even when you were a child. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

    • Many Little Drops says:

      Wow! I don’t know if I would’ve had the guts to do what you did. Wonderful inspiration!

  16. It is sad that sometimes people can be so totally consumed by hatred. It is chilling to the bone…love should counteract that. We all have to keep spreading love and kindness…it is imperative. Keep shining kozo!

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I’ve found that one of the best ways to cultivate love is to hug. I venture to guess that you would agree, Michelle. Thank you for spreading the love with your presence and hugs. {{{Hugs}}}Kozo

  17. I remember these pictures as many people do, If we spent half the budget we spend on war on peace the world would be a very different place.

  18. Many Little Drops says:

    In Italy, in the Appennine Mountains, I saw several war memorials in small towns. Memorials to WW I & II — at least 3 of them had some of the imagery from “Guernica” incised into or part of the memorial sculpture. They also had the names of people from that area who had died in those wars. It was very moving. That is one powerful painting (I’ve never seen the whole thing) — & to be fully visually literate it is an image we should all know.

    Let us create peace, together…………..

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I agree that we should all know the Picasso painting, Shala. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they taught a section in school called The Art of Peace. They could focus on all art that has to do with peace.
      I would love to see those war memorials in the Appennine Mountains. My first trip will be to the peace memorial in Hiroshima, Japan.
      Thank you for creating peace. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

      • Many Little Drops says:

        The Art of Peace –That would be a great world tour, wouldn’t it?

        The local library is doing a community project — making 1,000 origami cranes to send to Hiroshima. I’ve done dozens of them so far ……….. it feels good to be part of even a tiny effort toward international peace & blessing.

  19. bloomlisa says:

    I am so happy to come across your post for more than one reason I wrote an essay on Guernica in Art History while in University many moons ago and your post brought back so many memories. I too believe that adding darkness to the darkness will never bring about light. Continue to spread messages of love!

  20. Thank you for this beautiful post Kozo. It is good to be reminded of how blessed we are to be here, not only alive, but free . Like Suheir Hammad said “We are here because others aren’t” . We are here because others fought for the freedom they didn’t have, the one they believed in, for their future generations, for people unborn…. We need to remember that beyond all the injustice we do experience on a daily basis,the invasion of our privacy, the poisoning of our food through GMOs and such, that beyond all that, millions would kill for the beautiful life we live. THAT is were we need to start, the appreciation. That is the foundation , the structure that will allow us to support any other burden that we take on….I cried this morning reading this. But these were good tears…not happy, but understanding. Thank you Kozo, you inspire me and many others. B4Peace is growing and as it grows , we are too , I can feel it 🙂

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I completely agree, PWP. So many others have sacrificed so much for our freedom and prosperity. I am grateful to all those who contribute in ways I cannot even imagine to make my life possible.
      I am touched that you cried “good tears” after reading this post. I am moved to tears every time I hear Suheir Hammad’s poem. I feel blessed that I could share this with you. I can feel us growing as well. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  21. Kozo, these are for you, my heart friend…{{{Mega Hugs}}}

  22. Rohan 7 Things says:

    Great post Kozo! I thought it was particularly profound when in 2003 the UN’s print of Guernica was covered up by the UN during Colin Powell’s appeal to launch a war against Iraq. The world loves to proclaim peace and lament the needless suffering of civilian men, women and children. However when it comes time to “kick ass” peace is literally hidden and covered up.

    States, groups and psychos will do that, however we do not have to. We, as compassionate individuals, can actively choose to keep peace and it’s representations in our consciousness as much as we like and act on it always 🙂

    Thanks for sharing, the fact that the B4Peace movement already gets us thinking about this kind of thing is a testament to it’s effectiveness 🙂

    Hugs!Rohan.

  23. […] Suheir Hammad said in a video I posted a few days ago, “Affirm life, Affirm life.” Everything else is just […]

  24. […] theseeker: Peace is like a river…. Laurie’s Notes: Finding Healing and Peace Through Art  Kozo Hattori: A Peace of Picasso  […]

  25. Geo Sans says:

    picasso’s

    most revalent painting

    ~

    a voice

    humanity continually

    ignores

    ~

    peace

  26. Sunshine says:

    your words: “The real enemy is hatred. The real enemy is war.”
    i believe in your your words, Kozo, and also, the real enemy for many is pure selfishness and pride. i affirm life hopefully with good thoughts, kind deeds and constantly working to exude radiant life energies as much as possible–especially during times when it is hard to find anything good about the situation. ☺
    ~thank you for sharing and big ☼sunHUGS!!

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