One by one, the paper cutouts of people were ingested by the
machine -- the "Bush War Machine," a cardboard contraption, which,
when someone cranked it, spewed out the cutouts as coffins to
illustrate discontent with American policy. Crosses dotted the grass
next to the coffins.
"It's great," said Ben Savill, as he surveyed the device, which on
its front were the words imperialism, religious fundamentalism and
globalization. "I'm from London and it's good to see so many people
here questioning the government and doing it in such a dramatic and
The Citizen Peacebuilding Program at UCI, which researches,
educates and acts in support of grass-roots efforts to prevent
violence and promote peace around the world, sponsored the one-day
Although it would have been nice to attract a larger crowd, the
first effort felt like a success, said Shelley Baker, a UCI employee
and one of the festival organizers.
"We look forward to next year and want to invite more
participation, more booths and hopefully get more of the community to
come," she said. "Definitely, there was a good vibe here. So it would
be great for others to experience and enjoy it. There's so much
information to educate themselves on how to promote peace."
The festival was the brainchild of author Jonathan Schell, who has
worked with the citizens' program in the past, Baker said. Schell
spoke Saturday on the topic of "New Paths to Peace -- Redefining
Jim Leonard, who attended a lecture by Rama Vernon, a founding
member of the Center for International Dialogue, on the topic of
peace and consciousness, was moved by her eloquence.
"She was telling stories about her international relations and
peacekeeping efforts with small countries that were in conflict and
how she resolved it and how both sides were hugging and drinking
together afterward," Leonard said.
One of the musicians, Cheryl Procaccini, whose performing name is
Cheryl Medicine Song, sang her new single "I Pledge Allegiance" -- a
potpourri of patriotic songs with a peaceful outlook.
"It kind of spins verses from patriotic songs into a new paradigm
for America and the world," Procaccini said. "It's different than our
old way of using the military and force."
About 40 community organizations set up booths to promote their
peace-making activities. Among them were Students for Peace and
Justice, the Pacific Center for Positive Living and the World Divine
Light Organization, which promotes purifying the soul to remove
negativity to help lead a peaceful life.
"By giving purification, a person feels less stressed and more
peaceful," member Paul Driskell said. "By [doing this] on a
one-to-one basis, it can make the world more peaceful."
* DEIRDRE NEWMAN covers government. She may be reached at (949)
574-4221 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.