22 January 2021 marks the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW): A new historic step towards the abolition of nuclear weapons. Today, 76 years after the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 51 countries (with the exception of France and the other nuclear powers and their allies) have signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The Sentinels of Peace Association supports this treaty and calls for a collective mobilisation in favour of the TPNW.
On 9 August, Jean-Jacques and Marie-France, members of the association’s board, took part in the last action day for peace organised in Cordes-sur-Ciel in the Tarn from 6 to 9 August 2020.
These dates are of course not a coincidence since they correspond to the anniversaries of the bombings of the cities of Hiroshima (06/08) and Nagasaki (09/08) 75 years ago.
First of all, we attended the « readings for peace ». The following texts were read, among others: Sufi poems: Rumi, Attav and Ibn Arabi; Relation: Meeting the Other in oneself and the Self in the Other…; An original text from the Indian chief Seattle to the President of the United States (1854) in « Sower of Hope » by Pierre RABHI; ERASMUS « Complaint for Peace everywhere so much decried » 1517.
On this occasion, Jean-Jacques, secretary of our association, read the poem “We Shall Bring Forth New Life (Umashimenkana)” by Sadako Kurihara written in 1946 after the bombing of Hiroshima and translated by Miho Cibot-Shimma.
These readings were followed by an artistic performance danced by Salud Lopez and Fabienne Larroque.
In the room were also presented works by Françoise Segonds, a visual artist.
Then we took part in a silent march for Peace.
A very interesting phenomenon was the curiosity of the tourists from Cordes-sur-Ciel who came to ask us what we were doing, which allowed us to recall this dramatic historical event of 6 and 9 August 1945 and to pass on a message calling for peace.
And at the end of the day, we left after a very convivial dance finale.
On the occasion of this day we were able to exchange with Mrs Catherine Manuel of the municipal team of Cordes and we have already made a date for next year’s edition for which our association is ready to participate in the preparation. To be continued …
On Tuesday 28th July, Valérie S., a teacher in Seine-et-Marne, met Mr Soriano, Mayor of Lasseran and the headmistress of the village school in order to discuss the possibility of a project on the theme of peace that she would like to set up in her school. Accompanied by her children, Justine and Erwan, we all together visited the achievements of the commune of Lasseran and in particular the Garden of Peace with its Sentinels area.
She was also able to discuss at length with the school director about the projects to be set up with the children. On this occasion, the children of Valérie S. were able to pick back up fallen sentinels of peace in the garden.
At the end of the day, we went to Moissac where she was able to discover the other garden of sentinels of peace. On this occasion, stones could be lifted again. We will of course follow and if necessary accompany Valérie in her project. To be continued …
On Thursday 24th October, the space dedicated to the Sentinels of Peace was inaugurated in the Firmin Bouisset garden in the presence of the Mayor, numerous elected representatives, students and parents as well as the 2MAC association.
All the article (in French) accessible through this link
On January 22nd, two articles about the Peace Gardens of Moissac and Lasséran appeared on the Mayors For Peace (Hiroshima) website, in which our association participated.
We invite you to discover the articles through the two links below. Enjoy reading!
Who then can be the benevolent people of the garden of peace?
It has now been several weeks since we organised the inauguration of the Peace Garden in Moissac, and an astonishing thing happens repeatedly: one or more people pick up the stones that have fallen to the ground, and continuously put the garden back on its feet. A beautiful gesture of peace which touches us particularly, a lesson in citizenship, but above all a beautiful moral. Let them not hesitate to express themselves, because they deserve a big thank you!
In November 2019, on the occasion of a trip to the island of Ishigaki in Okinawa prefecture, Jean-Jacques and Marie-France SIRY, members of the board of the association « Sentinelles de la Paix » were able to meet Mr. Yasuyuki Hazama, director of the Division of Civic Cooperation for Peace, accompanied by two staff members.
In November 2019, on the occasion of a trip to the island of Ishigaki in Okinawa prefecture, Jean-Jacques and Marie-France SIRY, members of the board of the association « Sentinelles de la Paix » were able to meet Mr. Yasuyuki Hazama, director of the Division of Civic Cooperation for Peace, accompanied by two staff members. Ishigaki City is a member of Mayors For Peace and is home to one of the five World Peace Bells in Japan.
We were welcomed in the conference room of Ishigaki City Hall and Mr. Hazama introduced us to Ishigaki City, City of Peace and to this very important point of the city of Ishigaki and which was one of the motivations of our visit, the World Peace Bell. A Peace Bell, melted down in the hope of permanent peace in the whole world, was given to Ishigaki City in 1988. It is placed in the centre of the city in Shinei Park. A second bell, the Smile Bell, made thanks to the generosity of the people of Ishigaki, was installed the same year. To accompany his presentation, Mr. Hazama gave us a set of documents presenting the commitment of the city of Ishigaki to peace.
Then we presented our association and our involvement through various actions in connection with the municipalities that are members of Mayors for peace, for a world free of nuclear weapons. We spoke in particular about our two recent actions in Moissac and Lasséran. We presented and handed a text to Mr. Hazama on our approach and the different symbols present in this approach, in particular those insisting on the necessary transmission of the message of the Hibakusha.
Afterwards, Mr. Hazama invited us to go to Shinei Park where he presented us with the World Peace Bell and the Smile Bell. We were also able to discover the two monumental stones on which are engraved the two Ishigaki Peace City Declaration.
Then, to our great surprise, the suspended wooden beam (Shu-moku – 手木) was installed to ring the Peace Bell and Mr Hazama invited us both to ring it. It was an extremely moving moment and we are both very honoured to have been able to make this gesture.
Then, after a last photo, Mr Hazama took us back to the town hall and we agreed to keep in touch. I took the liberty of proposing, on behalf of our association, to envisage the realisation of a Peace Sentinels action on the Shinei Park at a date to be defined. Finally, I invite you to discover the very beautiful text of Mr. Yoshitaka Nakayama, Mayor of the city of Ishigaki, written on December 10, 2018 on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the installation of the Ishigaki World Peace Bell.
On November 11th, our association took part in the Peace Day in the commune of Lasseran in the Gers department (Occitania). For several years, under the impetus of Mr. Michel Soriano, mayor of the town, and with the active participation of elected officials, teachers and students of the school, without forgetting the inhabitants, the day of November 11th has been focused on the theme of peace in line with the commitment of the town in the network of Mayors for Peace.
This year, the day was organised around several highlights. First of all, the 150 participants left from the Peace Square in the middle of which there is an Olive Tree and all around it, plaques with all the French Nobel Peace Prize winners. Then all the participants went down, with the children in the lead waving the peace flags, for the inauguration of the Peace Garden, with a « Sentinel » area in memory of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a space dedicated to the symbol of peace, another to the story of the birth of the Dove of Peace and the last space on the Rainbow Peace Flag. The presence of Mr Michel Cibot, General Delegate of the Mayors for Peace France and Mrs Miho Shima, Hiroshima’s ambassador to France, should be noted. We must salute the very original idea of the commune of Lasseran to have installed this garden on a hiking trail.
Then, at the war memorial, we were able to listen to four very moving texts. Then the children of the school recited a poem by Paul Éluard and interpreted the song « Nos mains (Our hands) » by Jean-Jacques Goldman.
Then after the convivial meal, we attended the screening of the film « La bombe et nous (The bomb and us) » in the presence of the film’s producer, Jean-Claude Bauduret, followed by a debate.
Looking forward already to next year’s edition
On October 24th, we took part in the inauguration of the « Garden of Peace » in the city of Moissac (Occitania). In line with the town of Moissac’s membership of the AFCDRP (French branch of Mayors for Peace), the town wished to install a « Garden of Peace » organised around an area of Stone Sentinels. The inauguration began with a speech by a member of our association followed by a message from the Mayor of Moissac. Then the participants were invited to erect the sentinels on the dedicated space with this magnificent result.
This operation continued in the presence of the participants with the opening of the exhibition « Artists for Peace ».
On October 15th, we took part in a projection-debate of the cartoon « Grave of the Fireflies ( Hotaru no haka ) » at the Rex cinema in Blagnac. This session followed the projection-debate on September 14th, at the Utopia cinema in Tournefeuille with the cartoon « In This Corner of the World (Kono sekai no katasumi ni)« . Each screening was followed by a presentation of our project with the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and a debate with the audience.
We also gave to those who wished to do so a biblio-filmography entitled « To go further ». Many thanks to Pierre Dhote, a student at the IUT of Toulouse who organised these two days.