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A Peace Horse

Thursday 16 March 2006, by Ety Edlund

All the versions of this article: [عربي] [Deutsch] [English] [עברית]

At the beginning of December, a very large heavy box arrived at the School (1). The children asked themselves what could be inside... a piano, a cupboard?

A horse, children, a horse.

A very large white horse that was sent to us from Aachen, Germany, by the Kindermissionswerk. But not just to us. Many horses, in three different sizes, were sent to various places in the world. Places in which peace is not only talked about but also taught.

With great excitement, the box was opened and a way to its contents was found through all the pieces of polystyrene packaging. What an impressive "living thing" was waiting inside (2). Rumour took flight and children escaped from their classes just in order to see greet this strange creature, that had fallen among us from who knows where. They extended their hands to stroke and welcome him (3).

The large white horse was installed in the art room. The children, in art class, could not take their eyes off him, and expressed their fascination in the drawings they made. (4)

Actually, the horse was sent in order that the children would paint the horse itself. But how to begin?

All the children in the school received a line drawing of the horse and were invited to propose ideas for painting him. The children were permitted to consult their families. In this way, the whole community of the school took part in this colourful activity. Many proposals were submitted; some of these are shown here (5, 6). Tsipi, the art teacher, chose a Jewish and an Arab child from each class, from 1st to 8th grade, and they enthusiastically got to work.

Their first mission was to decide which idea would guide them in their work. After thoroughly checking the colourful drawings on their tables (7) and after much deliberation and debate, everyone decided on three main motifs. Neve Shalom Wahat al-Salam, with the symbols of the three religions; Night and Day; and Peace. These are subjects that are very prominent in the lives of the children at the school. Now that the direction was decided, everyone sat down around the table, tried various styles, lines, symbols and the white horse awaited them peacefully and understandingly... (8).

Then they were ready. Now to the horse. Children of first grade, with children of the junior high school and those between them gently made their move (9). First they penciled in the symbols of the three religions, that express the identity of the unique community of our school (10.).

With what concentration they worked! (11) It’s a good thing there are small children on the team, who can easily reach the horse’s tummy, almost without bending... (12)

The work on the horse spread out over two months, with breaks for school holidays. The young artists didn’t waste any opportunity to come and continue the work. And when I next came to take pictures, I was surprised by their progress (13). The horse had already acquired its Night and Day theme. (14)

But wait, I forgot to present our young artists:

Anat and Ranin, First grade (15)

Madlen and Zoheir, Second grade (16)

Rima, Eden and Hatin, Third Grade (17)

Senmar and Roni, Fourth grade (18)

Ori and Rani, Fifth grade (19)

Nur and Alon, Sixth grade (20)

Amira and Sari, from the Junior High (21)

In addition, Ahmad and Nuran took part – they appear in picture 26.

We are told that in March there will be a big procession in Aachen, Germany. All the white horses will return "home", adorned with colour and creative ideas. The horses will be "marched" through the streets of the city, and afterwards will enter a large square, to be auctioned off. All the earnings from the event will be dedicated to the sponsorship of peace activities.

We are almost at the end of our journey. But wait, we can’t send the horse without a goodbye ceremony. The school children who have, from art class to art class, seen the horse take shape, come together and wish him a successful journey with all their hearts: "Have a pleasant flight," "Insh’Allah, may you be the most beautiful and win!" (22) All these wishes were placed in a small bag, which is hung around the horse’s neck, in order that he won’t feel sad during the journey home... (23)

And finally, the moment arrives. On an improvised cart, the horse is brought out to the courtyard of the school. All the children come to marvel at his colourful garb. A night of tolerance, a sun adorned with words of peace (24 – 25).

A final picture of the young people with their friend for the experience (26), and afterwards the horse is placed back in his box (27) to be on his way.

Thanks to "Kindermissionwerk", which gave us the opportunity to take part in this creative experience, and which brought in their own way this support for our educational work, which attempts to bridge across so much dissension.


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