The first plastic army men were made during WWII. Making them out of this material helped conserve tin and other metals needed in the production of arms. During this time, they were still hand painted individually in the United States. Now they stand plain, unpainted, with modern weapons and fatigues, and are made in third world countries. They are very inexpensive and are sold mostly in supermarkets and dollar stores. I personally remember being a poor kid on welfare, and getting them regularly as gifts because they were one of the only toys my mother could afford.
We believe that this is too much of a coincidence. The amount of budget that goes into the military is offensive enough. Why target minorities with the glory of war, guns, and death? That money could help educate us, make us more socially aware and many other things.
Each plastic solider has a weapon of some sort. There are no obvious medics, engineers, or technicians of any kind. In creating this video, we wanted to play with these gray, soulless figures that haunted our childhoods in a memorable way. We wanted to build a trench of peace and love that united any color of solider to send a message and set an example.
We had a lot of fun building the set and working with stop animation which was pretty new to us all. We built hills out of clay and newspaper, decorated them with paint, moss, and rocks. We patiently arranged each figure to orchestrate our message. A message that shouts "Love is louder than guns!"
Robert Khasho is a Portland based artist who mentored AFSC youth to produce "Love is Louder than Guns," this year’s entry into the AFSC/National Priorities Project If I Had a Trillion $ video contest. Using stop motion animation it features plastic toy soldiers, and was chosen as a contest finalist. Participating youth travel to Washington DC in April to receive leadership training and urge their legislators to end war and invest in education and human needs.
AFSC South Region: Friend of a Friend
Demetrius Jones describes his experience with AFSC's Friend of a Friend program in Baltimore, MD. Jones was incarcerated at the age of 15 and participated in a Friend of a Friend project. He continues to work with AFSC.
In this two-part video by Rodger Routh, John Dabeet, US Coordinator for UN recognition of a Palestinian state and a professor of economics at Muscatine Community College, offers his thoughts at the conclusion of a four-part AFSC series entitled "Palestine is Still the Issue."
To view part two of John Dabeet's talk, click here.
A Peace Parade was led by Peace Planters one of over 30 groups supporting the AFSC organized Visions of Peace at the Crossroads Festival on June 1, 2012. The parade include giant puppets created by Joann McMillan and a song written by Nick Pick for the event.
A video produced by students in AFSC's Racial Justice Through Human Rights program who are participating in the Youth Media Advocacy Project, sponsored by Carlow University.
Students were asked to produce a video concerning a human rights issue that they felt common to all students in the group (which consists of students from both public and private high schools, in both high income and low income sections of Pittsburgh, PA). They chose the issue of education equality because the recent budget cuts in Pennsylvania have exasperated what the students felt was already a desperate situation. They hope this piece will raise awareness in the general public to the issue of education inequality throughout the state of Pennsylvania.
U.S. Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan Return War Medals at NATO Summit
Democracy Now! broadcasts from Chicago, site of the largest NATO summit in the organization's six-decade history. On Sunday, veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as members of Afghans For Peace, led a peace march of thousands of people. Iraq Veterans Against the War held a ceremony where nearly 50 veterans discarded their war medals by hurling them down the street in the direction of the NATO summit. We hear the soldiers' voices as they return their medals one by one from the stage. "I am giving back my global war on terror service medal in solidarity with the people of Iraq and Afghanistan," said Jason Heard, a former combat medic who spent 10 years in the U.S. Army. "I am deeply sorry for the destruction that we have caused in these countries and around the globe."
This four minute video shows the AFSC New Mexico project "Agri-Cultura Network" that successfully brought small organic farmers together to sell to the local public schools.
The farmers in the film were trained by AFSC and the farms shown were created in community partnerships with AFSC.
The film was made through the wonderful work of our partner Valle Encantado and Daniel Sonis.
A dialogue between Sociologist Johan Galtung, "father of Peace and Conflict Studies" and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! entitled "Peace, Justice, Empire, and Occupation."
Sponsored by the Envision Peace Museum, American Friends Service Committee and others.
Fredi Reyes’ Letter to my country