I took this shot in one of the small squares in Nice, not far away from Place Wilson. Although the bird caught here strategically in the center of the composition, is not a dove, but simply a seagull, I think it looks close enough to serve as an illustration of the concept.
The recent war ramblings of Mr Putin, have reminded me of the problem of war and the origins of the dove as symbol of peace. The dove bearing an olive tree branch has been first depicted by the Jews in the Torah, but only the Christians have taken it up as peace symbol. The Jews, as usual, had some more complicated and Jewish centered interpretation of this image.
Then came Picasso, with his communist party membership card, who has impudently used a religious symbol for a militantly atheistic logo of peace, hence used and abused by the Soviet bloc propaganda. Apparently, he got inspired by Matisse, who gifted him a beautiful white pigeon, originating from Milan.
The fact remains, that no matter how confused one can be when speaking for peace, peace is a value in its own right. In my various humanistic meanderings, I’ve come across three interesting opinions about what are the strongest factors which foster peace.
First, you are normally reluctant to make war on members of your own “Tribe”, and the single most important element in human culture that denotes belonging to the same tribe, is the use of the same language. Hence, it’s good to speak many languages.
Second, you normally do not want to make war if that implies your economic ruin, and the most important lifeline of any economy is money. Therefore, if you don’t want wars, adopt a common currency – does it ring a familiar note to you, Europeans?
Third, in any kind of political decision that can gravely impact the lives of fellow citizens, it is paramount, that the decision maker ( i.e. politician) has something personal at stake. The best guarantee, that adopting war as policy will not be done lightheartedly. would be if the leader who decides, has a child in the army. This way, he could actually visualize, how it would feel to put at stake the life of his own offspring because of his decision.
As far as I know, Mr. Putin has two daughters, and I don’t believe they would serve on the Ukrainian front. There is a rumour, that he has an illegitimate son in Germany, so perhaps he will think twice, before launching nuclear weapons on Berlin.
The unofficial fourth factor in favour of peace, would be granting the powers of war and peace to a woman. Unfortunately, in Russian history this has not worked very well, if you look up the rule of Catherine the Great. Perhaps the reason had been, she was actually born in Prussia.