Monday, November 21, 2005
Operation: Peace Crane
About a week ago, the OFF-topic post regarding Fallujah and white phosphorus made it's way onto the O-List. An Italian film has stirred up the moonbats(and the not-so-moonbatty) into believing our soldiers used a chemical weapon in the battle to wrest Fallujah free from the clutches of terrorist insurgents and foreign fighters. I challenged the poster on it, off list. An admin weighed in with the expected "lay off politics" warning. Then someone else posted, and I read more into his post than was there. So even though I knew better, I went off on a mini-rant of my own. Since then, I had re-read the post and made my apology to the person I flamed. But the off-topic stimulated agreement that political expression in origami is acceptable, as long as it relates back to origami.
This brings us to this past weekend. I was invited once again to Japan Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Last year, Yami, Joe and I teamed up with fellow WCOG members, Phyllis Snyder and Fumi Wakao. This year, Yami, Joe and I were given free tables to help Rafu Shimpo promote peace cranes and get visitors to the Expo to help fold tsuru and tack them onto a giant 8 foot crane that volunteers had built. Problem with getting people to stop long enough to fold a tsuru is that many wanted to keep their crane. And then there was also this problem: I ended up being by myself. Joe and Yami both contacted me the day before the Festival to let me know that they were sick. Both were suffering from the kind of ailments that come with old age. Joe did want me to pick up a bunch of giveaways that he had folded; so Saturday morning, I drove out to Gardena to his house; then swung by my storage place to pick up my own origami stuff before making it out to the Expo. It was so crowded in the West Hall, that I parked in South Hall and made quite a trek. 3 car-trips that had me sweating and my back and arms feeling like they would break.
I was pretty busy non-stop...sometimes teaching 3 different models all at once. I still like the multi-piece flower with pipe cleaner, as it's a project that doesn't need hands-on instructing the entire time. And any new arrivals to my table can just jump in any time. I can also delegate people to teach it to new arrivals when I'm pre-occupied already. It's that simple.
I was happy to see some of my friends make it down: Kirsten and her family; Cathleen; coworker Sara; Oliva and family; the VNSO crew; a client of mine, Stacey, and her family (that's her daughter Malaika at the end with the eyes popping out of her head when the Robert Neale $butterfly comes to life. That's also her hiding behind her dad, Neil toward the end).
Heading into the Expo and still fuming over the white phosphorus conspiracists...I printed out some camouflage patterns from Operation Peace Crane, as well as Esseltine's Kamiflage (click here for his new link). And as a subtle political statement, I folded some tsuru out of this paper and added them to the giant crane. (I also did a couple out of the American flag; the printing was created by John Andrisan).
I've tried to keep my politics and origami separate. This video does touch upon politics, but not in an overt fashion. It is neither pro-war/anti-peace, nor pro-Bush/anti-Bush, nor siding with a political party. I also didn't want this video to be about the war in Iraq and the Greater War on Terrorism; but one that is about war in the general sense. As the mission statement says on Operation Peace Crane,
Normally, origami cranes are folded using colorful origami paper, and traditional patterns. We hereby propose a new movement by spreading the crane with camouflage patterns of military around the world. Using the camouflage on the cranes represents the irony of war and peace that are inherent in our society, as if one cannot exist without the other. Today, we must confront the stark reality that the military complex is a worldwide industry, sponsored by the government (not to mention tax payers), which in turn supports the lifestyles of the unassuming public.
I chose the quotes I included at the end of the video very carefully; and what I did want to get across politically, is a positive message that is pro-peace, pro-military, and pro-victory. And that is a message that I hope all Americans can get behind and stand together on.