Friday, 21 September 2012

The symbol of peace.

In the run up to the Christian festival known as the pre and post Christmas sales. (This is of course a  time for last moment panic buying by the menfolk for their womenfolk.) We in the west tend to forget that at this time we should be checking out our collective conscience on the subject of  Peace on Earth to all men.

There are a couple of old and modern symbols that represent the ethos of world peace. The Dove and Olive branch dates back to around the 5th century. The Olive branch on its own being  the earliest symbol of peace.

The development of the more modern peace sign was originally designed for the campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. In semaphore the letter "N" is formed by a person holding two flags in an inverted "V," and the letter "D" is formed by holding one flag pointed straight up and the other pointed straight down. Superimposing these two signs forms the shape of the centre of the peace symbol. (Not to be confused with the Mercedes car bonnet badge)

There have also been hand signals for peace. The "V" sign is a hand gesture in which the index and middle fingers are raised and parted, while the other fingers are clenched. It has various meanings, depending on how it is presented. 

It is most commonly used to represent the letter "V" as in "victory". Back in the days of World War II it was used throughout by Winston Churchill. It was later adopted by the 1960s anti-war movement as a sign for peace. As a symbol of peace (usually with palm outward) and as an offensive gesture. (palm inward) 

Then opinions change and people start to see a different context for a symbol. Lisa Jensen hung a Christmas wreath on the outside wall of her home in the USA. The wreath was arranged into a peace sign because she "wanted to put a message of peace out there." But Bob Kearns, the president of the local home owner's association, ordered her to remove the wreath on the grounds that "signs, billboards and advertising structures of any kind" are banned.  Bob Kearns said "The peace sign has a lot of negativity associated with it. It's also an anti-Christ sign." That's how it started it's Satanic."


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