Wednesday, 21 December 2011

From Benetton’s COLORS, with LOVE

COLORS magazine gives UNHATE DOVE to the city of Tripoli as a sign of peace and hope. The large, dove-shaped sculpture is covered in over 22,000 spent cartridges picked up in the world’s “hot spots”.

Made by Fabrica, the art installation will be officially donated to Tripoli on Saturday 24 December 2011, Independence Day, which the Libyan people are celebrating again for the first time in 42 years. The event is part of the Benetton Group’s UNHATE Foundation’s programme www.unhatefoundation.org

“The official handing-over of the dove is the UNHATE Foundation’s first act, both concrete and symbolic,” said Alessandro Benetton, Benetton Group’s executive deputy chairman. “Our aim in creating the Foundation is to oppose the culture of hate. It seeks to be a leader and driving force behind the desire for participation and change felt by citizens of the world, especially young people”.

The cartridge cases were mounted on the dove in the University of Tripoli. They were collected by COLORS from people who live in areas where armed conflicts seem to run on endlessly and who desperately ask for an end to hostilities: from the hands of children, from operating theatres in war-zone hospitals, from the mothers of young men killed during revolutions, from the victims of persecution.

Someone who finds a cartridge case finds a sign of death. Not her or his death, miraculously. But death is in the air, it can come at any time, from anywhere. From the right or wrong side? The answer is worthless, because life is the only value worth defending.

This “war waste” is also the theme of WITH LOVE, a COLORS special issue telling the stories of imprisoned lives that do not have the freedom to choose on which side to stay. There are love stories, too, of those who hold out in order to defend life. Like the 50 journalists working for Shabelle Media Network, an independent radio station of Mogadishu, Somalia, which broadcasts to a catchment area of some 250 km and online. Far from their loved ones, these brave journalists live barricaded in their studio because they fear the vengeance of Al Shabab. They put their safety at risk in order to provide non-partisan information.

Mayada, 55, decided to tell her story because the world should know what is happening in Syria where armed militias have for months repressed popular demonstrations with bloodshed, causing thousands of victims. After fleeing to Lebanon with her husband and their 18-year-old daughter, Mayada is anxiously awaiting the day when she can return to her homeland, which for her has the greatest value of all.

The Egyptian blogger Mina Ibrahim Daniel, Copt, fought for freedom and social justice too and believed in respecting religious beliefs. He was killed together with 24 others on 9 October 2011 during the Maspero demonstrations.

WITH LOVE is available in four bilingual editions: English + Italian, French, Spanish or Arabic. This issue will also be available in digital form to facilitate even wider circulation, especially among the young people who subscribed with great force and support – especially online – to the UNHATE Foundation’s message.

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