Swords, ploughshares, guns & shovels
Whenever there’s any mention of turning weapons into something useful, like tools, or beautiful, like art, someone will quote Isaiah II: “They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” It’s a great idea, whether or not you believe it was God’s. There’ve been two recent examples.
The first is from Mexico. You can read about it on the Inhabitat website:
The city of CuliacÃ¡n, in western Mexico has the highest rate of gun deaths in the country. After speaking with family members of victims of drug crimes in the city, artist Pedro Reyes decided to use its prolific amount of firearms to help the local botanical garden. In the ultimate act of recycling, Reyes and the garden started a campaign for residents to hand over their guns to the artist in exchange for a coupon that they could use to buy electronics or household appliances. He collected 1,527 guns for the project â€” Palas por Pistolas â€” had them melted down and transformed into 1,527 shovel heads that are now being used to plant trees in the community.
The second is from the recent BBC series, A History of the World in a 100 Objects, the Throne of Weapons:
This sculpture is made out of decommissioned weapons from the Mozambique civil war (1977 – 92), which claimed almost 1 million lives and left 5 million people displaced. It represents both the tragedy of that war and the human triumph of those who achieved a lasting peace. It was made by the Mozambican artist CristÃ³vÃ£o Canhavato (Kester) in 2001 for the Transforming Arms into Tools project, where some of the seven million guns left in the country are voluntarily exchanged for useful tools and hardware.
A good idea is a good idea, whoever you credit it with.