Thousands of weapons in some of the world’s most conflict-scarred states are being hammered, filed and welded into symbols of hope. From Maputo to Mexico City, artists are transforming decommissioned arms into an arsenal of art to highlight the futility of war and promote psychological healing.
Non-Violence, or the Knotted Gun, by Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd. The bronze replica of a 45-calibre revolver, a gift from Luxembourg to the United Nations, was sculpted in memory of the Swedish artist’s longtime friend John Lennon. Though not created from recycled munitions, the sculpture has been cited as one of the inspirations behind the arms-to-art movement. Photograph: UN
John Pilger’s ‘The War You Don’t See’ (2011) is a powerful and timely investigation into the media’s role in war, tracing the history of ’embedded’ and independent reporting from the carnage of World War One to the destruction of Hiroshima, and from the invasion of Vietnam to the current war in Afghanistan and disaster in Iraq. As weapons and propaganda become even more sophisticated, the nature of war is developing into an ‘electronic battlefield’ in which journalists play a key role, and civilians are the victims. But who is the real enemy?
John Pilger says in the film: “We journalists… have to be brave enough to defy those who seek our collusion in selling their latest bloody adventure in someone else’s country… That means always challenging the official story, however patriotic that story may appear, however seductive and insidious it is. For propaganda relies on us in the media to aim its deceptions not at a far away country but at you at home… In this age of endless imperial war, the lives of countless men, women and children depend on the truth or their blood is on us… Those whose job it is to keep the record straight ought to be the voice of people, not power.”