IN THIS ISSUE

Small Arms Conference

A Programme of Action

Guns and All

UN Study on Missiles

Survey of Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education

Civil Society - A Vital Presence

CD Appoints Coordinators


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Guns and All

   Public organizations from North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia were a constant physical presence during the two-week United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, 9-20 July 2001. They filled the conference hallway area with exhibits, displays, posters and video loop replays of documentaries on small arms. They brought the United Nations public plaza to life with concerts and speeches on the days devoted to the impact of small arms on children and women. A day-long series of public events in the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza was held, that included the Silent March. A red carpet was extended one-third the length of the plaza, covered with thousands of empty shoes, five pairs per row, all placed in the same direction as if on a march. Each shoe was contributed by the relatives and friends of children, women and men who were victims of gun violence in America.

   Also among the exhibits at the United Nations is the Gun Sculpture (ihuman/Canadian Mission, see photo), a small room, the walls, ceilings and floor of which are composed of 7,000 deactivated weapons welded together. The weapons were collected from around the world, each one connected in some way or another with a violent act. Inside the dark space of the room shines a single light from above, epitomizing hope for change in the future. Outside the room is a panel, containing pictures, at times with a short explanatory note, of the victims of gun violence. Also outside is a chalkboard to inscribe one’s reactions upon viewing the sculpture. When full, the board is photographed for archival purposes. The exhibit will be on display free of charge in the United Nations public lobby until 31 August 2001. Transforming Weapons into Plough-shares (Artarmas of Mozambique, sponsored by the mission of Mozambique, the Christian Council of Mozambique and IANSA) is a collection of more than 30 exuberant sculptures made from decommissioned weapons converted into works of art capturing the joy of everyday life, of animals, music and work. The depth of the sculptures emerges from the realization that they spring from the devastation wreaked by the 16-year civil conflict waged in Mozambique, that ended in a peace accord in October 1992. This exhibit is also in the public space of the United Nations Visitors Lobby and may also be viewed until 31 August. 

   The Mural of Pain (Viva Rio/Brazil) is a moving display of photos, writings and drawings of the victims of gun violence, their friends and families, mainly in Brazil. Guns ‘R Us (Brian Johnson-Thomas/ IANSA) was an exposé of the types of gun transactions made on the black and grey markets, including a display of several frequently traded and highly popular pistols.

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