Children will gather in White Rock on Tuesday (October 2) to shun toys of violence on the 138th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, the international peace icon.
Gandhi, who was born in the present-day Indian state of Gujarat on October 2, 1869, launched a nonviolent crusade against British colonialism in India. Despite being a devout Hindu, he was against religious fundamentalism and was assassinated in 1948 by a Hindu extremist. His philosophy of peaceful civil disobedience later influenced the U.S. civil-rights movement.
Pummy Kaur, a teacher and a social-justice activist from White Rock, has organized an event in which elementary students will convert war toys into art. Kaur, a past president of B.C. Teachers for Peace and Global Education, has authored the book What Would Gandhi Do? K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple Solutions to Global Problems .
B.C. Teachers for Peace and Global Education organized a similar event during last year's World Peace Forum held in Vancouver, but this is the first time it is being held in this region to commemorate Gandhi's birthday. "We had decided to celebrate nonviolence on Gandhi's birthday when we came up with the idea to do war toys to art with the elementary-school kids,'' Kaur told the Straight . "It is good to reward their good behaviour, much more [than] to punish them for bad behaviour."
A display of war toys converted into art will be held at the Semiahmoo Mall during the morning of October 2, and will move to the White Rock First United Church in the evening. The event also includes the presentation of a Gandhi Peace Award by Victor Chan, a trustee of the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education in Vancouver. Gandhi , the movie featuring Ben Kingsley, will also be shown that evening.
The campaign against toys of violence was originally launched by Sam Fillipoff, a retired Vancouver teacher with roots in the pacifist Doukhobor community. Fillipoff defined a war toy as any imitation of a weapon that would be used to harm another person, and a toy that reinforces the culture of war.