So this morning I woke up and made the mistake of checking out CNN.com before I did anything. The first story I found was this one about a church in Florida planning a Quran-burning event.
G'head. Give it a read.
Now, this isn't very Chookooloonks-y for me to say, but I have to be honest: reading that article sent me blind with rage. I started sputtering to Marcus about everything that was wrong with this, and ranting and raving and generally being completely incoherent. But then, eventually, my apoplexia subsided, and I was left with only one thought:
Something needed to be done about this.
A couple of tweets later, and an idea was formed: we should photobomb the church. I've mentioned before how I really believe in the power of photography. I believe that more than anything else, this church needs to receive a message that its mission should always and eternally be one of peace. Much as we did with your amazing images for the children's hospital at the end of last year, I would love to collect your photographs with images of peace, complete with a message of peace written on the back, package them in one giant box, and send it to the church. A big huge box of goodness, making it very clear that we are in vehement disagreement with the policies and position of the church.
Are you with me?
I hope so. And if you are, here's how it would work:
1. Print a photo of yours -- one that depicts an image of peace. It can be of anything -- your favourite pet, a flower, a sunset, whatever. You can print one or more, or lots of prints of one image, or lots of prints of lots of images -- seriously, the more images, the merrier. It just needs to convey an emotion of peace (and for some inspiration, I just happen to have a Flickr set of my favourite peace images -- seriously, it can be of anything so long as it makes you feel peaceful.) Whatever. It's up to you. Please, no smaller than 4"x6", and no larger than 8"x10". And seriously: this doesn't have to be professional quality -- just pick a photo you've taken that you love and that feels peaceful.
2. On the back of the photograph, write a simple message of peace. I'll leave it to you to decide what you want to say, but it can be something like the following:
Give peace a chance.
Do not engage in behaviour that typifies the actions you claim to hate.
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
Love always wins.
Any simple phrase or sentence. Some caveats:
a) Under no circumstances are you to write a message of hate, anger or even passive-aggressiveness. While I totally understand the temptation to write something angry, or even backhanded ("I feel sorry for you" "I'm sorry you're so close-minded and hate-filled"), the point of this exercise is to spread love and peace, not anger. The point is to make them think, rather that shut them off. In other words, please try to rise above for this exercise. I'll be going through all of the photographs to make sure that the messages are all positive, and removing the ones that aren't.
b) If you want to use a quote, even if it's from a particular religious book or culture, by all means, do it -- regardless of the origin or faith. The only rule is (a) above (e.g., "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," is fine. "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," is not.)
c) You do not have to sign your name or give any identifying information. The point of this is more the message that is coming from the outer world, not to give them data to find out who you are.
3. Send your photo(s) to me postmarked no later than August 25th, 2010, to the following address:
Karen Walrond -- Chookooloonks
650 W. Bough, Suite 150-108
Houston, Texas 77024
United States of America
and I'll box up all of the images and messages and mail them to the church myself, to arrive prior to September 11th, the date of their planned event.
4. If you're not comfortable sending a photograph, but you're crafty, you can participate too! Just send your handmade card (or cards!) to the above address. Seriously, a construction-paper heart with a handwritten note would do the trick.
5. If you live outside the United States, but want to join in, I'd love to have you. Even though this is an American church, the sentiments we are trying to convey are global. I'd love if you'd join us.
Now, keep in mind: I have no illusions about trying to change the church's mind about what they're planning -- in fact, I'm pretty convinced that they're probably going to go ahead with it, no matter what we send. It's entirely likely that they might not even open up the box or read the cards. But what if one person -- just one -- reads one of the cards in the box, and starts questioning the hate-filled actions of the church?
If that happens, in my book, our photobomb will have been a success.
I do hope you'll join me. I can't wait to see what you send.