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Friday, August 08, 2008

'World Wide Moment' Photography Project Takes Peaceful Aim as Olympic Games Begin

We do in fact love or hate our enemies to the same degree that we love or hate ourselves. In the image of the enemy we will find the mirror in which we may see our own faces most clearly.
-- Sam Keen, Faces of the Enemy

chinese-character-for-peaceGrowing up, my family was an Olympics-loving family.

Every four years we'd watch spell-bound as the world came together to compete and show their stuff. My parents, being political refugees from Hungary following the 1956 Revolution against the mighty Soviet Union, of course would root mightily against the Red giant. Remember the miracle 1980 USA hockey team? That USSR defeat not only brought our house down, it was celebrated by nearly the whole country back then.

These days, so much has changed politically, but our world still continues to harbor an "us against them" mentality, one bred on the feeling that we don't share bonds with others that don't look like us or talk like us or salute the same flag.

This adversary becomes sports(wo)man-like at the Olympics.

But, with China being the host country this year, we've seen more tumult and protest leading up to this years' games than we've witnessed in the past few gatherings. What to do?

One documentarian has chosen to deal with the situation by aiming his focus on fostering peace (rather than rallying against China; btw, the Chinese characters above spell "peace").

Today, as the Games begin, we're all invited to join in with him to help produce an interesting art project, World Wide Moment.

In educational interest, article(s) quoted from extensively.

From the Chicago Tribune:

With its political overtones and all the jingoistic claptrap, the Olympic Games are probably not the best way to promote world peace. Brett Brownell has a better idea.

A music video and documentary producer from Dallas, he wants people to be part of World Wide Moment, a photography project. At a prescribed time, participants will snap a photo that honors the idea of peace. As Brownell says, it's "an opportunity to feel a moment of peace with people all over the world."

The photos will get posted on the Internet and become part of a book and traveling exhibition. ...[H]e hopes the project will prove "that people from around the world can celebrate life, art and peace together, if only for one moment. I know it sounds altruistic and possibly quixotic, but in previous rehearsals for World Wide Moment, participants expressed a rare sense of peace, belonging and connection which lasted for many days."

The Moment comes at 8:08 a.m. (Beijing time) on 8-8-08 — just when the Olympics are starting (Brownell emphasizes that the project is not affiliated with the Games). In Chicago, which is 13 hours behind Beijing, that converts to 7:08 p.m. on Thursday.

So, get your cameras ready if you're so inclined and start snapping up some harmony, peace and love with the rest of us at 8:08pm EST/5:08pm PST. More information and instructions on uploading your creation at

And on a personal note, I'm sending all my best vibes to my brother-in-law and nephew who are in Beijing as part of the coaching team for our U.S. swimmers. Go, guys!

We'll be watching...and snapping, too.

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