On the occasion of the International Day of Peace (21 Sep) a social media driven 'Poetry for Peace' contest was held from 15 September to 14 October, 2011, to share messages of peace.
For four weeks, a social media Poetry for Peace contest invited the world to hear the living testimonies of atomic bomb survivors, called HIBAKUSHA, and respond to their stories in verse. People were also encouraged to "like" the poems that most touched them.
Throughout the month-long competition, 741 poems were submitted, some echoing the pain of the victims, others calling for nuclear disarmament and almost all crying out for peace.
The most interesting thing about this contest is that it has brought poets from all over the world together for the sake of peace.
Of the many poignant poems submitted, it was extremely difficult to choose just three. Ten verses were finally selected
Explosion Affected Reflection
Blasted into a wasteland,
behind an old torn photo
Father silently weeps
for what were once his people
their voices and love forsaken
while Mother has grown old
torn in recollection with grief
her children’s young kisses
still innocent upon her cheek;
memorizing, unborn babies
hear exploding bombs
as yet she stares, despondent,
out the broken window,
in remembrance for peace.
— Helle van Aardeberg (First place)
The first step to nuclear disarmament comes with awareness. Although the poetry competition has ended, the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs encourages everyone to keep their voices raised for a world free of nuclear weapons.
Ended: October 14, 2011.
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