In a little park, near the United Nations’ offices in Geneva, Switzerland, is a statue of Mahatma Gandhi reading a book and with a look of utmost concentration on his face.
The statue was unlike any Mahatma Gandhi statue I had seen or come across before — I had always seen his statues in a standing or walking position. This one of him reading seemed more like one I could relate to.
And to think, in retrospect, that I almost missed seeing this. Let me elaborate.
One of my favourite instruments is the church organ, and I never miss an opportunity to listen to a performance. It is not just the organ’s music, but also the mechanics of the instrument that intrigues and fascinates me. The grandness of the organ never fails to thrill and always sends a delicious shiver down my spine. No visit to a church or a cathedral is complete without me checking out the “resident” organ.
When I checked out the organ at the Cathédrale St. Pierre at Geneve or St. Pierre’s Cathedral at Geneva, Switzerland, a shiver did go down my spine, but for entirely different reasons !
No visit to Geneva is complete without a visit to the United Nations. I mean not everyone can go in, but one can stand outside the building and have a photograph taken. That’s what most people think they are going to do, until they reach there. Then they find themselves distracted by a big broken chair. Don’t believe me? See the picture below.
The Broken Chair is a wooden sculpture by the Swiss artist Daniel Berset, and constructed by the carpenter Louis Genève. Made out of 5.5 tons of wood, the 12 m high chair with a broken leg symbolises opposition to land mines and cluster bombs. It acts as a reminder to those visiting the place about the horrors of land mines. Many protests and demonstrations are held at this site.
The above photograph taken by me looks relatively benign like a piece of sculpture, while the one of the Broken Chair, taken by my niece’s friend on a cold December evening looks positively menacing and threatening, much like the danger posed by landmines and cluster bombs themselves.
According to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, “landmines claim victims in every corner of the globe each day”. The Campaign is working towards a world-wide ban on landmines and as of date, 39 countries including India have not signed the Treaty.
The UNICEF has declared April 4 as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. And you will do your bit by reading this blog and passing on information about the dangers from landmines and cluster bombs, won’t you?