The Opposite of War Isn't Peace

Oil on canvas
In collection of Joe Howard (San Francisco)

Art Statement for Platform 1-Year Anniversary, March 2003

I'm not sure who said it first but I remember hearing it in RENT as a lyric (although I'm sure it didn't come from there originally).

"The opposite of war isn't peace. It's creation."

This piece is one painting on top of another one.
I hated the original painting
I decided to paint another one over it.
Creation by destruction.

The piece has a violent feel
as I had to slash the new painting on
to obliterate the old one,
but if you look closely,
the old painting can still be seen,
through the layers of new color.
When creation is the ultimate goal,
beauty can come from destroying.

War is the embodiment of all things destructive:
to people, to land, to the world in general.
When bombs and bullets tear through people and the land,
they are destroying what has been built before.
But what's left behind is not creation:
it's more destruction.

There is no such thing as "Peace through Strength"
(term used in a speech by George W. Bush to a Florida army base on 3/26/03).
This is a military war cry.
Yes, one side can raise a flag in victory when it comes at a military price,
but the other side (and others not directly involved)
will never have respect for people with power who abuse it.

"Peace through Creation" might be a better phrase for the world,
or at least our government, to try to explore.
Money and aid for education, housing, health care, etc.
Show the world strength through care.
Show the Iraqi people and the world what they deserve
and are not being given by their current regime.

Take that $75 billion Bush just asked Congress to fund the war for 30 days
and see how much good it could have done for Iraq's 22 million people
if used in other ways than to kill.
That comes out to a little more than $3400 a person.
Easily more than an average yearly salary in Iraq.