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Turning army helmets into flower pots

AMONG the Cypriots who paid tribute last week to the survivors of the 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki atom bombs were two teenagers from the Cyprus Friendship Programme (CFP), representing their respective Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.

The eight atom bomb survivors or Hibakusha were on board the Peace Boat which travels the world promoting peace. Hundreds of peace activists from across the world were on the boat as it docked in Cyprus for a day and the CFP teenagers offered the Hibakusha an army helmet with a flower planted in it. The army helmet was turned upside down and became a flower pot.

“For Cypriots this has a special significance since we live in one of the most densely militarised parts of the planet,” a CFP news release said.

The helmet-cum-flower-pot idea arose from a question: “what to do with the abundance of military hardware” when the Cyprus problem is resolved, a CFP coordinator said.

“We propose that the thousands of army helmets are given free to Cypriot households so that they can be transformed into flower pots hanging at the front of houses. And when the next generation will be asking what those are, we will say that they are reminders of a long period of conflict and pain that is no more.”

The helmet and an explanation of its significance will be on permanent display on the Peace Boat as it travels the world bearing messages of peace.

Perhaps with it, an echo of the CFP teenagers’ motto will be heard: “In a country divided, people united”.

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