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Planes for peace


Paper Airplane for Peace

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 Young adults sitting at tables folding paper airplanes
Young adults making paper airplanes

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July 15, 2011
- Emily Loewen

Waterloo, ONT. — Paper planes may not fly themselves to Ottawa, but with help from Canada Post, these planes will deliver a message to Stephen Harper: “Spend less money on war.”

From July 4-8, participants in Mennonite Church Canada Youth Assembly 2011 folded paper airplanes, covering them with words and pictures of peace. These planes will be delivered to Ottawa.

The act of folding paper is “something really simple,” said Renae Friesen from Altona Bergthaler Mennonite Church, but in big numbers it could make a difference. Youth made over 1,000 paper airplanes, some including messages like “this plane doesn’t fly, and neither should yours.”

The teens hope that Canada’s leaders will consider their message, but they are realistic about the immediate impact. “It’s not like they’re going to return [the fighter jets],” said Micahela Epp, from Altona Bergthaler, but if we don’t do anything they won’t know that we disagree.

Epp, Friesen and Benita Bage felt that it was important to get involved in politics like this because it’s their future at stake, and if they don’t work for change now they will have to live with the consequences when they’re older. The teens suggested that the government would be better off spending money used for war on things like education, textbooks, social programming and foster care.

Kathy Giesbrecht, Associate Pastor at Home Street Mennonite Church, says the government should  be using the billions spent on conflict to establish a Department of Peace, a movement with chapters in over 30 countries ( Creating  a peace department wouldn’t mean doing away with defence entirely, “we’re not naive,” Giesbrecht said, there is conflict in the world but we think they “might want to experiment with some solutions” and find options that don’t include violence.

Though Giesbrecht thinks the government tends to write off pacifists, she said she has hope “my own government and the world can live in different ways in my lifetime.”