On my last day in the Netherlands, I picked up a few pieces of art to take with me: two hand-carved stamps (that I can use to adorn my journal pages), and a leather bracelet which the artist etched for me upon request with the word “peace” to represent my time in The Hague for my work conference. You can read my reflections on the work conference here.
The bracelet is also for the day I spent sitting in on the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY), listening to the court hearings against human rights abuser and alleged genocidaire Ratko Mladic during which my colleague accidentally made eye-contact with in which she described as “chilling.”
It was an experience that is difficult to explain – on the one hand to see an alleged genocidaire sit uncomfortably before an international tribunal and face all of the charges put before him, however that also juxtaposed by the fact that we were all sitting there watching this hugely expensive international tribunal (in its own max-security building) because of what HE did. Even though he is the prisoner, it still felt like it was “HIS” show- he was confrontational with the guards, he saluted/waves to the viewers, and we were all there because if him. I understand the importance and value (especially for the survivors) of this judicial process – but for me, I was reminded of fallibility and imperfection of man-made institutions. It reminded me (solemnly) of how tiny we really are….it reminded me to contemplate my place in this world and my purpose in this earth.
The bracelet also represents my own personal journey towards peace profound – a journey to find and know myself truly, a journey on which I feel I am making great strides every day. The bracelet also represents this great adventure on which I am embarking as a Rotary Peace Fellow. I hope that the bracelet will embody this full past and hopeful future, as well as the fellow artist who made it, and commented what an important message it speaks: peace.
Amsterdam seems to be a city full of neat people doing creative work. Walking through Amsterdam, I also came across this neat piece of art in a
Be sure to check out my post in Van Gogh if you haven’t already seen it here 🙂