What is Pax Bellissima? part 4: Art as Metaphor

Building peace is a lot like throwing a pot. Wet clay is very fragile. The smallest wrong move can cause the clay to fling out all over the room. And then you have to clean up and start over.

I started taking pottery classes when I was working in Afghanistan, travelling back and forth. The fragility of spinning a lump of clay into a pot resembled the peace process. Small efforts to negotiate with the Taliban collapsed over and over. But then after the dust settled, there was a recognition that the only way to stop the war was to find some settlement. So the wheel would start to turn again and slowly the walls of a peace process would start to grow, each time with the hope that we could pull up the walls of the process to embrace all of the diversity in the country. A peace process is fragile. And so is the process of making a ceramic pot.

And just like a piece of pottery that has been glazed and fired to withstand greater tension on its surface, even when a peace process is finalized and a settlement signed, it can all break apart very quickly.


-Lisa Schirch