Peace is an important aspect of development and conservation of life. It is characterized by harmony, lack of violence, conflict and freedom from fear of any kind. Peace is often understood as the absence of hostility, but also suggests an attempt at reconciliation and existence of a healthy interpersonal and international relationship. Countries around the world and international organizations such as the United Nations and regional bodies have invested heavily to maintain peace within countries and regions. They have taken steps to address situations that threaten peace and can lead to violence. Some of the ways to maintain peace include the use of the military, investment in weapons, public awareness of the importance of peace and the use of the peace symbol to promote peace. Some peace symbols have been used in various cultures and contexts.
The early Christians used the dove and the olive branch as a symbol of peace. The symbols were derived from Christians from two sources; the story of Noah and the flood in the Old Testament and Greek thought. The story of Noah ends with the description of a dove carrying a freshly plucked olive leaf as a sign of life and peace after the flood. The symbol of the dove and the olive tree was confirmed by Saint Augustine of Hippo in his writings on Christian Doctrine. The New Testament compares the dove with the Holy Spirit with the dove representing the peace of the soul and not civil peace among the early Christians. However, by the third century, the dove began to represent peace in the Old Testament. A dove and a branch of olive trees have also been used in the secular world as a representation of peace. The dove was a symbol of peace between the communist party and was used in their manifestations in the early 20th century.
The broken rifle
The symbol of the broken rifle was used by the International of the Resistance of war and by the other groups to which it was affiliated. However, the symbol was invented long before the formation of WRI in 1921. The broken rifle symbol was used for the first time in 1909 during the masthead problem of “Down With Weapon”, a monthly publication of the International Antimilitarist Union in the Netherlands. The German War Victims Championship also used the symbol on their peace banner in 1917. The Belgian workers who marched in La Louviere in October 1921 carried a banner that showed a soldier breaking his rifle.
White poppy is a symbol of peace that calls for an end to the war. It represents the belief that killing is not the only way to end conflicts. White poppy was introduced by the Women’s Cooperative Guild of the United Kingdom in 1933 during the period of widespread war in Europe. The women distributed white poppy as an alternative to red poppy. The Royal British Legion distributed the red poppies as a reminder of the soldiers who had died in the First World War. In 1934; the Peace Pledge Union joined the distribution of white poppies as a pledge of peace and a commitment to a war that did not recur.
The sign of peace
The symbol of peace, popularly known as the anti-nuclear emblem, is one of the most widely recognized symbols of peace. It was designed in 1958 by Gerald Holtom in support of the British nuclear disarmament movement. The sign is a signal combination for the letters “N” and “D”. The two letters are used to represent nuclear disarmament. The symbol was used as a CND badge and wearing it is a symbol of support for the nuclear disarmament campaign. The symbol was widely used in the United States in 1958 during the nuclear test. In South Africa, the symbol of peace was used by opponents of apartheid.
The crane is a traditional symbol of luck in Japan. It was popularized as a symbol of peace by the story of a girl who died as a result of an atomic bomb explosion on Hiroshima in 1945. The story explains how Sadako Sasaki started folding paper cranes in his last days of illness. Initially, the crane symbolized the peace that came from achieving a level of prosperity and friendship and not war and was adopted only for the peace of war after the incidence of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The V sign
The V sign is a peace hand sign in which the index and middle fingers are raised but divided with the remaining fingers closed. The sign can be used to transmit different messages depending on the context in which they are used. The gesture can be used as an insult or as a sign of peace depending on how it is displayed. If the back of the hand is facing the observer, it can be considered an insult in Australia and South Africa. However, if the back of the hand is facing the signer, then it is considered a sign of peace or a sign of victory.
Shalom / Salaam
The word “Shalom”, a Hebrew word meaning “salaam” in Arabic is an English word for “peace” used for decades as a symbol of peace in the Middle East and other parts of the world. The symbol represents the conflict in the Middle East affected by the conflict and commonly used in an attempt to end the Arab-Israeli conflict. Shirts and wall plaques with the words Shalom or Salaam are common in the Middle East.
Pax Cultural Symbol (Ancient Asian Peace Symbol)
The Pax cultural symbol is a brown circle on a white emblem with three solid points within the circle with the three points representing art, science and religion. It was designed by Nichola Roerich to protect cultural artefacts. It has been used as a banner of peace to protect historical, cultural and significant scientific discoveries in times of peace and war. The peace banner is used on important cultural buildings to protect them from destruction during wars.