Bringing the sun back. That's what we were doing after a week of bright sunlight in Amsterdam was replaced by mist. Almost 3,000 flowers came to Amsterdam for The Valentine Peace Project.

Volunteers came, the Dutch Flower Council sent a photographer, - lots and lots of kids and members of the Pijp community center gasped and awed at the bunches and bundles of carnations, tulips and irises shuffling from room to room as poems were wrapped, tied or taped around them.

I knew similar parties putting this all together would soon be happening in a few hours in the US. I was pleased that enough people had come to participate in my project for its first incarnation in the Netherlands!

When we hit the streets with our bundles some people took flowers and poems and some people didn't. Some grinned widely with delight and some grabbed them while whizzing by on their bike.

"I could do this every day!" Pieternel was thrilled to float down the street giving out flowers and poems from her extensive bundle - just as AMP member Kim Chandler had been that morning at the Albert Cuyp market.

A reporter asked me - what about Afghanistan - Iraq - shouldn't they be handing these out there - to each other? Are you trying to be the next John Lennon? I'm not a rock star but Yoko Ono did submit a poem when I sent her my request.

This was one of the many poems in English and Dutch attached to the hundreds of carnations going out in Canada, the US, Holland, Australia and recently Wales where a group sent me a striking photo of kids with poems wrapped around daffodils - their national flower.

The night before I'd received a poem on which stated that this carnation goes out in memory of soldiers who have died in Iraq on February 14 - and the names listed.

Perhaps in dark times giving out simple words from someone near or far - we can feel the bright feeling of giving or receiving and in this simple gesture we touch our better selves and are reminded of the connections we have and the responsibility, joy, grief and work that brings. We are here for each other.

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."
Anne Frank - Amsterdam



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Comment by Stephanie Chase on February 17, 2009 at 6:16pm
This sounds like awsome work Frederico!
I feel holidays like Valentine's are commercialized in a way in which it has to be a day when you have to find a "special someone" or you feel horrible.
I think starting an initiative like this is wonderful, since it connects all people of all faiths, classes, creeds, backgrounds, ethnic/racial groups, political identities together, and realize that we are all one. Through this, people learn to connect their hearts to one another.
This is definantly an event that I would like to host, by bringing people together, through an act of love, kindness and compassion.

Thanks for bringing this up!



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