Visiting The Wall For Peace, Paris
The Wall For Peace (Mur de la Paix)
The Wall For Peace (Mur de la Paix) was created by Clara Halter and Jean-Michel Wilmotte. As you can see from the image it lies at the end of the park close to the Eiffel Tower. Inspired by the wailing wall in Israel it includes cracks in the surfaces intended for people to insert personal notes. The monument consists of columns and glass panels on which the words ‘peace’ is engraved in 149 languages in 18 alphabets. It is a striking and poignant addition to the Champs de Mars facing, as it does, directly into the neighboring military school across the Place Joffre. If you are visiting Paris, it is a little bit of a walk to the wall from the Eiffel Tower, but I think it’s worth it.
The streets and parks of Paris are full of monuments to all manner of people and events. The Wall For Peace, however, was not conceived to memorialize anything, it was created to pose a question: ‘what is your peace?’. Much like the artists and writers at Charlie Hebdo it uses language and imagery to challenge the viewer, to question ideas and beliefs but it doesn’t diminish your beliefs unless you let it.
There are as many answers to the questions posed by writers and other artists as there are people. Each one of us has our world view, shaped by our experiences. But if your answer to these questions is violence, retribution and death, rather than thoughtful reflection and reasoned discussion then your personal beliefs may not be as robust as they should be.
Je Suis Charlie.