Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I have been wondering lately how peace is achieved. Governments talking to each other and signing peace treaties are all well and good; if nothing else, it reduces the fighting. But, it doesn't cause peace. There is something more too it.

My work place has a saying, "peace through understanding". The idea is that peace is achieved through individuals learning about each other. If people get to know people from different backgrounds, then they learn that there are more similarities than differences. But there is a lot of variation among individuals, and chances are someone is going to meet a jerk and this might influence their entire view of another culture. (Have I ever told you of the Turkish man in London? He was a jerk. But, it doesn't follow that all men from Turkey are, just that one.)

For the most part it works though. You see people of two different backgrounds traditionally at war with each other become fast friends after a week or two of travelling together. Travelling away from home creates a common thread that ties people together. A thread that pulls open a door in their minds, allowing them to be more open to other cultures. They learn, and they begin to understand. It is hard to stay angry at a particular culture when some of your good friends belong to that culture.

Travelling is not the only thread that can open a persons mind. There are an infinite number of common threads that span cultures and tie individuals together; we just don't always pay attention.

Knitting is one of these threads. People all over the world knit. There are differences of course, sometimes the knit stitch sits twisted or untwisted on the needle. People knit different things, with different tools, in different places; but, these are all variation that we see in individuals, not just cultures.

One thing about knitting is that it is a truly international language. Take two knitters from any two completely different locations and styles of life. Imagine a person from an impoverished part of North Africa and a spoilt knitter from North America. The North American has access to all the latest patterns, tools, yarns, &c.; whereas, the individual from North Africa perhaps makes her own yarn and knitting needles out of what is available. They are about as different as I can think of, but they both knit. You put them together, knitting in hand, and the standard greeting includes admiring each others' knitting, yarn, technique, &c.. This includes stroking the work in progress or the knitted clothing that the other person is wearing. A few smiles are exchanged and they sit down to knit. While they knit, they watch the other person's technique, share with each other new ideas, perhaps a new kind of heel, and enjoy themselves.

Knitting, in this way, is a fully functioning Esperanto.

I know I’ve said this before, but have a look at Knitting Our Way to Peace, it is a blog run by one Jewish and one Muslim who knit together. They come from different backgrounds, but they share a connection through knitting, and they share that with the rest of us through this site. There is also a group along the same lines on Ravelry. I haven't learned how to link to it, but if you have a look at my profile on there, you can find it under groups.

In other news, I’ve been home sick this weekend (figures, just when I finally have time off to work on my studies, I am too ill to read) knitting my Christmas gifts (almost finished) and my Kauni. I also made some apple pies before I got ill. I made seven, but they didn’t put a dent in the boxes of apples we have laying around the house. I will make some more tonight.


Tara said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Raven said...

Don't make me moderate comments again....

teabird said...

Ditto to all you wrote --

TinkingBell said...

Great post - re the apples - you can actually make apple jeely - think you simmer apples covered in water, the drain through muslin overnight the boil liquid and sugar and bottle - clear apple jelly - and I just thought! Make scrumpy - hard (alcoholic cider) then freeze it and drain off the pure alcohol and you've got applejack (or you could just be dull and juice them and freeze the juice!

~Tonia~ said...

Great post.

I hope that you feel better soon.

Hanane said...

Well, I have to say I love this post! And your right you can't judge all Turkish men by the actions of one or a few. You can only really do that with Syrians, Moroccans and Egyptians. (I JOKE :) OKAY ) But seriously judging the actions of a whole race based on the actions of a few is just crazy talk.

knitting our way to peace

Miss Scarlett said...

Fantastic post!

Sometimes when I read other knitter's blogs I am amazed at how a hobby can bring people together. People I wouldn't ordinarily have met or interacted with.

Knitting for peace can't be bad!

amy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
趙又廷Mark said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.