The Peace Table
As the Vietnam War was coming to a close in early 1975, memories were renewed of the inability of the war powers to meet for peace in 1973, in Paris, because for months they could not even agree on the shape of the table at which to meet. What would be the shape of the table at which the different representatives could meet? That was the question in the air. On behalf of the peace movements and continuation of the long struggle to end war, woodworker activist Alan Haber undertook to build a table for the meeting to make peace, not only for Vietnam but for all the world and reach an agreement to end the war system itself. No peace without a meeting, and no meeting without a table.
We offer a peace table, beautiful by all accounts, receptive to all outstanding questions, aesthetically transforming the square of earth to the circle of heaven, with nothing lost. The table design, inspired by the Chinese book of change, the I Ching, is made to be “Receptive” to all outstanding questions.
Built with the aspiration of a peace meeting to end all wars, this table served a whole generation of a family to grow and resolve family conflicts and eat together and socialize and do the bills, etc. and it was blessed by the clergy of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, breaking bread and praying together. It served as the opening peace table at the 1999 Hague Appeal for Peace, the world’s largest ever peace meeting. Nobel Peace Prize winners Desmond Tutu, Rigoberta Menchu Tum and Jose Ramos Horta sat around the table, moderated by David Andrews of Ireland and talked of what they had learned in their peace efforts in South Africa, Guatemala, and East Timor. The table served in the room where different meetings discussed small arms dealing, child soldiers, nuclear weapons, the war in Sudan, and two sessions on Jerusalem.