Italy 16 November: Palermo
A Path of Peace through Palermo
Our day begins with an invitation to the High Court in Palermo. Escorted by Deputy Prosecutor Ennio Petrigni and the Carabinieri we climb the stairs to the court with the torch of Peace. Although they were not present on this occasion we would like to thank Palermo's Attorney General, Mr Francesco Lo Voi and the President of the Palermo Courts, Salvatore Di Vitale for supporting this initiative.
We are welcomed by the President of the High Court, Matteo Frasca, and reminded of their dedication to Peace and Rights.
Antonio Razzuto and Antonello Armetta have been instrumental in arranging this visit and have embraced the vision of the Peace Week in Palermo.
Children from several schools and academies are present. All week they have been contributing to the Week of Peace by painting on a 160 metre canvas at the Sant'Elia Museum, inspired by the exhibition of Sri Chinmoy's Paintings for Peace and World Harmony.
Nine year old Amelia will lead the procession carrying the Torch of Peace, which this past week has been held by Mayor Leoluca Orlando, the Director of the Art Academy of Palermo and other Artists, Staff at the Civic Hospital, Lawyers and Judges, Athletes who came to Palermo as immigrants, Detainees at the Juvenile Detention Centre, The University Staff and Students, Teachers and school children.
Music students from the Band of the Regina Margherita High School lead the way performing a medley of songs that include the Peace Run anthem by Sri Chinmoy.
Amelia is a perfect ambassador for this special occasion. She is from Palermo: her parents are from Madagascar and Colombia. This city was once upon a time the most populous city in Europe, with Arab, Norman, Jewish, Greek and Spanish peoples living together in Harmony.
His words of welcome to the runners, the children and Sri Chinmoy's vision for Peace are most inspiring and indicative of this city's dedication to Peace and Harmony.
The Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run offers the President of the Sicilian Parliament a painting by the founder of the Peace Run, Sri Chinmoy. This painting will be on permanent exhibition in the Palace, which is also the seat of the Parliament of Sicily.
Our dear friend, Maestro Ferraro, who has been participating in the Week of Peace, performs 'Beauty Came to Me' by Sri Chinmoy.
Each school that has participated in the Week of Peace is invited to the stage to receive a Certificate of Appreciation from the Peace Run.
Rosa Vitale, who interviewed the runners on her TV show, receives a Certificate and invites us to return to Sicily for more initiatives and to share the Philosophy of Peace by Sri Chinmoy with the people of Sicily.
Laura Alongi (second from the left) has worked tirelessly to see this project come to life. Here she is with her parents and her sister.
Good friend of the Peace Run, Giuseppe Taibi, President of FAI Sicily, holds the torch. FAI preserves and supports historic and environmental sites in Italy.
Thank you to our sterling photographer, Paramanyu Lebedev, for capturing the images and moments of this special week.
In the evening we are invited to a special programme at an organisation called 'Dipingi La Pace': Paint Peace. The name of the association is inspired by a poem that read like this:
"I had a box of colors, I didn't have the black to paint the mourning of my loved ones, I didn't have the red to paint the blood of the wounded, I didn't have the yellow for the jealousies of the world, I had the light blue: I sat and I painted the peace."
- by a child
It is also inspired by the book "Paint the Peace", a volume created by the Mayor, Prof. Leoluca Orlando and sent to all the Heads of State of the world and brought with a special train, in 1986, "A train for peace", to His Holiness John Paul II, in Rome, with hundreds of boys from the neighborhoods of Palermo.
He invites individuals and Galleries to donate paintings which are then sold to raise money for poor children to make it through school and university.
His daughter is an artist and a dedicated participant in the project. At this meeting with the Peace Run, Don Paolo Turturro proposes a new scholarship which will be awarded to children in Africa: "The Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run Scholarship". It will be funded from the sales of Paintings he currently has collected. With the aid of the Peace Run coordinators in South Africa we hope to award the first scholarship by December 8th this year.