I Meditate SXM Peace event: a sea of red and candles flickering in the wind

POSTED: 05/22/12 11:24 AM

POINTE BLANCHE-A sea of red and candles flickering in the wind while soothing music from the harp and steelpan played, marked the first I Meditate SXM peace event organized by the Art of Living Foundation on Sunday. The peace event merged with the St.Maarten Aids Foundation’s candlelight memorial which was aptly themed Celebrating Humanity. It was indeed a celebration where different organizations came together regardless of political affiliation, race or creed to put on a multicultural display of “One Love”. The Bob Marley song which has become a global anthem resonated throughout the audience who actively participated in the event by either lighting a candle or meditating.
The event which lasted close to five hours was streamed live through a UTS feed on the Art of Living website. It gave people from over 153 countries the opportunity to view the proceedings at the Dr. A.C Wathey Cruise and Cargo Facilities. Founder the Art of Living way of life Sri Sri Ravi Shankar took the audience through a guided mediation from Germany. International Program Director for the Art of Living Foundation Dushyant Savadia enlightened those gathered on the three golden rules for effective meditation; I want nothing, I do nothing, I am nothing. The exercise was expected to bring relief to persons who suffered from depression or had bottled emotions and toxins.
Another global peace anthem, Michael Jackson’s We are the World was done through miming. But it was a breathtaking performance by Scottish harpist Mary Sommerville and St. Maarten’s musical ambassador Isidore The Mighty Dow York, which truly showed a fusion of two different cultures. York said he was humbled by the opportunity to participate in the event and make beautiful music along with a classical instrument.
Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor Affairs, Cornelius de Weever reflected on bygone years when “there was an incredible amount of fear and prejudice associated with HIV/AIDS…it was a frightening time, there was no definitive answer on how the virus came about.” He added that governments across the world are now being mobilized to move towards an HIV free world but the change starts with each individual person. “We can do our part to stop the spread of HIV, as well as honor those who have lost their lives to AIDS, by making responsible, personal choices. That part is in our hands. But for the things in life that are not, we have to ask ourselves if we don’t have a sense of caring, as a community, what do we really have?”
Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin said that St.Maarten has always been a nation that prides itself on its diversity. “Rather than dividing we should harness the strength of that diversity to unite us and what better goal than to be known as a peaceful paradise.” He suggested that the Art of Living workshop be given to members of the legislative and executive branches of government.
The evening was fused with poetry, dance, drama and drumming done by various artistic and cultural organizations on the island. It was praised by Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams. I Mediate SXM is expected to become an annual event with the organizers hoping for a Pan-Caribbean reach in the near future.
At the end of the event, St.Maarten Aids Foundation President, Dr. Gerard van Osch announced the winner of the 2012 Elton Jones Memorial Award for relentless advocacy towards HIV/AIDS awareness and the United Nations goal of zero new infections. The honor was bestowed on the foundation’s prevention unit coordinator Rajesh Chintaman. (see related story on todays articles )

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