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by john leonard
Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2006 at 11:24 AM
Greetings "give peace a chance" to be remembered at major holidays.
PeaceWish.Com now soliciting artwork for Spring Holiday greetings.
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A new kind of holiday greeting has just appeared at www.PeaceWish.com - E-greetings for popular holidays, combined with a peace theme.
"Nothing like this had been done before," says PeaceWish founder John Leonard, "even though peace is what just about everybody on this planet wants."
While the first designs tended to be overtly political, the approach now is to tap universal sentiments that appeal to everyone. "Peace really is part of the legacy of many big holidays. 'Peace be upon you' might be the oldest greeting in the world. And one of the favorite Christmas carols has the line, 'Peace on earth and mercy mild.'"
That line is also used by commercial e-cards, and Leonard thought at first that he could just look for existing cards on the web and link to them. "Funny thing, I found some nice cards for Peace Day, which hardly anybody has even heard of. But the cards for real holidays that say 'peace on earth' don't look like they really mean it, it's like they're just repeating the words."
The only way was to commission original designs. Valentines presented the challenge of how to include the peace theme and still be romantic. One card has a dove as the symbol of both love and peace. "We used lots of hearts. Best thing is to take a look at www.peacewish.com . A picture is worth a 1000 words, and press releases should be shorter than that!" Leonard says.
He is now looking for more creative ideas for Easter and Mother's Day. "We ask artists to contact us with their portfolio, then we can discuss their ideas and financial terms. We always give name credit on the site, too. In fact, anyone can contact me with an idea for a card they would like."
Is there any money it? "Hard to say. We got a very good spike of web traffic from the Christmas cards. At the bottom of the page there is a link to the books we sell."
PeaceWish.com differs from other e-card sites which "personalize" and send the message for you, but you can't download the images, and many of these sites appear to earn their keep by harvesting addresses. At PeaceWish.com, you download the cards for free and send them to loved ones by e-mail. There are two types, flash video clips as well as flat card images.
The e-card venture is a grand-daughter of the book business, Progressive Press. Their bestselling "9/11 Synthetic Terror" by Webster Tarpley features Guy Fawkes, the fall guy in a fake terror plot to trump up a war on Spain, 400 years ago on Nov. 5th, 1605. His day is a big holiday in England, but even there almost everyone still thinks he was the real villain. So for his 400th anniversary, Leonard hatched the idea of celebrating Peace Week from Nov. 5th to Nov. 11th, Veteran's Day.
Strangely, there is no World Peace Week on the calendar. "There is every other kind of week, National Sleep Week, you name it, but no regular Peace Week. Peace seems to be taboo or counter-culture in our society. No money in it for certain corporations. So we started with a Guy Fawkes Day card, but that's not an American holiday, so next was Halloween cards, and we just kept going."
Next in line are Mother's Day, Easter, which is on April 16th this year, "which happens to be my Mom's birthday. She's the one who actually started this publishing business," Leonard says. Also International Women's Day is March 8th - hardly known in the US but a big holiday abroad. Progressive Press does export a few books to Canada, Australia and Europe, and is hoping to licence some to overseas publishers.
The business end is still the books from ProgressivePress.com, on a related theme: "peace is possible because modern wars are mostly artificial and preventable, but first more people must learn this. For example," Leonard says, "take the current uproar over Iran. My author Tarpley has written an article called The Mohammed Cartoons: Recruiting Europe for Bush’s Attack on Iran. It shows the whole affair is a planned provocation." (text at www.waronfreedom.org/wgt/cartoon.html)
"With the Internet, your audience can be anywhere - it's globalization. With so many people on this shrinking planet, we'll completely ruin it if we don't stop fighting wars. Our cards are a tactful way to hint at this with people you know, and put peace wishes back into the mainstream."
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