Make a Tableau

By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, September 16, 2023

I want to pass along an idea relayed to me by a peace activist named Ann Tiffany, namely that of creating a tableau.

She said that she got the idea on a trip to Colombia where there were people in the street dressed up as clowns, getting attention and helping people cross a wide boulevard. “I came home and suggested that we create a scene with live people that embodies the flyers we are handing out.  The whole point is to get the attention of people so they will accept and read our flyer.”

To promote the upcoming Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal, Tiffany said, “we created a small tableau depicting the Mother dressed in a hijab standing behind a woman seated on a chair holding her child covered with a bloody sheet.  A ‘dead soldier’ covered in a bloody sheet lies in front of these two figures. I think we only had one sign. ‘What if this was your family?’  The two women must keep a face depicting sorrow throughout the tableau. . . . At the most 30 minutes and then take a break!”

“This tableau only takes three people and then we have two people handing out a Merchants of Death flyer.  We’ve used tableaux at the New York State Fair, Hancock Drone base, and even in DC in front of Union Station. Most were about Ban Killer Drones and closing the SOA.  Some had as many as 12 people in the tableau. It added a bit of interest to just handing out flyers and also provided an opportunity for creativity.”

Can you think of any messages you’d like to communicate that are not allowed on television, or that won’t be learned from a flyer unless people will take the flyer?

The reality of nuclear war? Can you picture dead bodies everywhere and perhaps two signs? “At least we stood up to NATO.” “At least we stood up to Putin.”

The existence of victims on both sides of a war? Can you picture piles of dead Ukrainians and piles of dead Russians and perhaps two signs? “Ukraine will be defeated any day now.” “The defeat of Russia is imminent.”

What about a tableau with a hungry person, and a sick person, and a war profiteer with a giant wheelbarrow full of money?

How about a tableau with a peace activist imprisoned in Ukraine, a dead soldier killed for freedom, and a child picking up a cluster bomb years later?

Or a tableau of people stopping a tank without using weapons?

Or a tableau of Biden and Putin bickering while a personified Climate Collapse gloats?

Can you think of one? Send us a report and a photograph!


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