Locals hoping to change the world
By NERIDA BLOK
LANI Sidoti says if we think peaceful thoughts, pray and believe, peace is possible. Ms Sidoti, from Bangalow, joined more than 1000 demonstrators in a colourful march for world peace in Byron Bay yesterday. Following the successful landing of local skydiver Luke Oliver, with Byron Shire's $5000, 185-square-metre peace flag, the crowd made its way from Main Beach to Market Park, dancing to drums and chanting expressions of peace. "I hope people see the joy that's here, take it away and spread it in their part of the world," Ms Sidoti said. "If we all just stop, feel it in our hearts and believe, it will happen." Another participant, Strebl Wolfgang from Coo- pers Creek, said you can not bomb the world into peace. "It does not work," he said. "If you want to survive on this Earth, you have to implant sustainable techniques." For 16-year-old Augustina Rathjen of Melbourne, the march provided an outlet to express her anger towards our Prime Minister. "I think John Howard has lied to Australia and I've come here to tell him that what he has done is wrong," Ms Rathjen said. March organiser Paul Joseph said the success of the day was a tribute to the local businesses and people in the Byron Shire. "We have a strong network in our community," he said. "Everyone is committed to peace." Mr Joseph said people came to the area 30 years ago to escape war and now it was on again. "But this war is much worse," he said. "This march hopes to encourage people everywhere to get together and be peaceful." At the end of the march, Mr Joseph addressed a speech to the Bundjalung nation and the Arakwal people, custodians of this region, asking for guidance. "We need reconciliation," he said. "But we've got to make peace with them (Arakwal people) before we can make peace with the rest of the world."