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"Without War, Birds Would Be Singing"

A little girl from Oslo asks Dr. ElBaradei a question during the children's performance at Oslo Central Theatre in December 2005. (Credit: D. Calma/IAEA)

Children stand high on the list of well-wishers to Nobel Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei.

One school in Fuenlabrada, a suburb of Madrid celebrates "Peace Day" every year on 27 January. In 2006, about 300 children between the ages of 6 and 14 wrote letters to the IAEA Director General. They wanted to send their greetings and congratulations on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Teachers informed the children about the Nobel Prize and why Mohamed ElBaradei and the IAEA were honoured in 2005.

All the children say they would like to have peace in the whole world. Some of them want to grow up to serve peace and help humanity cure diseases, stop wars and destroy all weapons. Others seek to keep the IAEA Director General's spirits high, telling him not to give up and to keep trying, that the task is not easy and will not be done in a short time.

Below are excerpts from selected letters sent by Madrid school children, unfortunately, it was not possible to publish all letters.

  • "Hi! I write to you to congratulate you for the prize, but above all that you are in favour and fighting for peace, which is more important than wining any prize.Peace will not be achieved with one day a year or with one person who can speak nicely, but every day and with everybody. To achieve peace we must start with the people we have next to us, day after day, with dialogue. Peace and war are not a game because many lives can be lost. Along history, there have been many periods of war but never periods of peace. I hope we can achieve this challenge for ever. Peace symbol of life.".-- Ilham, 16
  • "Thank you, you have worked very hard."-- Patricia, 5
  • "Dear Mohamed, I have heard that you don´t like wars, I don´t like them either. That is why we will fight for peace. A kiss,"-- Alvaro, 7
  • "Dear Mohamed, Hello, my name is Eugenio and I am 6 years old. I wanted to thank you for helping people in need. For me peace is to share with my friends, not to fight and to be obedient. I wish that people have lots of money so they can eat. Also, they should not offend/abuse. That is why I promise that I will not bang the table when we eat and I will not fight with my sisters or with anybody else. And we will always have peace."-- Eugenio, 6
  • "My name is Alvaro and I am 7 years old. In the country where I live there are no wars and I have a family that loves me and takes care of me. But I know that there are other children that have no food and have lost their families in a war. That is why it is necessary that adults work for peace so that these things don´t happen and all children of the world should be as lucky as I am."-- Alvaro, 7
  • "My father went to war and his friends died, but my father survived and one friend too. You know, they fired him on his finger and they sew his finger but it looks ugly. Bye." -- Carlos, 7
  • "We were many people giving you support from Spain so that your inspectors would have more time so that there would be no war in Iraq, that is why we were so happy with your Nobel Peace Prize and we hope that you will continue fighting for peace in the world. Congratulations!" -- Javier, 7
  • "That you never die, that you win the war, that you are happy, that you have many children, that you know lots of things from Egypt and that you know the language. And that you fly an aeroplane!"-- Laura, 7
  • "Thank you for doing medicines instead of bombs. And that you try to do a lot more medicines. We all want that you do more medicines and also health."-- Laura, 7
  • "Congratulations and thank you for not making bombs and thank you for helping girls and boys. You have won the Nobel Prize and I am very happy that you have won this prize and you should also be very happy. I want you to take good care of the prize because when you die this will be a souvenir from you and it will be in a Museum and people will remember you. And there will be a lot of peace in the world and there will be no wars."-- Mario, 7
  • "Thank you for all you have done. You are a very good person. We thank you very much. I hope nothing bad happens to you and that next year you win again!"-- Roberto, 7
  • "You are a very good man helping others and I find that excellent. Because I don´t like war, because people die. War is bad and I don´t like it. I don´t like it at all. I love you,"-- Jonathan, 8
  • "I write you this letter to congratulate you for your recent prize for peace. I am sure that if there would be more people like yourself, probably there would be no need for such a prize. This would mean that there would be more peace in the world. But because we are so numerous, we will never agree in anything." -- Raquel, 8
  • "I am Belen. I hope people would understand my letter because I have many questions: Why was dynamite invented? If we are all human, why are there so many wars? We are all citizens of this great world. I am still only 9 years old, but I hope that when I am older the poor will be like all others. Bye from Belen and kisses to the whole world."-- Belen, 9
  • "I write to you to thank you for using atomic energy for non-destructive objectives, like converting atomic bombs into medicines for the whole world. Thank you for studying to save sick people with medicines, I think you deserve the Nobel Peace Prize 2005. I liked what you have done, because I have been often ill and I had to take medicine. Many people would be thankful, like me, I liked what you have done stopping atomic bombs and using that energy for non-destructive objectives, I am only a child and I cannot express myself well enough. In summary, many thanks for all you have done for humanity. Thanks.," -- Adrian, 10
  • "How did you manage to transform nuclear energy, being such a negative thing, in something that can help us all? Was it difficult to transform?"-- Aimee, 10
  • "I am Alvaro, from Fregacedo School, and I write to you because I think it is incredible what you have done, you deserve what you have received, but I know that you do not give that much importance to what you have received, what is most important to you – and you should be proud about it - is what you have done; and I would like to do what you have done; I know that I cannot do much but I know that I can do something; still it is hard to do. And thank you for contributing to peace in this world. Well, now I must say good-bye, and I will try to be a better person. Good-bye dear Mohamed ElBaradei."-- Alvaro, 10
  • "I know that you created atomic energy to do good things, but with this energy they are creating bombs." -- Andrea, 10
  • "I do not write this letter to win a prize, or to compete with my friends, or anything like that. I simply write it so that people of all the world can know what is peace. Peace is the nicest thing of this world, it is made of love, friendship and happiness. I also want to say no to war, terrorists and weapons... I hope all the world would be in Peace. And I would like to clarify that applies not only to good persons but also to bad persons, because I know that we will find a peace pigeon inside them."-- Diego, 10
  • "I promise I will help you. I would like to see you and I would very much like to get to know you better. I am from Morocco... and I live[d] in Tanger... One day we will all die and war will continue. Keep going dear Mohamed ElBaradei. My class wishes that you keep going and that war stops. When I go to sleep I always wish for peace." -- Ferdaous, 10
  • "And we could send - to those children in need - like every year, one euro and also half a kilo of food. And all the cooks could go to cook food for them. One cook to each country. That way everything would be fine."-- Ivan, 10
  • "My name is JuanMa. The first thing I would like to say is congratulations for the Nobel Prize. The second thing is that, even though you have won the prize, you should not give up, you should keep on fighting for peace and that you should try to win another prize for humanity: PEACE. Good-bye and thank you for making this world a better one." -- Juan, 10
  • "Dear Mohamed El Baradei, I have read what you have done and I find it very good. Despite your efforts, this is not enough. You are lucky and I hope you feel good. I also hope that every body else does something similar."-- Marcos, 10
  • "Imagine... Imagine that there is more peace... Imagine that there are no wars... Imagine that animals do not die... Imagine that people do not die... Imagine that. So, that is my poem."-- Miguel, 10
  • "Hi! I am Rocio, a girl of 10 years almost 11, and I want you to know that I don´t like war, I prefer peace and also love, this is what I have learnt in my Religion class, but even if they would not have taught me this in Religion class I knew it already, never never did I like war. I have always preferred peace and love. Ok, good-bye Mr. Mohamed ElBaradei."-- Rocio, 10
  • "Greetings to you. How are you? I hope you are well. I am a happy girl from Loranca and I have in my mind endless congratulations for the prize that you have been given, of course you deserve this prize and many other, what you have done is excellent. This is an excellent idea. When I am a few years older I will also do some of the ideas that are in my mind: like going to the less developed countries and helping as a voluntary. Another idea is to study a scientific career and to try to discover a vaccination to stop some important illness. You have just heard some of my ideas, but I have many more trying to come to light, in order to stop the hunger of this world, where some deaths every day is normal... I say good-bye, thanking you for giving me the opportunity to write my ideas and feelings. Thank you."-- Carla, 11
  • "Hello Mohamed. Congratulations for wining the prize... I wanted to tell you something, that even if you try very hard there will always be someone who is against you, if you make it I would be surprised because many have tried but they have not managed to stop war, this could happen to you. I would like to be a pigeon to take peace to all parts. Have you ever asked yourself that when you try to do all you can it never happens the way you wanted? I can answer this question. If you want to achieve something never give up, because if you really try you will achieve your goal. I know this because I have been asked before. But, do you know something? I would be happy if this answer I am going to give you will help you: When you do your best, at the end everybody will back you up. Never give up, no matter how much you have to sacrifice for it. I have asked myself this questions many times, and it works. If you really think that you will save the world from war by giving up, then you are truly confused. You might think I am giving you a speech by means of this letter, but it is not a speech. I am writing you this letter to help you, if you do not achieve your goals then do what I have told you and you will see how you manage. Even if 1, 2, 3, 4 or more years pass, but please, do not give up. Follow my advise and you will see how in your country things will change."-- Deborah, 11
  • "I know that what I am going to write is maybe impossible, but you could please try: I would like that there are no more nuclear bombs. Because I did not like at all the bombs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima."-- Maria, 11
  • "I once contributed money (three euros) and my friend five euros to "United Hands". I know it is not a lot, but if every person in this world would give a little bit of their money, that would make many millions of euros. And I almost forgot, keep doing your job as mediator of the world to avoid having bombs of mass destruction, like the ones of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which killed so many civilians; they have done no harm and die because of these nuclear bombs. All the money that is invested in arms could be sent to the poor countries to contribute to Peace, that the world needs. It was a pleasure writing this letter. Regards from a boy from sixth grade,"-- Nestor, 11
  • "I must thank you and your group IAEA for peace and atomic energy being used for countries in need, for medicines. My ideas are not stupid, read them: 1. I don´t want that there be wars. 2. Weapons should not be made. 3. That all atomic energy be used for medicine. 4. And that new laws should be made so that we can have peace in this world."-- Sandra, 11
  • "I am a student, 12 years old, from Madrid. My name is Alicia. I am totally against wars and I thank you very much for your efforts to try to avoid the war in Iraq. Despite the fact that your strategy, based on dialogue, was absolutely not of the liking of the USA, you knew how to stay firm and you showed that there were not nuclear weapons in Iraq, even by gaining the hate of the most powerful country. I hope that in the conflict with Iran your are more lucky and that things get solved by using dialogue and not through arms. And that the politicians of the USA accept the opinions of the UN and that they not always do whatever they want for their economic benefits. I wish you luck and that you can continue using your weapons: the dialogue. With affection," -- Alicia, 12
  • "I have some questions: How do you do atomic energy? How do you do so that people do not use it for harmful things? What do you do with atomic energy? I have been told that you use it for medicines. I thank you. A lover of peace..."-- Estella, 12
  • "I would like to congratulate you for having won the Nobel Peace Prize. I would also like to congratulate you for the company you lead, the IAEA. Due to the IAEA and to the atoms it is possible to invent medicines and other useful things; instead of bombs or other un-useful things. I would like to motivate you to keep on inventing so that wars and violence disappear and that peace stays for ever."-- Felix, 12
  • "In the world there are many wars, a lot of violence and too little peace. I am slightly good, but you are a missionary, and you use atomic bombs not to kill but to do good things... Thank you for creating the IAEA. I have one friend who is Chinese, another one who is black and another one from Morocco. My name is Guillermo, my friends are called: Alvin, the Chinese; Ayu from Morocco and Navy the black one."-- Guillermo, 12
  • "I would like to ask you that you help the poor, that are always hungry, that are obliged to steal because they have not food for them or for their children. You can also try to change the law, so that the punishment is done for each theft, murder, etc. And also to go against the terrorist and the organised crime; furthermore, in Iran and Iraq they are suffering the most and they are hungry and poor. I want you to keep your promise to bring PEACE to the whole world. Thank you very much and see you soon. With affection and love." -- Joan, 12
  • "I am very interested in your work and your efforts for peace. It must have been very hard to prevent that atomic energy be used as an instrument of war. I hope you are able to do something else so we can have peace in the world, the only thing I can do to help you is to write this letter of thanks and maybe we can live in peace one day. I hope you can continue like this so that human beings stop being mean and selfish. If there would be a world without war, the birds would be singing all the time, every day, but there are too many wars for them to sing, I hope one day it will be like that. Thank you for contributing your "grain of sand" against war. A warm saludo." -- Elisa, 13
  • "Hi, how are you? I hope you are well. This year you will receive many letters and possibly my letter will never reach you. I wish arms would be made of chocolate and when you fire them a flower will come out, from this flower there will be a great big smile. I wished that instead of bombs killing people, when they explode there should be a million kisses for those who need one. Thank you for receiving my letter."-- Leba, 13
  • "My name is Sara and I am 13 years old. First I would like to congratulate you for this prize that you have won, if there would be more persons like you, fighting for peace, this world would be a better one. Our teacher has explained to us a bit about your organization, but I did not understand very well: I know that your organization is about giving good use to atomic energy instead of making bombs; but I do not know for what atomic energy is good. I know that you were in the Iraq war when they said that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and you told the people of the USA that there were none; but they would not listen to you. How did you feel? Do you think that if you would have been of white race they would have believed you? I think we all have the same rights, but some other people don´t think so. I hope that you continue doing good things and fighting for peace."-- Sara, 13
  • "Mr. Mohamed, war should not exist because too many people die and they should change war for football matches and the country that wins the match, wins the war!" -- Cristian, 14
Last update: 28 Jan 2021

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