Escopetarra: Spreading the Message of Peace

With this AK 47 rifle pointed at your audience you will be bringing a smile on everyone’s face. Terror would be unheard of with this rifle. Sounds pretty weird but is true. This weapon is a symbol of peace.

A weapon being used as a symbol of peace is quite an unexpected idea. And such unusual and unique ideas are always welcome. The Escopetarra is a novel idea that has come from the Columbian peace activist César López.

The Escopetarra is a musical instrument of the guitar family that has been created from decommissioned AK 47 rifles. These decommissioned rifles no more produce gun shot sounds but melodious music. Take a look at these musical instruments and you will notice how perfectly they fit into the role. López has got both artistic and political recognition due to his modified rifles. He has been adapting decommissioned AK 47s into guitars. He has not only adapted them but has also played them on the streets of Bogota.

The name Escopetarra is a portmanteau of the Spanish words escopeta and guitarra. The former means ‘shotgun’ while the latter is, quite clearly enough, guitar. It can be said to be a bit of a misnomer since all the Escopetarras till date have been adapted from rifles. Shot guns are not yet used for the purpose. May be at some later date López would use a shot gun too.

The combination of violence and music was a very out-of-the-blue idea that occurred to López way back in 2003. At a gathering he had noticed a soldier holding his rifle like a guitar and the idea struck. In these present times when violence is not an unusual thing the Escopetarra emerged as a perfect means for spreading the thought of peace. It was widely accepted by many dignitaries and international organizations. One such piece has also been on display at the United Nations Headquarters.

Initially López had got five of these Escopetarras made by countryman Alberto Paredes. Four of these he gifted away to two musicians, the Bogota city government and the United Nations Development Program. He retained one for himself which was later sold off at a fundraiser program. Later López acquired 12 more such assault rifles which he planned to modify into guitars.

Long time back noted English poet and playwright William Shakespeare had said ‘If music be the food of love play on’ and this is exactly what López is following. He realizes that music can conquer every heart and with his peace symbol he is out to win the world over towards a peaceful path.

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