Nixon and Mao. Reagan and Gorbachev. De Klerk and Mandela. Rabin and Arafat. The importance of the handshake should not be overlooked. Throughout history the handshake has been used as a powerful symbol for peace. From originally showing that you come in peace and are unarmed (at least in that hand!) to today where it is the ultimate photoshot – used again and again to suggest a new era, a new political order or alliance and a way of reconciling from the past. It can show that two countries or two groups that have previously had no contact, through an action of physical contact, now have a new symbolic relationship.