When we think of world peace and working to achieve it, most likely these sorts of images come to mind:
Yup, “peace” is just for those pure, hippie-dippie potheads, we think. So many people dismiss it. But we shouldn’t. Even I have fallen into that trap of thinking that peace is simply unattainable. People are inherently greedy. Power will always corrupt. There will always be war and violence and evil in the world.
What if that’s incorrect? It’s so easy to be cynical. But how do we definitively know that peace is impossible if we don’t even try to reach it? And reaching peace is what many are trying to do. September 21st is the International Day of Peace. According to the website:
By creating the International Day of Peace, the UN devoted itself to worldwide peace and encouraged all of mankind to work in cooperation for this goal. During the discussion of the U.N. Resolution that established the International Day of Peace, it was suggested that:
“Peace Day should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples…This day will serve as a reminder to all peoples that our organization, with all its limitations, is a living instrument in the service of peace and should serve all of us here within the organization as a constantly pealing bell reminding us that our permanent commitment, above all interests or differences of any kind, is to peace”
That’s all well and good, but what I find particularly interesting about this day is that it also calls for a 24-hour global ceasefire:
“Along with being designated by the UN as the International Day of Peace, September 21 is also a day of Global Ceasefire. By acknowledging a unified day without violence, a Global Ceasefire can provide hope for citizens who must endure war and conflict; it proves that worldwide peace is possible. A cessation of hostilities for 24 hours can also enable relief workers to reach civilians in need with food, water, and medical supplies”
So, essentially what this is saying is that if the world can go one day…just 24 hours…without violence, then global peace IS possible. I agree with this. If we can go one day, then why not two? Why not a week? A month? A year? A lifetime?
But for now, let’s just focus on a day. Baby steps.
On Peace Day in 2008, the Taliban agreed to not carry out any attacks for the day. This allowed medics with polio vaccinations to go into some of the most dangerous regions of Afghanistan. Isn’t that cool? Such a violent organization agreed to stop fighting for one day, and such good came out of it. That proves to me that peace IS possible, and it IS worth fighting for.
I encourage you to participate in Peace Day on September 21st. Several events are held in honor of Peace Day, so find one and join in. Or set up your own event. Or agree to a “personal ceasefire”, in which you end hostilities on a personal level for just 24 hours.
“There is never a good war or a bad peace” -Benjamin Franklin