Tuesday, September 21, 2010

International Peace Day - Give it a chance!

Stop the violence
It's very easy to be cynical about the UN International Peace Day which is marked on the 21st of September.

But this day is about Peace not about the UN.  It's about trying to get warring factions to cease fire for at least a day so that humanitarian groups can get to the people who need their aid the most.

The idea isn't so crazy, Christmas day ceasefires were customary on European battlefields in the early half of the 20th century.  Unfortunately, conventional wars have evolved into guerrilla  warfare. There is no respect for the civility of  the Geneva Convention in the marketplaces of Kandahar or the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Peace seems to be such a hopeless ideal that, like Santa Claus, it gives you a warm fuzzy feeling that is bound to end in disappointment. 

Whether it's conflict in your own family, or in the far corners of the world, we have no choice but to keep the hope alive that compromise can be reached and disasters avoided.

We live in a connected world where social networking has enabled us to communicate instantaneously with friends all over the world.  It means that we are exposed to horrific news and images quickly.  In the face of this orgy of horror, it is very tempting to throw up our hands and say that we're powerless. Human beings are violent and that is just the way it's always been and will continue to be.

Horrors happen. But the monsters committing them now can't hide.  We have the ability to tweet from the scene of a massacre or Skype from anywhere in the world. As the global village gets smaller, help can happen faster.

I admit that I am more cynical now than I was. It comes with age it seems.  But I refuse to give up on the hope for a better world -  a better me.  If we give up, Sauron will have won the day and the great darkness will come.

So I nurture that little ember of light that hides deep within my subconscious.  Once in awhile inspiration comes along to fan it into a flame. 

Jeremy Gilley who has founded Peace One Day (video) has inspired people all over the world to give their voice, their skills and their talent to this cause.

One of the more nefarious ways that people use to destroy other people is to dehumanize them. By keeping our humanity, by caring and being empathetic we can make a difference. 

Ride (and dance) along the Friendship Train!

This train stands for justice,
This train stands for freedom
This train stands for harmony and peace
This train stands for love

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