In 1986, the world celebrated the International Year of Peace. Activities abounded and conferences were held. Awareness was heightened.
Thirty-six years have passed and the world is in more travail than ever. Every facet of humanity is being challenged.
I participated in many activities during that year and what became apparent to me was that very few people were aware of that celebration, or at least appeared to be too busy to be concerned with it. Are we more concerned with it today?
In the response to the question, “What do you think about world peace?” the most frequent answer was, “It would be nice but I don’t think it is possible.” Why is it that our society is so skeptical about the one sure thing in life? Time and time again through the ages it has been told that peace will come to Earth.
“... and they shall beat their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” — Isaiah, 2:4
“.... He will live in supremacy over this earth to its ocean bound, having conquered it not by the scourge, not by the sword, but by righteousness.” — Buddha (c. 560-480 BC)
“The believers are but a single Brotherhood: so make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers; and fear Allah, that ye may receive mercy.” — Qur’an 49,10
Many of us who follow religious beliefs choose to disbelieve in these prophecies. Is this not a direct denial of our religion? If we truly follow our faith should we not be taking an opportunity such as International Day of Peace to investigate and share solutions to this global concern?
We must begin to realize that it is the responsibility of each and every one of us to contribute to the promotion of world peace. We are the peoples of the world. We govern our own lives and our own destiny. If each and every one of us decided that our destiny should be world peace, we would have peace tomorrow.
We must begin to search out the truths of our beliefs. We must begin to eliminate our prejudices, which only lead to strife and discord. We must begin to educate all our peoples for lack of education only leads to prejudice and injustice. We must recognize women and men are equal: “The world of humanity has two wings — one is woman and the other man. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible. Not until the world of woman becomes equal to the world of man in the acquisition of virtues and perfections can success and prosperity be attained as they ought to be.” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, p. 29). We must eliminate the extremes of poverty and wealth. We must establish a world language so communication and consultation can begin to flow with better understanding.
When we say, “I am only one person. What can I do?” reflect on some of these ideas of what you can do. Remember, you are the government; you are the peoples of the world. “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”
We invite you to join us to celebrate the International Day of Peace, bringing your thoughts and ideas to share. Let’s be part of the solution.
For more information please contact [email protected].
Actions for Peace, presented by Ed Milewski, Thursday, Sept. 21, 7 p.m., Midland Public Library, 320 King St., Midland.