In 2001 the United Nations General Assembly declared September 21 of each year as the International Day of Peace. Today\’s Times of Zambia is running an article on this topic, posted online via AllAfrica.com.
The correspondent asks, \”What is peace and why is it so important to us?\” He goes on to explore why a goal of world peace is not a Utopian dream, but the responsibility of each one of us. He believes that to achieve world peace will take a restructuring of human society where human diversity is the cause of pride, not conflict. He says that those claiming humans are incapable of removing prejudice from their outlook and will always have war are representing a distortion of the human spirit.
I agree. The declaration that peace is not possible ranks with other great statements that deny the strength of humanity. How many times in the past has someone said that man would never circumnavigate the earth, fly like a bird, walk on the moon, split the atom or cure any number of diseases. Women have been heads of state in several countries. African-americans serve in the US Senate. Thousands of things that were impossible in the past are reality today. World peace is tomorrow\’s reality.
Great achievements require a lot of work. How do we work for peace? On the larger scale, I can only rely on representatives to the United Nations to do the work they do. I live in a representative democracy, so my abilities to influence the workings of my government are fairly limited to voting for the most responsible candidates and keeping them informed of my opinions on issues that are in their jurisdiction. But on the smaller scale, the scale that each one of us exists at each day, I can have more influence. I can teach my children to, \”have loving and tender hearts.\”* I can teach them to stand up for justice.* We can practice being \”a friend to the whole human race.\”*
But I\’m only one person in one family. How much help is it if I consider the \”Earth as one country\”* if I\’m surrounded by people too distraught by the frantic modern world to think about their own attitudes or how they relate to the rest of the world? I don\’t know yet, but I\’m trying to work on service to my community. There are a lot of communities I\’m part of. I work in an office with a few dozen people. I attend some of the meetings of the Charlottesville Java User\’s Group (Java the computer programming language, not coffee). And I\’m a member of the Baha\’i Faith in Charlottesville. But I spend most of my time in my neighborhood. I\’ll take more time soon to talk about our neighborhood. Now, I\’ll just say that it\’s becoming more of a community all the time. That\’s the kind of world peace I\’d like to see. Not just countries avoiding war on each other, but a town, a country, and a world full of neighborhoods where friends care about each other, and care for each other.
The Great Peace towards which people of good will throughout the centuries have inclined their hearts, of which seers and poets for countless generations have expressed their vision, and for which from age to age the sacred scriptures of mankind have constantly held the promise, is now at long last within the reach of the nations. For the first time in history it is possible for everyone to view the entire planet, with all its myriad diversified peoples, in one perspective. World peace is not only possible but inevitable. It is the next stage in the evolution of this planet–in the words of one great thinker, \”the planetization of mankind\”.
The Promise of World Peace