Peace comes from being able to contribute the best that we have, and all that we are, toward creating a world that supports everyone. But it is also securing the space for others to contribute the best that they have and all that they are.
— Hafsat Abiola
It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.
— Eleanor Roosevelt
A few years ago, I was still at secondary school at the time, I was watching tv late one night.
It’s something I used to do a lot before I went to university – stay up till crazy o’clock and still go to school the next day, fresh as a daisy.
I was channel hopping, because back then we had dial-up internet that was charged per minute and I couldn’t go on for too long at a time. Luckily for me, it was back in the days of usenet and I could download, go offline, respond to a bunch of posts, go online and send them all.
But I was channel hopping and I caught the end of a documentary called “Peace One Day” on BBC2. I must have only seen about half of it, but the whole idea – of a day of global ceasefire and non-violence, a day of peace – really grabbed me and I never forgot seeing it. A day of peace where humanitarian organisations could dish out aid, immunise people, give medical help…do things that normally could not be done because of conflict.
It’s a great idea.
But it shouldn’t just be an idea.
Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace.
An idea cannot really be great unless someone acts to try and put that idea into practice.
Jeremy Gilley, the founder of Peace One Day, decided to do something about it back in 1998. And he did do something. The UN recognised a fixed global day of peace – to be on 21st September – on 7th September 2001.
That was still not enough.
Peace, to have meaning for many who have only known suffering in both peace and war, must be translated into bread or rice, shelter, health and education, as well as freedom and human dignity.
— Ralph Johnson Bunche
Since then he and the Peace One Day organisation have been working to raise awareness of Peace Day. Slowly, as more and more people hear about this, things are being done.
The opportunities made by a day of ceasefire are being grabbed hold of. Last year, on this day, there was a day of ceasefire in Afghanistan. Children were given polio vaccinations. People had a break from conflict.
Just one day, but if we can manage one day, then managing another day is so much easier. If we can do it once, we can do it again. And again. And again. Until every day is a day of peace.
Peace, in the sense of the absence of war, is of little value to someone who is dying of hunger or cold. It will not remove the pain of torture inflicted on a prisoner of conscience. It does not comfort those who have lost their loved ones in floods caused by senseless deforestation in a neighboring country. Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free.
— The Dalai Lama
Do something today for peace. It could be opening a door for someone. Letting another car turn. Helping someone across the road. Smiling at someone. Giving a stranger your last Rolo. It doesn’t need to be big or world-changing.
Just one small action to bring a bit of peace to your immediate vicinity. It’s not hard. One thing.
But peace does not rest in the charters and covenants alone. It lies in the hearts and minds of all people. So let us not rest all our hopes on parchment and on paper, let us strive to build peace, a desire for peace, a willingness to work for peace in the hearts and minds of all of our people. I believe that we can. I believe the problems of human destiny are not beyond the reach of human beings.
— John F. Kennedy