Global Truce 2012 NGO Coalition

During the course of the work that I’ve done as part of my Masters course, especially in peace-building, there has been an emphasis on the importance of relationships and providing opportunities and spaces for these to grow and flower in a positive and constructive way. I believe, and am very hopeful, that this Global Truce Coalition can very much help to further that process.

It is, in itself, a coming-together of a number of organisations with a similar goal: to improve the lives of all people, and especially the most vulnerable, by working to reduce and eliminate conflict of all kinds.

By working together, the whole can have a far greater reach and more effectively carry out the individual mission of each part where it is needed. Furthermore, the idea behind Peace One Day – that if we can all work together to achieve one day of non-violence, then we have taken the first steps towards a global community where conflict in all forms can be reduced or even eradicated – can only reach a wider audience and inspire the hope that is necessary for such an undertaking.

I wish the Global Truce 2012 NGO Coalition every success in achieving its goals.

Other points mentioned during the launch:

  • Conflict (along with disease and lack of food, which are connected to war) affect the vulnerable members of society most – the children. Peace Day is used very effectively to try to work against the spread of disease, especially among the young.
  • Peace work is often met with reluctance from governments – this is where NGOs can step in, with the benefit of them having a great passion for doing this.
  • Peace is justice, equality and freedom for all – conflict has to be managed.
  • Skepticism and cynicism  are the biggest hindrance when it comes to the hope for peace – people can do it (reduce conflict) and we can help to foster that hope.
  • Peace has to be locally owned (something that’s also come up on my course) – the most effective peace happens when local communities take matters into their own hands and set up their own local  government which they feel is legitimate and can be respected. The communities can take control of their own destiny and this makes the hope of peace a reality. There’s something in there about empowerment.
  • Transitional environments offer tremendous opportunities for change (heh actually wrote an essay vaguely related to this idea about the “necessity for conflict transformation”)
  • People living in situations of conflict are twice as likely to be malnourished and three times as likely to be uneducated
  • Securing a fragile peace, where there is violent conflict, means taking out the fuel for further conflict – the weapons and ammunition.
  • Coalitions and relationships are the way forward.
  • NGOs are among the most trusted organisations – governments and banks have become less trusted due to current economic and political issues, but NGOs are more trusted due to their primarily social concerns.

I can’t quite remember the question OR the responses to this one exactly (which is terribly frustrating, because at the time it was really interesting to me and is probably handy for the essay I’m working on now), but the issue of violence against women was brought up and the male-dominated nature of a lot of the organisations that deal with the various routes towards reducing conflict. I suspect I’ll have to corral my thoughts about that one and squeeze it into my essay for my course rather than blogging about it!

Emmanuel Jal mentioned that Jeremy Gilley had told him that his grandfather had been a Japanese POW during the Second World War and that part of his motivation to create Peace One Day had been that no one’s grandfather should have to go through that treatment. My own grandfather was interrogated and tortured by the Japanese soldiers in Malaysia, because they believed that he would know where his Communist brother-in-law was (he was probably hiding somewhere in the jungle, but no one knew where – including my Gua kong). It took some serious bribery from my grandmother’s mother to get him released – if he hadn’t been, then my mother wouldn’t have been born and I wouldn’t exist! The stories I’ve heard about what happened to my mother’s family while the Japanese occupied Malaysia really bring the reality of conflict close to home – while I live in the UK, war has directly touched people who I share close blood-ties with. The Second World War isn’t really something that justhappened 60 years ago to people who are elderly now for me – it’s something that happened to members of my family. And conflict still happens now, all around the world, and people suffer because of it.

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

More information

Global Truce Day Campaign Launched

Peace One Day and Interpeace Launch NGO Coalition

PeaceOneDay and InterpeaceTweet’s storify accounts of the launch

Peace One Day 

Interpeace

BRAC

Mercy Corps 

War Child

MAG (Mines Advisory Group) 

ACCORD (African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes) 

Viva Rio 

Peace One Day – The Day After Peace

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.

— Buddha

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

http://www.peaceoneday.org/
http://internationaldayofpeace.org

http://www.warchild.org.uk
Help end world hunger

The Hunger Site

Peace One Day

“Good ideas are not adopted automatically. They must be driven into practice with courageous patience.” – Hyman Rickover

Peace One Day is an organisation initially set up to get a day of global ceasefire and non-violence, a “Peace Day”, recognised.

They decided that the best way to go about it would be to get the UN to do something and subsequently found that the UN already had one of these Peace Days, only… nothing really got done on this day. So stuff happened and eventually they got it ratified as this day of global ceasefire and non-violence and got it a fixed day rather than a vague third-tuesday-in-September,-but-maybe-we’ll-celebrate-early affair.

ANYWAY. They did it. And a documentary was made about it and broadcast on tv. Quite late at night. Which was when I caught the last two thirds of it when it was first broadcast, as I was uncharacteristically watching tv downstairs, late at night, rather than browsing the net in my room. I was fascinated, not just because it’s a really well-made and well-constructed documentary or because Jeremy Gilley is an infectiously driven dreamer-hero of the story, but because it’s a damn good idea.

A day of actual peace. Where children can be immunised without health workers fearing that they will be hurt. Where aid can be delivered to places that need it but are usually too difficult to get to. Where one person does not kill another person.

Because to achieve world peace, you have to start somewhere. And why not start with just one day.

“The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” – Thomas Edison

Over the last few years, I have been able to celebrate this global day of peace more, well, vocally I guess. Being a student, I always had plenty of time to get something sorted out. This year however, while I did manage to do something to strive towards peace, I didn’t have the time to be vocal about it or remind every body I knew that it was coming.

The tragedy of no longer being a student and having days full of… slacking between lectures. Stupid work.

Anyway, to remedy this, I have decided I am going to start early. In fact I am going to start planning now. This way I’ll have plenty of time between work, church, the two courses I am doing and whatever else life throws at me to get something done.

And hopefully, it’ll be nice and big and vocal and spread the world and encourage people who don’t know about Peace One Day or the day of global ceasefire and non-violence or all the good that gets done and CAN be done on such a day to celebrate it and DO something.

“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.” – The Buddha

Peace One Day is a nice idea. However, if it is only an idea, it is worthless. An idea this vital, this important must be put into action. It is not enough to think about it and do nothing. Do something, even if all it is it telling someone else about it.

Lives depend on it.