A Day of Peace in a Year of Unrest
Written by: Joel Barrett
September 21, 2021.
“Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world.”(Imagine, 2021)
The lyrics of singer/song writer and most importantly to note on today, a peace activist, John Lennon. His words though penned from over 50 years ago are still requisite today. And though he wrote with context to his day, we can agree that peace is still necessary even today.
John encourages us to imagine a world of peace, without materialism, without borders separating nations and without religion. I however say to you today, as we join to celebrate International Day of Peace, that merely imagining peace alone isn’t enough. Peace must be pursued. It must be sought after (but cannot be sought after unless had), and if not, then unfortunately it will never be obtained.
The Cambridge Dictionary (2021) defines peace as “freedom from war and violence, especially when people live and work together happily without disagreements.”
But peace is not just the absence of war or fighting or even disturbance. Instead, peace is harmony. Peace is comradery…it’s unity! Baruch Spinoza (1670) says it perfectly when he said that “peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.”
Be reminded today that peace starts with you. As a matter of fact, it starts from within, inner peace. One’s ability to find a kind of tranquility that can change the way we see the world and interact with others. Moreover, to be at peace speaks to when one is truly actualised. This is when you truly know yourself and what you are capable of, and you do not waste your time or energy on things that are unimportant or meaningless.
Therefore, strategically, if someone has inner peace, and is at peace with themselves, then ultimately, world peace would be achievable. Imagine peace within, peace with yourself, and peace with others!
Furthermore, that is harmony… “a situation in which people are peaceful and agree with each other” (Cambridge Dictionary, 2021).
This year’s celebration of International Day of Peace is themed: “Recovering Better for an Equitable and Sustainable World.”
Historically, the United Nations General Assembly established The International Day of Peace back in 1981. Today, 20 years later the General Assembly unanimously voted to designate the Day as a period of non-violence and cease-fire.
“Recovering Better for an Equitable and Sustainable World?” What are we recovering from? Let’s discuss the most prevalent disturbance to date, the COVID-19 Pandemic. Countries worldwide are still recovering from the drastic impacts of the virus. Persons are still healing from mental health issues, students and some employees are still getting accustomed to the new norm of online learning, all due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The UN is inspired to think creatively and collectively about how to help everyone recover better, how to build resilience, and how to transform our world into one that is more equal, more just, equitable, inclusive, sustainable, and healthier.
The better recovery of self and nation will eventually lead to equitability. Equitability is “characterized by equity or fairness; just and right; fair; reasonable” (Dictionary.com, 2021).
Sustainability “focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs” (Grant, 2020). It is creating a world today, but not only for today. Similarly, to how some businesses commit to sustainability, so should we as a nation. Peace generates sustainability and is the product of equitable decisions.
So as the world gathers to celebrate International Day of Peace, let us likewise join in as a country, a nation, a school with a united focus to give peace a chance, and the world will live as one!
United Nations (2021, September 21). International Day of Peace 21 September. Retrieved from: https://www.un.org/en/observances/international-day-peace
Spinoza, Baruch (1670). Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. Retrieved from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tractatus_Theologico-Politicus
Cambridge Dictionary (2021). Peace. Retrieved from: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/amp/english/peace
Dictionary.com (2021). Equitable. Retrieved from: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/equitability Grant, Mitchell (202, October 12). Sustainability. Investopedia. Retrieved from: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/sustainability.asp