In search for peace
21 September, 2020, 7:00 pm
International Day of Peace is observed on September 21.
The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the UN General Assembly to recognise and strengthen the ideals of peace.
What is peace? That is the question disturbing so many as the mind is bombarded with multiple thoughts and questions every moment, unsettling the harmony and equilibrium of a person.
Merriam-Webster’s Elementary Dictionary defines “Peace” as “freedom or a period of freedom from public disturbance or war; a quiet and calm state of mind; agreement and harmony among people; an agreement to end a war.”
Peace is also one of the UN Sustainable Goals. Sustainable Development Goal 16 is about “peace, justice and strong institutions” and is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the UN in 2015.
The SDG 16 is dedicated to the “promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”
People have different meanings, understandings and interpretations of peace.
Some think of peace as just absence of wars and battles.
Many believe that injustices, discrimination, wrong values, jealousy, greed, hatred and violence are the main factors disturbing peace.
Most people are searching for peace, only to find disappointment and deceit.
The mind is often disturbed with worry of the present and anxiety of the future.
This causes much distress, disturbance and stress for anyone.
The COVID-19 pandemic crisis has worsened the mental state of many because of lack of employment, financial constraints, uncertainty of the future, fear of their health and so many more issues.
Mental torture is the greatest of greatest torments affecting many today.
Everyone is doing something to get some peace because everyone is craving for some moments of peace.
Some seek peace in religion for salvation, while some enjoy the beach for fun and relaxation.
However, some indulge in alcohol and drugs for release of tension. But some are deprived of peace by their own decisions and actions and.
Some regretting their mistakes and errors, perhaps unable to forget the wrongs they have committed.
Their peace is shattered forever, as they are unable to forgive themselves.
Many philosophers, writers, poets, religious leaders, politicians and researchers have expressed their views on the concepts of peace.
The Dalai Lama states: “Although attempting to bring about world peace through the internal transformation of individuals is difficult, it is the only way.
“Peace must first be developed within an individual. And I believe that love, compassion, and altruism are the fundamental basis for peace.
“Once these qualities are developed within an individual, he or she is then able to create an atmosphere of peace and harmony.
“This atmosphere can be expanded and extended from the individual to his family, from the family to the community and eventually to the whole world.”
According to Mahatma Gandhi, peace implies a state of positive and constructive world order where every individual lives in mutual co-operation.
Gandhi states that “Nonviolence is a weapon of the strong.
The law of love will work, just as the law of gravitation will work, whether we accept it or not.
“The more I work at this law the more I feel the delight in life, the delight in the scheme of the universe. It gives me a peace and a meaning of the mysteries of nature that I have no power to describe.”
Many say that doing the right things and practicing good ethical principles will bring peace.
The Bible says “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.
On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it” [Peter 3:9-11].
One of the first steps in establishing peace is being friendly to everyone. A smile is one of the best ways to make peace.
If we spread love and friendliness, people will feel respected and accepted.
Many see the cause of wars and conflicts being differences in opinion.
Another step towards peace is to be open to new ideas, views and perspectives of others.
If we accept new ideas and differences, there are better chances of solutions to the problems in the world.
Just by listening to each other is an important step towards peace.
Dialogues and negotiations are the way forward to peace.
Peace needs nurturing and building, not just celebrating. Peace needs to be practiced.
We should try to make every day our day of peace and we should work towards achieving peace and harmony at home, school, work, sports and in the community.
We should make peace in every aspect of our life- being at peace with ourselves, others and the environment.
The theme for the International Day of Peace this year is “Shaping Peace Together”.
We can celebrate Peace day by spreading love and compassion to everyone.
Peace is necessary and essential if we and the world are to survive.
Let us all work together in shaping peace in Fiji and the world.
Let me conclude with my poem on peace.
In search of peace
Lying on the white sand
Looking at the vast open sea
Mind plunged in the ocean of thoughts
What is peace and where it is to be found?
Why are there so many wars and confl icts?
Is peace all about freedom?
Is peace freedom from fear?
Is peace love, happiness and joy?
Is peace a sense of quietness?
Is peace a state of understanding?
Is peace an experience of knowing oneself?
Is peace being “at peace” with oneself?
Is peace only an elusive dream?
And why is peace so elusive?
Will anyone ever find everlasting peace?
Needing no abstract and philosophical reasons
But clear, concrete and plausible answers
Like the clear blue sky above
But are there any real answers available?
- Bhagwanji Bhindi is a lecturer, School of Communication, Literature & Language at College of Humanities and Education, Fiji National University. The views expressed are the author’s and does not necessarily reflect the views of this newspaper.