When I was in Japan in 2006 I was invited to a local celebration of Peace One Day. I had no idea what Peace One Day was, but after a quick introduction in the car on our way there, and then a viewing of the Peace One Day movie, I begun to realize I had just become part of something big. Our local Akita celebration hardly tore down any walls, but I think that the people who participated (I know I did) felt that we had been empowered to go out in the world and spread the word about what Peace One Day is all about. That is what I am doing right now.
Peace One Day is a concept developed by filmmaker Jeremy Gilley who in 1999 decided to try to convince the world community that just one day of world peace could be the starting point for something much bigger. His initial goal was to make September 21st the United Nations official day of peace. In 2001 this was achieved, with the 192 member nations voting for adopting this day as an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence. Peace One Day had won its first victory, but the project was not over.
Since 2001 the work of Jeremy and his organization has spread the word about Peace One Day. The new goal is to reach out to 3 billion people by 2012. Peace Day is supposed to be a day of non-violence, both between nations, within countries, and between individual people. Call me a hippie, but if we can make 3 billion people stop being violent in every aspect of their lives for just one day each year, that is one hing of an accomplishment.
This year I think the thought behind Peace One Day holds a particular meaning to me. I’m finally in the process of putting the finishing touches on my thesis. For two years I have been surrounded by narratives, images, old documents and history books – all telling various aspects of the same tragic story. The people in the Middle East has been living in a state of war, or under the threat of war, for more than 60 years. After having seen what it does to me to only hear about it for two years, I can’t imagine what it must feel like to live in the middle of it a lifetime.
The current negotiations offers a slim, but much needed hope. I can’t say that I believe it is as easy as a signed document in front of a smiling Obama (and I’m not even saying I believe that will happen). But I have to hope. One day of peace will not save the Middle East either, but again I want us to hope. Hope that each day without war will somehow make the world slightly better. That perhaps we eventually can talk about Peace One Week, or Peace One Month. That enough people will be convinced that peace is the way to go, and that war is not.
Thus I encourage you to take part in this. Spread the word about Peace One Day. Raise the awareness. Remember that if just one man could do all this, then perhaps it is time the rest of us start paying attention.
Happy International World Peace Day!
Also - in a slightly related vein I'd like to tell you about another, much smaller project. Imagine that one good deed set in motion a chain of events that lead to a slightly better day for each person affected. In August, The Burrow invited a number of our friends to participate in a drabble cycle - inspired by a post by B. Miller - where each mini-story covers a selfless action that helps another human (and in one case an extra-terrestial) being. The Burrow Pay It Forward project will only be up a few more days before a new project is due, so I urge you to visit www.the-burrow.org ASAP to get a chance to read all the drabbles.