International Day of Peace: A day that unites us!
Translated by Dafni Manti
Peace. We automatically think of the noun only, not the situation. We live in a world where the existence of war somewhere on earth is considered grim, yet it has become an ordinary occurrence. In 2022, we have come to think of war as a necessary evil, a means for peace between 2 or more countries. Αs the years go by, world peace is becoming more and more dismantled. How come that the average “civilized” person considers war a necessary means of establishing peace, while considering the absence of military intervention a utopian scenario?
Hundreds of years of history have been marked by mass bloodshed resulting in millions of casualties, conflicts, torture and atrocities on innocent souls. Whether it’s sticks and stones, swords and spears, machine guns and tanks, nukes, the thing itself doesn’t change. War. The only thing that has changed is the means. It seems that the more the human mind evolves, the more sophisticated the means of enforcing peace. Sometimes weapons are not even necessary, since money and withholding resources is instead used as ammunition by countries with great economic power, to subjugate smaller economies into their sphere of influence. The consequences of this modern expansionist policy are affecting the common folk, gradually driving them into poverty and misery (through evictions and low wages).
–Adamantios Korais: Wherever you see wars, have no doubt that politics has been separated from morality. Frequent wars are an unmistakable sign of the greed and the brutality of nations.
Ideologies, political beliefs, ethnic groups, cultural characteristics, religions and race: These are concepts that were supposed to highlight our diversity as the most advanced species on earth and consequently promote equality and harmony. Instead, they have become sources of bigotry and hatred, as well as key causes for warfare. Jews were thus burned alive, villages of non-believers of a certain god were bombed and members of various political parties were fatally shot. This dark fantasy is actually a sad reality. Unfortunately, some war fanatics cannot grasp the beauty of peace without personally going through the pain of war. The education system is greatly responsible for not teaching basic critical thinking and perceptive abilities, as these are skills that the adolescent mind under reconstruction definitely needs. Countless volumes have been written about the war conquests of various countries (many of them today’s “civilized nations”). Tall these volumes could have instead focused on the importance of peace and its benefits.
-Gandhi: When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.
Greed and vanity: Two feelings inextricably linked to human nature and war.
It started with the need of a country to conquer new territories, to grow its “empire”, to enslave non-nationals and to dominate. Then, the vanity of supremacy has led to countless bloody conflicts, in the name of spreading “civilization” and the power of the nation by a few more pieces of land. Then there were the economic interests stemming from a war, profits of large corporations producing weapons and war systems. A quick glance between the lines of history will reveal that wealthy families behind such large corporations have funded both sides involved in many wars. As long as profit was to be gained, the war would continue no matter how many innocent people died and by however gruesome methods. Lastly, the desire for territorial expansion by whatever political leadership, gave rise to intolerance and fanaticism for many people, ready to sacrifice their lives to expand their country’s borders that magically stretched further and further.
International Day of Peace – United Nations
Of course, no situation is irreversible. The main defender of peace is the UN, which established the International Day of Peace in 1981 to spread and defend its ideals. Since 2001, the 21st of September has been set as the date when all of humanity celebrates together. The main objective is to build and establish a culture of peace, to promote the idea that differences in culture and ideologies can unite us, so that we can help anyone in need and protect our whole planet. With the sustainable development goals established at a historic summit in 2015 and looking ahead to 2030, the UN is attempting to achieve that.
Also for anyone who wants to contribute or to be informed, the UN is running programs in over 100 countries. It stands against the division of societies and intolerance against anyone. It does this by helping refugee-hosting countries, organizing communities and inviting everyone to help, to speak out and to witness what it is like to be a victim of the horrors of war who will never to see home again.
In summary, to say that we will have world peace immediately is not realistic. It may never happen. But it is important for anyone who has suffered the evils of war to realize that the main perpetrators are the greedy people looking for endless profit, and not the innocent civilians who are seeking a better future. And remember… peace is not a utopian dream.