Celebrating Peace Month-A A +A
Sunday, September 23, 2012
WHENEVER I attend mass on Sundays, there is a part I always look forward to - it is when the priest says, “My peace I give you; look not on our sins, but on the faith of your people and graciously grant us peace and unity in accordance to Your will. The peace of the Lord be with you... Offer each other a sign of peace.”
I often offer a sign of peace by a respectful greeting to the person on my side, in front and the back. Others do a handshake, or a bow between strangers, or a kiss hug between family members hoping peace reigns among us.
Presently, some nations are in deep trouble of maintaining peace. They are in the state of hostility, turmoil and violence. Voices of injustices can be heard among ailing, unfortunate and abandoned individuals fighting for freedom, justice and peace. Power is very dangerous, anybody possessing it can ruin and build an empire; can crash and destroy what is right; can pave the way for tyranny and persecution causing disorder, chaos and war.
Lives are lost; dreams may not come true and the land is falling. But with determination and courage there are still people who are fighting endlessly for peace. To remember efforts of these people working hard to end conflict and promote peace around the world, we celebrated last September 21 World Peace Day.
This was initiated by the United Nations since its establishment in 1981 and coinciding with the opening of the UN General Assembly and was first celebrated in 1982 as International Day of Peace. It is a time of healing wounds rooted from our past, a time of forgiveness, a time of ceasefire among warring sanctions, a time to express our deepest intentions of maintaining friendship and goodwill among our fellowmen. It is also a time of reaching out to those people we have hurt, and have condemned. It is a time to say, “I apologize to those I have mistreated and have wronged.”
But some people are still prejudiced and afraid. Is it so difficult to ask forgiveness and accepting one’s mistake? If we can just open our hearts for settlement and understanding, then we can move on peacefully having a better relationship among our brethren.
Varied activities were prepared in line with the celebration of World Peace Day. Prayers, pledges of peace, singing songs of peace, tree planting, toast for peace, exhibits and peace walk were held. Moreover countries encountering problems plotted for solutions to solve their ongoing crisis. In Europe organized volunteers for European Union Peace Corp to be sent to other countries for philanthropic work. Thailand invited religious leaders on a conference on religion and peace -building process in ASEAN. Sudan initiated a summit with his counterpart from South Sudan, Salva Kiir in Ethiopia to hold two weeks of peace talks to end aggression between the African neighbours.
In the Philippines, a peace pact will be held soon among the Muslim rebels and the government, Mohagher Igbal, chief negotiator of MILF Moro Islamic Liberation Front said more than 50% of the disputes were tackled by the rebels and government negotiators in Malaysia.
President Aquino is positive the peace pact can be signed by December. In the United States, US Peace Corps volunteered to return to Nepal providing service in food security, sanitation and health projects. A landmark of a new visa pact was signed by India and Pakistan .allowing and making accessible for their citizens to visit each other and sending a message, a sign of warming relations between the nuclear armed rivals. Meanwhile peace negotiations were going on in Ethiopia with the government settling peace talks with the Ogaden National Liberation Front. (Reference globalgoodnews.com/world-peace)
Aloha in Hawaii, shalom in Hebrew, salaam in Arabic, pax in Latin, all these words would mean peace. We may differ in language, in colour, beliefs and culture, one thing is sure among all of us and that is peace has always been among our highest values. World Peace day to everybody.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 24, 2012.