“Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Tomorrow is the International Day of Peace
. This day, established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly, was first inaugurated on the third Tuesday of September, 1982. Beginning on the 20th anniversary in 2002, the UN General Assembly set 21st September as the new permanent date for the International Day of Peace.
In establishing the International Day of Peace, the United Nations General Assembly decided that it would be appropriate“To devote a specific time to concentrate the efforts of the United Nations and its Member States, as well as of the whole of mankind, to promoting the ideals of peace and to giving positive evidence of their commitment to peace in all viable ways… (The International Day of Peace) should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.”
Petrarch has said: “Five great enemies to peace inhabit with us: Avarice, ambition, envy, anger, and pride. If those enemies were to be banished, we should infallibly enjoy perpetual peace.” These words of the renaissance poet are as true today in times of world-wide strife, as they were then when internecine struggles between the city states destroyed lives.
Here is a poem I wrote last year on this topic of Peace: Peace
It is the laughter of children playing outside my window,
The smell of baking in the kitchen and the larder full.
It is the hurrying steps of a returning labourer,
Content with a full day’s work, eager to come home.
It is the fields that bloom, the grain ripening in the sun,
The cows dozing as they chew their cud.
It is my love in her summer dress reading her book
Under the shade of a green-leaf tree.
It is the sound of music drifting down the empty street
As dancing couples whirl in the town hall.
It is the two adolescents that kiss beneath a full moon
While the crickets chirp in approbation.
It is the careless saunter late at night,
The lights left on inside the house, burning like beacons.
It is the sound of airplane engines in the sky, that only
Stir the thoughts of distant exotic places and carefree holidays.
It is a rusty rifle driven into the earth to support a growing vine,
An old soldier’s helmet, now home to a budding flower.
It is the surety of watching your children surviving you,
The swelling pregnant belly and the double-joy of grandchildren.
Peace: It is a quietude and a celebration of the commonplace,
An all-increasing accumulation of small delights that add up to bliss.
Peace, it is a multiplicity of contentments and a realisation
Of what humankind has the capability of being.
And the illustration above is Picasso’s “Dove of Peace”.