We cannot address the need for world peace without first looking within and giving proper significance to the need for peace in our own backyards. Neighbors battle neighbors, from the visible struggles of Hutus vs Tutsis in Rwanda, the horrifying death of Neda Agha-Soltan in Iran, the coup in Honduras, to the ongoing, yet largely hidden fight against the scourges of drugs, gun violence, gang warfare, racism, chronic unemployment and homelessness in America’s inner cities; a fight that usually takes place well out of sight of the nightly news.
As always, it is easy to point fingers at villains and oppressors either real or imagined, and again, we have found this approach to be unproductive; we are all complicit to some degree. Bernie Madoff was just sentenced to 150 years in jail; but are his victims now made whole? Has his conviction caused the greedy to cease fleecing the gullible? No, the only results that scapegoating can bring are that the innocent are often cast as criminals, while traitors sometimes play the roles of heroes. Sometimes the guilty are punished, but what reward does punishment bring? The game corrupts; only the corrupt can win, and if we are not committed to the need for peace, we will be committed to self-destruction.
Victories achieved by fighting, whether in the form of revolution, war, smaller group conflicts, or even “civilized” debate, can only produce temporary peace; the false peace of dominance. This is the peace produced by empire; it lasts only as long as force is maintained.
The time has come to change the game. We seek a different way; a true peace beyond understanding, peace born of love. We have seen this approach work in Northern Ireland; the process has been long, met with skepticism, and fraught with pitfalls and setbacks, but the labors of George Mitchell, Gerry Adams, Ian Paisley, Martin McGuinness, and all others involved in this monumental accord are now beginning to bear fruit. It has only been possible because both sides in this long conflict agreed to the need for peace above all other concerns; it required a leap of faith.
We must all make this leap of faith and walk together in the spirit of brotherhood and love. If we are to establish a lasting peace for all, we must relinquish all animosities, without exception. President Obama alluded to these points in his historic speech in Cairo (see the video under Photos +), and other great men and women—Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, post-Nation of Islam Malcolm X, Yoko Ono (decades ahead of us all)—have pointed the way; the approach of taking responsibility for peace is the only way to achieve lasting and meaningful peace.
We encourage all pro-peace efforts; investment in housing, education, job training, day care, family health programs, mediation, energy conservation and sustainability, and economic justice for all; these are the seeds we sow today; the resulting harvest will be beyond imagination.