“A mind at peace, a mind centered and not focused on harming others, is stronger than any physical force in the universe.”
~ Wayne Dyer
Today (Friday) is the International Day of Peace, recognised each year on 21 September. On this day the United Nations invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.
I admit that I am less interested in politics in general, and more interested in the recovery and sustainability of people’s mental health, but I have recognised that something that contributes or takes away from my mental health, is when I am disturbed by things I am passionate about. Peace is one for those things for me. And I am convinced that a lack of peace causes great harm to the mental health of so many.
The Secretary-General of The United Nations, Ban Ki-moon says:
“On the International Day of Peace, the United Nations calls for a complete cessation of hostilities around the world.
We also ask people everywhere to observe a minute of silence, at noon local time, to honour the victims – those who have lost their lives, and those who survived but must now cope with trauma and pain.
The theme of this year’s observance is “Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future”.
Armed conflicts attack the very pillars of sustainable development.
Natural resources must be used for the benefit of society, not to finance wars.
Children should be in school, not recruited into armies.
National budgets should focus on building human capacity, not deadly weapons.
On the International Day of Peace, I call on combatants around the world to find peaceful solutions to their conflicts.
Let us all work together for a safe, just and prosperous future for all.” (1.)
It is the victims of war, and they can be defined in many ways, are the ones I feel most concerned about because they are usually the innocent ones, the one’s who haven’t chosen war, but get stuck in its path. They are the ones who face years of trauma and pain. I accept that I have never been in a war zone, and neither do I want to be, but I have been in a war zone in my head (and my body in relation to my eating disorder and self harm). I know from that how much damage war does and I believe strongly that there has to be another way to solve conflict.
“I am fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.”
- George McGovern
And it’s not just men. Only a few weeks ago my country mourned the death of our first woman soldier in killed in combat. Her death was no worse than the death of the two men who died with her, but it somehow hit home to me, particularly when I watched the footage of the all-female pall-bearer party carry her coffin off the plane that brought the bodies home.
I have complete respect for those who serve their countries in war, but I have no respect for the leaders who craft the wars. Those who send soldiers to war and create conflicts where innocent people are killed. There simply has to be another way.
Because of my interest in mental health I keep asking the question, what must war do to the mental health of those involved? We only need to consider for a moment the statistics of suicide and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) amongst soldiers, but we have little knowledge of the impact on civilians. It must simply be enormous, and I don’t believe that this impact on either soldiers or civilians is acceptable.
I am just one person, many miles from the conflicts that are taking place at the moment. I could say, what can I do? I can’t change anything. But I strongly believe that I can make a difference simply by raising the issue, recognising the event today, and hoping for peace. It’s not easy to change our world, but that is no excuse not to try. I am going to continue to write about this, and as I have said before, have committed to the Blog Blast 4 Peace on 4 November. Maybe it’s not exactly what my blog is usually about, but it is something that I feel strongly about because it has an effect on my life (and yours).
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
- Margaret Mead