Dona Nobis Pacem – 2016

Dona Nobis Pacem
(Grant Us Peace)

dona-nobis-pacem-2016

On 4 November (today, on NZ time) bloggers from around the world come together with one purpose. That is peace. I’ve missed the past couple of years, but as peace is something I feel strongly about, this year I’m back blogging for peace.

But before you think I’m not writing about topics you usually find on this blog, please keep reading. Peace affects us all. We all have a voice, and we can all choose to use it to call for peace in all types of situations.

Peace. What is it? What do you think of when you think of peace? It’s one of those words for which we know what it means but we can’t always put words to it. I went searching for a definition that fits what I am talking about. How’s this?

Peace is a stress-free state of security and calmness that comes when there’s no fighting or war, everything coexisting in perfect harmony and freedom.
– Vocabulary.com

I think we tend to think of fighting and war as the opposites of peace. Others suggest hate. Today I want to suggest another opposite of peace.

Indifference

If we do nothing, we will not achieve peace whether it applies to world politics or peace with a neighbour or even a partner or child. If we leave it to others, or we just don’t care enough, then we will never have peace. To achieve peace, we have to do something.

When I was twelve I learnt this song at school.

I know you know it, but listen to it again anyway. Allow yourself those few minutes to hear it again.

It was the late 1970’s and to a twelve-year-old, it was a kind of cool song. I loved singing all the verses (including those added later) but I really had no understanding of what it was all about. I’m sure our teacher told us it was something to do with war, but I loved singing and would probably have sung anything. It was up there with singing ‘Hotel California‘ and the songs from the musical ‘Jesus Christ Superstar‘.

But now, Pete Seeger’s song leaves me feeling sad, and a little bit empty. I can stay like that and think it was sad what happened with World War 2 and the Vietnam War. But the song still applies to our world today. Rather than simply being about those two wars, the song is more about the futility of all war. How history is a cycle that we can’t break. That’s what is sad, and what remains if we do nothing.

Right now there is so much going on in our world that is about fighting and war, indifference and what I will call a lack of security. Who knows what is ahead? I read just yesterday that World War 3 is coming. I didn’t need to read it because I know. I know that unless we do something then we can have no security for the future. We have no certainty of peace.

Above, are those great words of Martin Luther King Jr. that I repeat here because they are exactly what I want to shout out to anyone who will listen,  when such turmoil, hatred and uncertainty are a part of our world:

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.

I don’t have to accept what right now seems almost inevitable. Actually, I don’t think World War 3, as one example of the hatred and fighting has to be inevitable.

If I want peace, I need to speak up and say so. I need to do something. Indifference will only achieve fighting and war and I am completely opposed to those.

It is not just for my future that I have to do something, but for the futures of the so many people in our world who aren’t in a position to speak up. When I speak up for peace, I am speaking up for the people of Syria, for the refugees, for those who have no voice for a thousand different reasons.

It’s easy to do something. Sign a petition or join a protest rally. Give a simple bunch of flowers to the neighbour you have been arguing with. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and often the smaller offerings are more meaningful. Just do something… towards achieving peace.

There are some simple words that all the bloggers posting for peace today know:

if words are powerful…. then this matters

Words are powerful and so this does matter. Do something. Don’t be guilty of indifference. Speak up for peace.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
 – Edmund Burke

Thanks for reading

 

Cate

International Day of Peace

“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.

Image credit: Michelle Frost
Blog Blast for Peace

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.”

 – Edmund Burke
**

“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

Related Articles