What do we do for peace?

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We all want peace and still…we do nothing or too little to make it possible. The very meaning of the word “peace” has been shifted from the sphere of reality to a utopian dimension, making it the dream of the hippies or naive idealists and abusively inserting the notion into unreliable political speeches. Therefore, peace is seen as an illusion or a lie. We don’t believe anymore in peace just as we don’t believe in fairy tales. Consequently, we refuse our right to peace and to a fairy tale-like life.

Today is the International Day of Peace and its theme is the right of peoples to peace proclaimed by the 30th United Nations General Assembly Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace in the context of the Cold War and directed especially towards the elimination of the nuclear war threat. The current international situation (see the boiling Middle East, the Crimean crisis, Sudanese civil war and so on) shows us the limits of our efforts to ensure peace and urge us to reflect on a few questions:

  • What happens if our right to peace is violated?

Usually the international community or the concerned parties play the diplomacy card. In other words they negotiate untill they find a common ground. If they fail, the abusive state is subjected to economic sanctions. Will the abusers suffer? Too little. Will they be stopped? Unlikely. Economic sanctions do not have the power to improve the situation of citizens, but they do have the power to worsen it. Economic sanctions violate the right of citizens to development by refusing them the access to resources, and therefore violate their right to peace. It’s an unfortunate paradox which instead of solving the problem deepens it. Of course, if the economic sanctions are applied only to stop the import of weapons the situation can be slightly different. But still they cannot restore peace.

The worst scenario used is bringing peace by war. We don’t (want to) live in George Orwell’s Oceania and still we use(d) the famous slogan “War is peace” from 1984. Think about the results of the so-called “preemptive wars” of the US and you’ll see my point: You can neither prevent a war by war, nor end it. It’s a contradiction!

  • So, What happens if our right to peace is violated?

Most of the time nothing …

  • Why?

Because although we have the right to peace, we are not bound to exercise it. The right to peace is obviously not an obligation, it’s a choice, while international law is still not powerful enough to ensure the respect of the right to peace. Of course, we have the Geneva Conventions of 1949 which regulates the conduct of conflicts and protects civilians, but they don’t make war unlawful.

  • What do we do for peace?

Celebrate International Day of Peace in line with the activities proposed by the UN?

Anyone, anywhere can celebrate Peace Day. It can be as simple as lighting a candle at noon, sitting in silent meditation, or doing a good deed for someone you don’t know. Or it can involve getting your co-workers, organization, community or government engaged in a large event. You can also share thoughts, messages and pictures to commemorate Peace Day on social media.- http://internationaldayofpeace.org/

It’s not a bad idea to help others, to meditate, but do large events like concerts, Peace day selfies really help? I agree, they raise awareness, they set a trend for a day and from tomorrow on everything goes back to “normal”. Shouldn’t we celebrate peace every day? And not only through shapes without substances… Today peace might be on the crest of a wave, what about tomorrow? Will we return to our selfishness or continue to promote peace and love? Unfortunately trends are changing… and as Jimi Hendrix said only “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.”

What can you do for peace?

  • Educate yourself- read as much as you can and always keep your mind open, don’t fall for absolute truths,
  • Find a positive role-model (mine is Gandhi),
  • Inform yourself– know what’s happening in the world,
  • Raise your voice, show that you care,
  • Develope your emotional intelligence,
  • Put yourself in the shoes of others,
  • Search for your inner peace– a peaceful person cannot be attracted into useless conflicts,
  • “Be the change you want to see in the world (Gandhi)

Not today. Everyday!

Celebrate a better world?

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As you already know Turkey and other Muslim countries are celebrating Ramazan Bayramı. Even though I’m not a Muslim, and I am not even living in a Muslim country at the moment, somehow I’ve felt the spirit of Bayram since the arife, the eve of the holiday. I’ve turned on my holiday mood and I… even prepared cookies. My inner self has been wearing her best bib and tucker and was kind of surprised to see people going to work, acting normally … as I was expecting to see them celebrating. I felt like it was Christmas! I felt happy that it was someone else’s “Christmas”. Although the “basic” reasons for celebrating Christmas, Ramazan Bayramı or other religious feasts are different, we cannot deny their common message: be human, love others. So why not to celebrate humanity with others? I can already hear my critics: “Wake up daydreamer! We cannot celebrate everyday! We need to earn our living!” I totally agree. But… I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t work during the celebrations of others… Not nearly. All I’m saying is to let the spirit of the holidays invade our souls and act accordingly. People tend to be kinder, more willing to help others and happier during celebrations. So why not celebrate more? And become better human beings.

Of course, in order to celebrate and to feel happy for others, we should know them, understand them. Information and empathy. We all have the keys to them. If we use them properly we can avoid the stereotypical traps, which have the power to separate us. Before judging others we must inform ourselves and instead of being indifferent we should imagine ourselves in their shoes. The more we know someone the less we judge, hate, discriminate, hurt … Logical, right? But not so easy in a subjective world. As humans we tend to blame others for what’s happening to us, we refuse to take responsibility. It’s easier. It’s easier to label people than to understand them. It’s easier to hate than to communicate and search for solutions. Some may argue that life is too short and there’s no time to waste with others. And after all Machiavelli taught us that “the ends justifies the means”… But what are the consequences? Hate, lies, egoism, wars… the metamorphosis of humans into soulless bodies. Following this path we may obtain what we want, but still feel miserable, unsatisfied, as we cannot share our happiness. To a certain degree we already live in these realities. I’m not talking only about unprincipled, bloody politics, although there are many things to be said about but I’d rather keep this blog out of politics, I’m talking also about unhappy, intolerant people, isolated from reality, in a cold, superficial world. Ready to fight back but afraid to communicate, ashamed to show their feelings.

So what does celebration have to do with this? Well, celebrations bring people together. Celebrations make us more human. Celebrations usually celebrate humankind, culture and origins, identity. We can better understand others by observing the purpose and meaning of their celebration, and recognize ourselves in them. By joining them. Because celebrations are usually a source of happiness. Moreover, happiness is a source of “good”, while “bad” seems to be the weapon of unhappy, frustrated people. Who cannot understand. Cannot tolerate difference. Cannot accept their own weaknesses. So they try to destroy the happiness of others. As if happiness would be a limited resource…

When we’ll realize that we are all the same, but painted in different shades, that we have similar needs and dreams, but different ways to express them, and speak up against the imaginary barriers that separate us, we’ll live in a better world, celebrating humanity day by day…

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