Here are four minutes from PeaceTalks that help set the tone for each of us to end war. Period.
Before exploring the myriad pathways to permanent peace, it’s useful to begin with a clear reminder of what the world is now facing. Here is Shashi Tharoor of India – brilliant writer, diplomat, and politician – on the specter of growing fascism (6/1/23).
“Peace worldwide starts from inside!”
So how exactly can humanity at last end the scourge of war?
How do we meet such a seemingly impossible challenge, particularly in the face of the cynic, the terrorist and the fascist, who will always be among us?
In the words of another Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Dag Hammarskjöld, “Our work for peace must begin within the private world of each one of us.”
And from there it must flow into dramatic enlightenment across the continents, fueled by the natural and deep dedication of the vast majority of humankind towards living in peace.
Imagine a creative groundswell of hundreds of millions of us demanding of ourselves and our leaders that we reject the monologues of violence and war, that we commit with whole-hearted resolve to dialogues of peace.
To help create such a groundswell, The Humanity Initiative has decided to foster community gatherings worldwide dedicated to enduring peace, to creating this new voice of humanity. We are working on design and content now. If you would like to volunteer, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opportunities for action abound within our neighborhoods, communities, villages, savannahs, or city blocks. Come together, for example, in the ancient and relaxing tradition of sharing a cup of tea while custom designing your community’s peace mission. Listen, trade stories, see into each other’s eyes and hearts while considering the challenges and cross-currents of the day. Not least, better understand our past and investigate our future, allowing us to rediscover and rekindle ways to live and let live.
Help all us foster enduring peace with the creation of tens of thousands of such gatherings across the continents!
For easy inspiration, consider President John F. Kennedy sixty years ago reminding the world that ending war is not only necessary but possible!
198 methods of non-violent action
Jamila Raqib convincingly states the case for making violence obsolete in her 2016 TED talk. She also references this spectacular and realistic list of 198 methods of non-violent action, gifted to the planet by the Albert Einstein Institution.
There are of course many “local” ways as well for each of us to be a peacemaker every day:
- Establish programs of peace studies in our schools.
- Bring inspiring speakers to our school or community.
- Organize a peaceful protest for government transparency.
- Found a book club that concentrates on dialogues of peace.
- Bring works of art to our local communities that address the need for peace – and the hard work it takes to get there.
- Join an international campaign against a particular warmonger, dictator or terrorist organization.
- Support the efforts of one of the many international enterprises that work for peace.
- Encourage new legislation – for example to prevent drones from being used for military purposes.
- Raise funds for a public awareness campaign.
- Research and publicize the history of peace movements.
125 aphorisms on war and peace
As both resource and inspiration, here is our offering of 125 compelling aphorisms on war and peace.
To bring us up to date on the dozens of major conflicts now raging across the planet on five continents, here is the Carnegie Endowment for Peace “Global Conflict Tracker” (as of April 2023). More specifically, here’s the current state of war in Africa.
To end war and find everlasting peace, we of course must know the people who try to survive on the streets where war is as daily as weather.
As but one example, here is how The Washington Post, a respected American paper, does its best to bring that reality to its readers, in this heart-breaking report (3/3/23) on the relentless struggle between Palestinians and Israelis. The 1437 comments to the article are deeply informative as well.
Establishing enduring peace in current hot spots across the planet may of course seem an impossible challenge. Here is an analysis, for example, of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, one that might easily ignite into full-scale war. It was written for Foreign Affairs (4/10/23) by Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar, a fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.
Anthems of peace
Many timeless and inspiring songs stir our hearts with the promise of peace.
Why not take a moment right now — with friends or alone — to sway, boogie, shimmy, chasse, gyrate, get down or simply sing along in honor of an enduring peace that settles sweetly over Earth like a soft and heavenly light?
Gotta dance to these irresistible classics! Let the angels know we care…
Change is Gonna Come ~ Sam Cooke
People Have the Power ~ Patti Smith
Universal Soldier ~ Buffy St.Marie
Give Peace A Chance ~ John Lennon
From a Distance ~ Bette Midler, in Las Vegas
One Tribe ~ Black-eyed Peas
Imagine ~ John Lennon, with Yoko Ono in NYC
Where Have All the Flowers Gone? ~ Pete Seeger, in Stockholm
Now for a few practical considerations that must be engaged in THI’s community gatherings. This new voice of humanity, this recommitment to peace, this fight against fascism, must identify the issues and actors in theaters of war. Working with peace building partners, it must help create and implement the elements of enduring peace. One such key ingredient is a huge public groundswell.
Within the deceptive simplicity of creating community gatherings lies the essence of peaceful revolution: that so many people across the continents create such loud and creative insistence on ending war that leaders everywhere — especially in an age where it is increasingly tough to hide — realize that peace in our time is not only a priority but an essential outcome.
Even so-called “just wars” are fair game, for it is well within humanity’s creative grasp to contain those inevitable patrons of violence who think killing proves something more than their madness.
So let’s raise our community’s voice in pursuit of humankind’s most common, most powerful and most necessary dream: ending war once and for all.
Every day we dream of astonishing and possible ideas to end war.
There exists, in fact, a gallant host of angels and gods patiently dedicated to encouraging peace on Earth. You can hear them on quiet nights mumbling and fuming: “If only you humans would act!“
For example, last fall in England, on the “International Day of Peace” (September 21), a Business Plan for Peace was created. It asks:
“What if we could prevent war from happening in the first place? What if those bombs had not fallen, what if those children had not been terrorised, what if those soldiers had not been trained to kill?
It continues with actions we can take now:
- “It has become clear that the weapons industry drives future wars; at the biggest international arms fair held every two years in London, brochures for tanks and artillery have ‘Battle Proven’ across the covers. The industry thrives on war. So, if you have investments or a pension, you could mark this day by instructing your provider to withdraw any investments in companies that produce or trade in weaponry.
- “Understand to Prevent (U2) is a multinational project to determine the contribution defence forces can make to the prevention of violent conflict. It was developed a few years ago by six NATO nations, but never activated. Please look it up here; it’s a detailed and brilliant document. If you know anyone in the British military, please bring it to their notice.
- “Get involved with organisations like Peace Direct, formed 20 years ago to demonstrate that War Prevention Works, with a book showing 50 examples of how locally led initiatives have stopped armed violence. Peace Direct now works with local initiatives and governments helping prevent or stop conflict in over 25 countries around the world.
- “The Mighty Heart online course is enabling huge companies like H&M to empower their teams to build peace with the skills taught in the course. They say: “by embedding the Mighty Heart in our organisation, H&M have taken a stand to improve communication and collaboration, and thus contribute to a better world for all.” (If you know of companies who might like to do the same please reach out to email@example.com.)
- “We also offer Mighty Heart courses to the general public with participants from all over the world.
- “The International Day of Peace could be a good day to set aside a few minutes to think of something close to your heart; to come up with an idea which would further the cause of peace, which suits your specific interests and concerns and which is doable in the context of your busy life.”
September 16, 2022, Washington Post: During a meeting in Samarkand, Uzbekistan of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Prime Minister Modi of India, in a stunning public rebuke, told President Putin of Russia: “Today’s era is not an era of war, and I have spoken to you on the phone about this.”
Public scolding of the finest kind!
Linus Pauling won two Nobel Prizes, in Chemistry and for Peace. This hour-long interview is powerful introduction to his hard and graceful work for world peace, beginning in 1945. He published his book No More War in 1958 and later that year presented UN Secretary Dag Hammerskold with a document for peace signed by 11,000 scientists.
The value of protesting war often is not readily apparent. This new film (released by National Public Radio in the USA on 3/28/23) highlights the dramatic and untold story of how the American anti-war movement in 1969 may well have prevented a nuclear war: The Movement and the Madman.
Here are American Professor Anne Applebaum’s insights on Putin’s demonic and immoral actions (The Atlantic, September 30, 2022). “Putin’s actions,” she writes, “are a war not just on Ukraine, but on world order and the rule of law, a system embraced by the democratic world. It is a statement of contempt for democracy itself.”
And make violence obsolete!
This is a recent BBC investigation (16 August 2022) into how water shortages are now brewing war.
Someone from the audience once asked His Holiness The Dalai Lama, “Why didn’t you fight back against the Chinese?” His Holiness looked down, swung his feet just a bit, then looked back up at the audience and said with a gentle smile, “Well, war is obsolete, you know.”
Then, after a few moments, his face grave, he said, “Of course the mind can rationalize fighting back…but the heart, the heart would never understand. Then you would be divided in yourself, the heart and the mind, and the war would be inside you.”
Scott Shapiro, Yale Law, NPR piece, Phil of War. “outlaw war, remake the world”
Not to mention the ever-changing nature of war that makes it more dangerous every year. Here’s an article from The Economist on the ways in which AI (artificial intelligence) now influences how we fight.
Writer Maria Popova reminds us of Ferdinand, the peaceful bull and of how his timeless story, still reprinted across the globe, came to be told:
In The Story of Ferdinand (public library), a gentle-souled young misfit sits out the perpetual head-butting by which his peers hone their bull-skills, choosing instead to smell the flowers under his favorite cork tree in solitude. His mother, at first worried about his bullness, recognizes her son’s difference and trusts that he would find his way.
“And so he does.”(Continue reading in The Marginalian)
The most peaceful people in the world may be the Hadya, the Moriori and the Batek.
Much of the world pays little attention to the worst war that is now being waged on Earth. It is not Ukraine, not by a long shot. It is a group of wars being fought on the Horn of Africa, centered in Tigray. Casualties there are estimated as three or four times that of Ukraine. Ishaan Tharoor in The Washington Post (4/4/23) draws sharp distinctions between the two.
n.b. material below still being edited…. much to be added. Please stay tuned….
Indices of global health:
- Bhutan GNH Index
- Broad measures of economic progress
- Disability-adjusted life year
- Full cost accounting
- Green national product
- Green gross domestic product (Green GDP)
- Gender-related Development Index
- Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI)
- Global Peace Index
- Gross National Happiness
- Gross National Well-being (GNW)
- Happiness economics
- Human Development Index (HDI)
- ISEW (Index of sustainable economic welfare)
- Progress (history)
- Progressive utilization theory
- Legatum Prosperity Index
- Leisure satisfaction
- Living Planet Index
- Law of Social Cycle
- Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
- Money-rich, time-poor
- OECD Better Life Index BLI
- Subjective life satisfaction
- Where-to-be-born Index
- World Happiness Report (WHR)
- World Values Survey (WVS)
- Good example for massive scale collaboration:
- CAPTCHA (computer security invention) inventor is keen on positive change through mass movements (“750 million helping to digitalize books”). Luis Van Ahn. http://www.ted.com/talks/luis_von_ahn_massive_scale_online_collaboration
- Simon Sinek: “People buy the WHY you do it, not the WHAT you do” The “I have a dream” speech was not the “I have a plan” speech. Appeals to the limbic brain, the decision center. “We follow something for ourselves, cause we believe it, not because someone else does”. http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action
For more information about Peace Rallies please visit:
– nion.us – Not In Our Name
– epic-usa.org – The Education for Peace in Iraq Center
– peacecoalition.org – Coalition for Peace Action
– internationalanswer.org – International Answer
– vitw.org – Voices in the Wilderness