Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Think About Peace

Do you think about what's going on in the world?

Or do you live in a comfortable, safe place--white picket fence, blue sky, sunshine, cheap beer?

I'll be honest with you: I'm guilty--guilty of living in my own little world (and in my own little head). Right now I have so many personal issues to deal with that it's especially hard for me to even remember that there's a larger world that exists outside of myself. It's sad. And I know this. I need to be reminded. Not all of us do, but I do.

I am part of an online community called Twitter (you may have heard of it...? :-D). Today, like every Tuesday, is #AfghanistanTuesday. To me, it's a reminder to get out of my comfortable (or, in my case, uncomfortable) shell and think about what's going on in the rest of the world. What I especially like about Twitter is the connections I've made with people all over the world--I get perspectives from individuals from many other countries and read blogs and articles that my "tweeps" deem important or, at the very least, worthwhile. For me, #AfghanistanTuesday is not just about Afghanistan. It's about peace worldwide. It's about building a community of people from different backgrounds and cultures (albeit virtually) to share thoughts and ideas--to discuss and debate.

I don't understand why--and I'm paraphrasing a bumper sticker I once saw--people kill people to show that killing people is wrong. One of my tweeps remarked that fighting occurs because of greed. Government. Money. Oil. Corporations. Corruption. Greed. War.

I am not agreeing or disagreeing. I have too little knowledge to expand on the reasons for national and international conflict. I speak solely from a humanistic point of view. One of my favorite poems is "Norman Morrison" by Adrian Mitchell (if you go to the link, it's the second poem on the page). It was written in protest of the Vietnam War/Conflict, and it's a hauntingly powerful poem. I first read the poem nearly 18 years ago, and the lines I've never forgotten are "He burned. He suffered. / He died." I'm not making a judgment as to whether Norman Morrison was right or wrong to do what he did, but the poem draws awareness, even decades later, to what was happening in Vietnam--that burning women and children was wrong, that burning anybody is wrong. It seems to me that if we could all adopt a more humanistic approach to the world and those with differences, we could get closer--instead of further--from peace. Obviously that's a little too simplistic, but isn't it a start to acknowledge and value each other as human beings? To value each person's differences? Is it too much to ask?

In high school I had to write an essay with the following theme for a contest: "Peace Is More Than the Absence of War." I don't remember what I wrote (I know I didn't win); but I could add now that, yes, peace is more than the absence of war, but eliminating war would be a good place to start.

Wouldn't it?

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