41 years ago, the UN General Assembly established September 21st, as the International Day of Peace. However, looking a little bit at international history and how it has evolved to this day, it is difficult to discern a day around the world where Peace prevails. And this has been the case for at least the last 200 years.
By Nikos Stergios – World Without Wars and Violence
Obviously such a milestone date is there, on the calendar of the World, to remind us that Peace is a non-existent daily reality for billions of people. But, it is also there to remind us of the deepest beautiful feelings that the mere thought of it fills us with.
Peace as a word, describes a condition that does not exist in the World, and may be the only one. Even in areas of the world where we do not have an armed conflict, the annual cost of military expenditure is immense. It would only take 10% to improve the living conditions of millions of our fellow human beings. And yet, the majority of modern political power continues to serve the interests of the military industry, even invoking ‘patriotic’ sentiment or inventing future ‘enemies’. Traditional marketing methods. And the cost, the real cost, is not 2 trillion dollars (SIPRI 2021 data). It is that unquantifiable, unbearable cost of lost human lives and the global degradation of the environment and quality of life on the planet.
Throughout human history, evolution has come about because we have been able to imagine a condition that did not exist. A condition for which we had no previous historical memory. It was this transcendental leap, small or large, local or global, that opened up new horizons and improved our living conditions. And when the non-existent became real in our imagination, we fell in love with it and worked with intention to create it.
There is hope, we shouldn’t leave room for pessimism, on the contrary. The peace movement is moving forward, ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) is currently the best example and fortunately not the only one. We need to work as a movement to change the normative values of our society. To place human being as a central value and preoccupation, to reject all forms of violence. And at the same time, this movement, this organized grassroots action, must work together to create policies of applied will. Policies that will bring the non-existent closer to reality.
We are in love with Peace, this non-existent condition, and no one but ourselves will make it reality. Let us begin.