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World Peace Day

Back in 1981, the United Nations established the 3rd Friday in September as International Peace Day. It gained recognition in 2001 when the UN was set to open its yearly session on September 11, which of course had its own surprises. Since then it has come to be known unofficially as World Peace Day.

Separate from the UN’s designation, in 2007 I wrote this piece to try out the idea of setting a goal that people everywhere could get behind. Here it is for your consideration on World Peace Day 2012.

9/3/07

Here is the hypothetical press release for an activist pacifist organization I once considered starting.

WORLD PEACE DAY

Dedicated to the proposition that we as a species are capable of overcoming our aggressive tendencies and can solve our differences in non violent ways. Our goal is nothing less than the achievement of a full day, within the next ten years, when no one is harmed by violence at the hand of another on planet Earth.

Not Just Pacifism – A Goal

Pacifism is the belief that no problem is best solved by violence, that indeed violence solves nothing and only leads to more violence. But such a lofty philosophy does not give the individual a goal to strive toward. Humans need goals if they are to overcome the habits and distractions of daily life. And daily life on Earth is unfortunately filled with violence.

Whether you believe we evolved from a competitive, carnivorous jungle, or whether you believe God gave mankind the right to dominate his environment, too little has been included in our heritage to remind us that violence is supposed to be the absolute last resort in resolving any conflict.

We believe the answer is to give each person a role in achieving a planet-wide goal. If each person stops and considers an alternative to violence each time the temptation arises, then there will come a day when all of us will have a peaceful day, on the same day. Once such a day occurs, we will forever be able to look back and say, “We did it once, we can do it again!”

Our Plan

We are a non-profit company organized under the United States tax laws for educational ventures. All donations to our effort are tax deductible to U.S. tax payers.

Our objective is to spread our message by whatever means we can. Initially we are selling bumper stickers and buying Internet advertising space. As we grow, we will be able to use more effective means of getting out the word. People the world over can’t consider their role in achieving World Peace Day unless they know such a movement exists.

To verify the achievement of our goal. we will be contacting every news agency we can, the planet over, putting them on alert to contact us if a day comes where they can find no act of violence. When we verify that such a day has occurred, we will issue a press release for those same news agencies to spread the good news that our goal has been reached.

The Achievability of World Peace Day

To be sure, such a grassroots effort runs counter to enormous forces that promote violence. The ATF estimates there are 40 million guns in the hands of private citizens in the United States alone. There are hundreds of millions of guns in the hands of standing armies and police forces around the world. This does not include the weapons belonging to guerrilla and revolutionary forces, let alone guns owned by private individuals. And by no means do we want to limit our goal to only gun violence.

On the other hand, if you were to tell the man on the street in the war-weary 1960’s that by the year 2000, there would be no declared wars between any two nations on Earth, he would consider you a wild optimist. But in fact, due to the steady efforts of visionary national leaders, there was a point in early 2000 when all of the conflicts, everywhere on Earth, were civil wars within national borders.

The evening news is filled with stories of homicides and war casualties, but that’s only lethal violence. One could compile police reports and extrapolate statistics for non-lethal yet still criminal violence. This would surely be an order of magnitude larger than lethal violence. And then there is the unreported and non-criminal violence that can happen in any of our lives. Let’s face it, even if the streets of our neighborhoods are not filled with mayhem, we are a violent species.

One might argue that raising awareness among those of us who are not violent will not halt the aggression of those of us who are. This argument also assumes such a common goal cannot make it into the minds of military leaders and criminals who live by the sword. But grassroots movements, once started, know no such bounds. If it becomes important to the non-violent majority, our message can be brought to bear on those who reach too quickly and easily to violence.

We hope to also tap into nationalist spirit, starting with countries that are not at war. Countries whose leaders take up our call could compete with one another in achieving a day of complete peace within their borders.

In the Meantime

Until we achieve our goal of a worldwide day of peace, we will consider our efforts worthwhile if our goal helps anyone stop their raised hand. We have faith in our fellow man that if he stops to wonder how reaching for a violent solution worsens the world and moves us all further from the peaceful world we want, then he will think of another solution to his problems. If you too have such faith in the inherent goodness of man, then please join us.

The Slogans

WORLD PEACE DAY – WHY NOT TODAY?

DOING MY PART TO ACHIEVE WORLD PEACE DAY

WORLD PEACE DAY – ONLY YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN

WORLD PEACE DAY – TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE HISTORY

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