“My experience of conflict is that those who are involved in it long for even a day of peace. To have a day of cessation of violence, that to me is an idea whose time has come.” Mary Robinson, then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, from a filmed meeting with Jeremy Gilley
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 is recognized by the United Nations as the International Day of Peace. Jeremy Gilley held the first Peace Day in 1999 and received almost no recognition. Two years later the United Nations officially recognized Peace Day. With Peace Day celebrations occurring across the globe, Jeremy is now targeting the participation of 3 billion people taking part in Peace Day in 2012.
For three consecutive years, Peace Day has been observed in Afghanistan on a national scale and over 4 million children have benefited from polio immunizations.
“Peace is necessary to access all children and vaccinate them against polio.”
—Catherine Mbengue, UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan
Last year on September 21, 2009 in Afghanistan the government called for a cease fire so that children in multiple provinces could receive polio immunizations. This year the World Health Organization will be able to vaccinate 200,000 people in Afghanistan. That is the power of one day of peace.
But what can I do you ask? I am just one person and I am not involved in combat.
Peace Day is not just about a cease fire, it is about the whole concept of peace in our lives, in our homes, in our communities and of course peace at work. There is so much you can do:
- If you pray, then on peace day let your prayers be for peace
- If you meditate then on peace day may you concentrate on peace
- Not into prayer or meditation? How about looking at others on the road, on the streets or in the office and silently wish them peace as you pass by
- Tell at least one other person about Peace Day
- Make Peace Day the day that you do hand that homeless person some change or buy them a meal or give them a sweater or a blanket
- Make peace with someone you consider to be an adversary or at least give your ‘battle’ with this person a day off
- If you find yourself becoming angry or irritated with someone, stop and in honor of Peace Day, just let it go
- Make peace with yourself, if you are mad at yourself for something – let it go! After all your ability to spread peace is dependent on your ability to feel peaceful.
It may be just one day, but in 24 hours all around the globe, imagine what we can all accomplish. To borrow an expression for the site PeaceOneDay.org, you build a house a brick at a time, so if we want to build peace we should start with one day. That one day is Tuesday September 21, 2010.