Since 9/11, talks on world peace have skyrocketed on a massive scale. Everyone seems to want a piece of this utopia, to see the world unite under one banner. Many are tired with the wars going on around, the latest one in Georgia. As the Black Eyed Peas would croon, “Where is the love, the love, the love”? Frankly speaking, I have no idea. But I believe much can be boiled down to our chase for materialism and for the tangible. So now presented with a topic like this, I’m trying to picture how as a leader of a country will I be able to promote world peace.
From the eyes of a very shallow sixteen year old, of course.
World peace is the utopian ideal of planetary non-violence by which nations willingly cooperate, either voluntarily or by virtue of a system of governance which prevents warfare. In English, it means freedom from wars. Many of us (and by us I mean secondary school going students) would just write this essay out mindlessly with suggestions so ‘impersonal’ that any leader can do it. But the question here isn’t what a leader of a country can do, but what YOU as a leader can do. Naturally, I’m expecting some ‘snore-worthy’ suggestions such as hosting talks between warring countries so that peace can be restored, putting up banners and running campaigns to make the people more aware and so on. While I am all out for world peace, to obtain it, you need three things first. They’re like the foundation. Just like if a house is built on a foundation of sand, it’ll crash easily when waves hit it. But if it’s built on solid rock, then it’ll remain unshaken.
Don’t talk about world peace if peace in my own country is unattainable. As I would put it (very eloquently), – ‘belum tahu jalan sudah nak lari’. How can we begin to focus on WORLD peace when our own internal state of affairs is in disarray? It’s a paradox. We have to settle our own nation’s politics before we get involved in others. We have to ensure that corruption is at its minimum, the people’s rights are kept and that the welfare of everyone is taken care of. That the politicians stop the mud-slinging game and carry out what they were elected to do. That there will be no discrimination and everyone will see each other as equals just as they are before God. If we can’t achieve that even in our own country, I will give it a 99.99999% chance with only a 0.000000000001% percentage error that world peace will remain elusive and out of our grasp.
World peace begins in our country.
But when we divide our country into smaller divisions, what do you get?
What hope is there for world peace if within the confines of the home, World War III and IV are waged (with V, VI and VII well on its way)? When the home becomes a bigger war zone than the one in Iraq, how can we dream that we will achieve worldwide freedom from wars? If I were to divide the world into 2, there would be the history teachers and there would be the science teachers. History teachers are those who look at things as a whole – the ‘big’ picture. That’s what many of the world leaders are doing. Which is commendable and excellent but I believe that to obtain world peace, world leaders need to be science teachers as well – the ones who focus on details, even the ones that seem too insignificant. They understand that to tackle a difficult problem, you need to go back to the grassroots. And the families need to be at peace first. When we see broken families restored, once bitter husbands and wives turn to each other with a renewed covenant, children coming home again after being on the run… then yes, world peace can finally become a reality.
World peace begins in our families.
But when you put world peace under a microscope and zoom in at the highest magnification, you’ll see individual dots. Little specks that look like dust but yet they make up ‘world peace’. What are they?
They are the individuals. Meaning you and me.
If I can’t believe in my heart and be convicted to love my neighbour as myself, I’d be a hypocrite. I can go around the streets saying how much I love the world but haven’t said anything to my next door neighbour after she accidentally killed my prized bougainvillea with weed killer, I’m bluffing. World peace CANNOT be preached, it has to be ACTED on. I have to make a conscious effort to love those who seem unlovable, to have a heart of compassion for those in need and to reach out to those who are lost. I may be one but I am still ONE. And because I am one, I will not refuse to do the one thing I can do.
World peace begins with me.
To end, let me just tell you a story.
Once there was a little boy who was so passionate about his role in life that he declared, “I will change the world!” But as he grew older, life’s worries started to come in and at 26, he realised that it is unachievable and so he said, “I will change my country!” However, life had other plans for him and as he settled down with his new household, he at 46 stated, “I will change my family!” Now, as an old man in a rocking chair at 66, he now whispers under his breath, “I will change myself….”
The world may seem too big to impact. I hope we learn our lesson a lot faster than that boy who by the time realised the truth, was too late to act upon it. Because I as ONE may not be able to change the world, but I’ll be able to change the world of ONE.
And that’s how world peace will be obtained – ONE by ONE.
It begins in our country.
It begins in our family.
It begins with me.