With all eyes currently fixed on the war in Ukraine, Paralympians competing in Beijing can show us the bright side of international cooperation.
On 21 September let’s make peace with the Planet
The 2016 edition of the International Day of Peace, established to end hostilities, is devoted to sustainable development.
If we look back and try to retrace the early history of our species, we’ll have the impression that humans have always been in war and can’t live without violence. Violence and oppression have always existed, but it seems they peaked in the 20th century, due to the incredible technological progress. Today, talking about peace is difficult: wars, terrorism and racism are ever-present and have monopolised media si much so that have desensitised too many viewers.
Why the International Day of Peace was established
Peace remains one of the basic needs of humankind, implies to overcome all social and religious barriers and every ideological prejudice and is the basis for the pursuit of happiness. The International Day of Peace was established by the United Nations on 30 November 1981. In the past it was celebrated every third Tuesday of September but in 2001 the date of 21 September was chosen. The day aims to end hostilities and the United Nations encourage all countries to observe the ceasefire and celebrate the initiative through educational activities that raise awareness on the importance of peace.
Let’s make peace with the planet
The theme for 2017 is “Together for Peace: respect, safety and dignity for all.” The slogan honours Together, a global initiative launched by the United Nations in 2016 that promotes respect, safety and dignity for everyone forced to flee their homes in search of a better life and supports of diversity, non-discrimination and acceptance of refugees and migrants. “In times of insecurity, communities that look different become convenient scapegoats,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. “We must resist cynical efforts to divide communities and portray neighbours as ‘the other’. Discrimination diminishes us all. It prevents people — and societies — from achieving their full potential. Together, let us stand up against bigotry and for human rights. Together, let us build bridges. Together, let us transform fear into hope.”
On the side of migrants
This year’s edition will thus focus on the support to refugees and migrants. The demonstrations will shine a spotlight on the advantages migrations have on economies and countries, while also acknowledging the concerns of the welcoming communities.
The Peace bell
Celebrations symbolically started on 15 September, when the Secretary-General Guterres celebrate the Day in the Peace Garden at United Nations Headquarters by ringing the Peace Bell and observing a minute of silence.
Events and demonstrations will be organised all around the world to spread knowledge in order to create the basis for ending conflicts. On 16 September 2016 the Secretary-General rang the Peace Bell and observed a minute of silence in the Peace Garden at United Nations Headquarters.
The UN resolutions and international days could just be seen as due dates on the calendar and may not imply a personal adhesion. “Stay human”, journalist and human rights activist Vittorio Arrigoni, killed in Gaza in 2011, used to say. What does “stay human” mean? It means getting upset for the abuses against all living beings, be compassionate and empathetic, learn to know and open up because violence often stems from ignorance. It means breaking the physical and mental barriers and cooperating to live in harmony.
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