Today is the The United Nations International Day of Peace. Jeremy Gilley and his team launched this in 1999. Every year on this day, the 21st September, we call for a day of peace. The TED video above was filmed in July of this year. Here’s a snippet:
…I got home, and I remember one of the team bringing in a letter to me from the Taliban. And that letter basically said, “We’ll observe this day. We will observe this day. We see it as a window of opportunity. And we will not engage. We’re not going to engage.” And that meant that humanitarian workers wouldn’t be kidnapped or killed. And then suddenly, I obviously knew at this point, there was a chance. And days later, 1.6 million children were vaccinated against polio as a consequence of everybody stopping. …there is a possibility that our world could unite, that we could come together as one, that we could lift the level of consciousness around the fundamental issues, brought about by individuals…
Brilliant. Nations around the world today are invited to stop all hostile activities and spend the day in peace.
Watching this video in which Jeremy Gilley is raising awareness of this beautiful global day reminded me of a day a friend from my church, Henry, told me about his life as a soldier in WWII.
On one sunny day him and his unit were shooting at the German soldiers across the way, and for some reason the Germans abruptly ceased fire. One, English-speaking, came out with no weapon after a call of help. A German woman on the other side had gone into labour, and their medical man had been killed. Could they call a momentary truce so that the English medical man could go and help? And so they did. They lay down on the ground with a drink and a smoke, German and English, and didn’t harm each other whilst the baby was being born. New, healthy life and a happy mother came out of that. And then up they got and back behind the wall they went, and they started shooting at each other again.
One has to ask why. Studying WWI in English Literature and watching Downton Abbey continues to deepen my thinking. The Germans and the English on that day when my friend Henry sat down and shared a temporary truce and a healthy child was born in the midst of the chaos, was like the day of peace the world should acknowledge. 1.6 million children got vaccinated. The Taliban said they’d honour the day of peace.
How it could change our world. Let’s raise awareness. Let’s get the globe living in this day. And when we see how beautiful it is… maybe we can make things more permanent eh?