Blog post

The ideals of reconciliation and peace

By Joanna IK

The International Day of Peace, widely known as World Peace Day, is observed around the world each year on 21 September. According to PRAKSIS, a nationwide social organisation in Greece, it was established by the United Nations in 1981 to disseminate and to strengthen the ideals of peace and non-violence among nations.

Each year, social organisations around the world tend to plant young olive trees in forest or local parks in the community that surrounds them. With the olive branch being considered a symbol of reconciliation and peace, their members and friends would meet up in parks to create a symbolic base to place concepts such as mutual understanding, mutual support, intercultural respect and acceptance.

Each year, the same wish is being heard: let us walk closer toward reconciliation and peace all over the world. Some of us live in peaceful countries. We know so because “we” have the freedom to openly express needs and wishes, to make dreams and to choose the path we wish to follow in life.

Some people live in countries where peace is an unknown word. We know so and so do they for “they” cannot enjoy the universal right to be different and unique. They live in fear of their truth being exposed to those who don’t understand; who fear difference yet they aren’t afraid of actively externalising that feeling.

As the World Peace Day is approaching, I can remember the campaign launched by The High Commissioner in Greece against racist violence, and any form of violence I would add. Though six years have passed, I still remember how I chose to participate in that campaign. I wrote an article about “we” who feel rooted and “they” – refugees and migrants, who are in quest for some shelter. It is essentially about the feeling of fear all of us experience when we are facing something different, something we fail to understand. And the choice of behaviour and response to difficult feelings. It is about peace within and outside the self.

Ι can also remember a quote by Nelson Mandela, to make choices which reflect hope and not fear. Maybe if we show fear that we hear them and understand them, that we choose to make steps forward, to approach those we have learned to fear, to get to know them better, maybe then we can find peace within and outside the self.

Have a creative week!

A blogger friend, Joanna

Photo: Jill Clardy