International Day of Peace?

Today is ‘International Day of Peace’ – a concept established in 1981 by the United Nations to coincide with the opening of the UN General Assembly.

Laudable aims…

“Peace Day should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples… This day will serve as a reminder to all peoples that our organization, with all its limitations, is a living instrument in the service of peace and should serve all of us here within the organization as a constantly pealing bell reminding us that our permanent commitment, above all interests or differences of any kind, is to peace.”

Fine, but then the UN goes on…

“Anyone, anywhere can celebrate Peace Day. It can be as simple as lighting a candle at noon, or just sitting in silent meditation. Or it can involve getting your co-workers, organization, community or government engaged in a large event. The impact if millions of people in all parts of the world, coming together for one day of peace, is immense.

“International Day of Peace is also a Day of Ceasefire – personal or political. Take this opportunity to make peace in your own relationships as well as impact the larger conflicts of our time. Imagine what a whole Day of Ceasefire would mean to humankind.”

Now I am all for adopting a peaceful state of mind and being active in the community, but this is silly. Outside of Havana or Pyongyang, I cannot see many mass events being staged on an early autumn workday. In the real world, we can light a candle and meditate today, and tomorrow break the ceasefire and continue kicking nine bells out of each other. Think of the 1914 Kerstbestand amid the carnage of the ‘Great War’, with Tommy and Jerry playing football in no-man’s land, before returning to their respective trenches to lock and re-load.

Commemorative days should be reserved for more tangible things.