INTERNATIONAL PEACE DAY 2012
By Marie Mamonia
PEACE IS KING
At the root of peace practice and peace education lie the essential question: What kind of world do we want to live in? Do we want to live in a world governed by fear, corporate control and violence? That is one way of looking at the development of the current global agenda. Or do we want to live in a world where peace, sustainability and compassion are cultivated as vital principals for our existence? Both realities exist side by side.
On the individual level there is always a choice. Peace is a choice. Every minute of the day in all our activities choosing peace, as the underlying stream we operate from is a personal choice, like any choice we make, (an important choice that has an impact on our environment). The choice of practicing peace when made by a majority becomes a movement. We could call it a Peace Movement. It is silent, uneventful to the watchful eye, however a very powerful movement of choices. Most people make choices in accordance with their belief systems. So do we believe in a peaceful world? Do we believe that we contribute to that idea of a peaceful world through our daily actions and interactions with each other?
If you had been brought up with peace education on the school curriculum, you would. That is my claim. You would have a basic awareness of how your choices affect the whole. Children would be skilled and trained in making creative, sustainable choices that benefit the whole rather than the sole perspective.
Who disagrees that our world societies should honor core values of peace, compassion and sustainability? Please step forward and make yourselves known… because there must be something stopping this evident, essential ideal from manifesting in our societies. There must be a physical block somewhere within our structures. Somewhere, the interests of the whole, gets corrupted by the interests of the few (who by the way do not seem concerned with the values of protecting peace). A colony of papers, articles, reports, statistics, research and fund applications promoting peace are ending up on anonymous desktops without getting stamped with the APPROVAL stamp. Please do correct me if I’m wrong Mr. President, Mr. Rockefeller, Mr. Rothschild, Mr. Unknown business tyrant monopolizing, manipulating and obstructing the cause of power to the people and peace to the people. (Note: There are many female Mrs. missing from this equation!)
The choice of integrating PEACE EDUCATION into the school systems has to come from above, from within the power structures of government, the law-makers the educational department. So who is it going to be? Who is holding the approval stamp?
Mr.? Mrs.? After all peace is a human right. It is every child’s birthright. Peace is a fundamental human need. Peace is the pillar our lives are built upon. A big claim, I know, but imagine what the world would look like 20 years from now, if we do not prioritize teaching children the basics of peace education; such as how to find and make peace within, with each other, in the classroom, at school and in society as a whole. Children will grow up cold to their environment without a fundamental understanding of life and what supports it.
Lets rewind. Somehow along the lines the ideal and fundamental values around peace, must have been corrupted. Somewhere along the lines PEACE, as in ‘the notion of peace’ has been devalued and equated with some long-haired hippie-bullshit resonating at a low level of accomplishment, a non(r)evolution. Sorry folks, but it is as if people react with a rash or slightly skeptic disposition to anything that could be interpreted or easily mistaken for a hippie sentiment. Well, I’m not afraid of any labels. I believe the notion of PEACE is in need of drastic re-invention. We need to put PEACE back in its rightful place on the throne at the top of the pyramid, as the highest ideal for our societies, for our lives, for our planet. Peace is king. Peace is rock n roll. Peace is the coolest thing in the universe kids!
Now that is the place where I want to live. That is what I want to be teaching the children of tomorrow. Just imagine if our societies where built to honor, maintain and protect peace… wait a minute… that is what they are supposed to be doing!
So what is going on? Who is blocking the peace movement? Who is not doing their job? The people, the government, the leaders? A bright student will point out, that it’s clear someone is not doing a very good job. That we need to vote in a figure, a protector of peace. Someone who can make sure that the interests of peace are being upheld and maintained within government and legislation. Erhh, excuse me. Is that not the President’s role? Yes, but his hands are tied kids. He has to answer to all the major corporations, their lobbyists and the rich international banks that set the agenda for the nation’s budget in the first place. But what about the people? Don’t the people have the power?
Yes, the people have the power to say no, to protest, to get together and stand up to injustice. The people have the power to get educated, to buy only organic, healthy products, to promote and to share news and information they believe in, to cut out the corrupted media outlets, the people have the power to turn off the TV and create new, free technologies, the people have the power to heal themselves, each other and the planet. When people get sufficiently fed up with the crap they are being fed, they will rise and let the leaders know, exactly what they think, about the way they are being treated and demand new laws, new orders.
When viewing the national annual budgets it is sad and scandalous how much money are pumped into waging wars, manufacturing weapons, equipping the military and developing the latest space technologies, with only a miniscule percentage in contrast going to promoting peace research, projects and non violent conflict resolution initiatives. Were the people consulted in this decision. No! And if they had been, they would have asked: Where are the big annual budgets for a national peace department, peace strategies, peace education, faculties, research labs, organizations, projects etc.? Not unless peace is deemed important enough to be invested in will we see a big change in our peace practicing cultures. So people lets shout about it. WE WANT PEACE. WE WANT PEACE. WE WANT PEACE. And so it shall be done.
Peace education as a subject to be taught in schools is concerned with that vital question of what supports life? What world we want to live in? In the WE MAKE PEACE learning resources children and teachers become peace pioneers investigating the notion of peace on equal terms. Peace education is about talking peace, drawing peace, thinking peace, writing peace, creating peace and debating peace. Our lesson plans touch on fundamental issues of human rights, the basic human needs, non-violent conflict resolution, bullying. The exercises ask questions like: What makes us happy? Can we be truly happy if the people around us are unhappy? They invite the students to investigate human nature, the environment and ideas of sustainability, they look at what kinds of values they would like to promote in the classroom. What things that support all of us, like: Kindness, compassion, sustainability, love, empathy, positive encouragement, health, creativity, nurturing the talents of each of us. They explore the opposites. What does not support life? How would the classroom feel if it was governed by fear, stress, violence, impatience, punishments, negative reproaches and demands, ignorance of people’s emotions and feelings etc? Since every step taken, every choice made that is not on the path of peace affect us all, children need to be made aware of the consequences of their behavior very early on. Preferably these things should be taught from the first grades in school, so children will grow up to trust in themselves, their talents and have appreciation for each other and their environment too.
Non-violent conflict resolution, the ability to find a creative and sustainable solution to challenging problems and situations is a necessary human skill, that we should make sure our children are equipped with on a par with spelling, reading, writing and maths. A curriculum focused on peace making encompass and challenges the idea of sustainability as a way of living. What can be more sustainable than teaching peace? Peace is a practice, a way of being and doing things, which ensures health and happiness for all, which in turn is the direct opposite to using force and fear as a way to get students to act. Peace education demands that the teacher is capable of practicing peace herself. It is no easy undertaking. It can be challenging to say the least. Teachers deserve a gold medal for their daily efforts to introduce loving cultures into a system so severely steeped in fear and limiting power structures as the school system. But alas, the foundation has been laid, the red carpet has been rolled out. Peace is King. And peace is entering your school anytime soon.
Happy International Peace Day.