The United Nations General Assembly recognises Thursday, September 21st as the International Day of Peace. The Assembly is collaborating with various world nations and non-governmental organisations alike to coordinate a 24-hour ceasefire that will clear the way for increased humanitarian aid access.
2017, thus far seemingly riddled with division, ushers in the theme of “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All”. This campaign addresses the current refugee crisis and works to build a strong, healthy relationship between refugees and their host countries.
On such a day we are driven to reflect upon the world around us and our place within it. And though we join together to celebrate the possibility of peace, it is seemingly impossible to ignore the obstacles which prevent us from attaining it. The struggles we face today are not newborn realities. Racial inequality, persecution, war, and injustice have lived long before we have. The children of the children of the Civil Rights Movement sing of century-old injustices in the streets of Chicago. Techniques of enslavement and execution have carried shattered remnants of Auschwitz to Iraq and Syria. The same silence that muffled the Bosnian war hushes South Sudan and Myanmar today.
We must recognise the conflict around us as an essential reactant of peace, for such a concept does not come quietly. It roars, rather, within the souls of revolutionaries. Such a spirit is reflected in Hussain Ibn Ali, who openly rejected injustice and refused to witness passively the moral decay of his society. He recognised that corruption and peace cannot coexist. They could not then and they cannot now.
Peace is not a stagnant concept. It is a call to action. The struggle towards peace is not to be isolated to a single day in the year. It is constant and difficult, summoning a basic shared humanity, and indicative of the unrelenting perseverance of mankind.
On the morning of September 21st, 34 million people will see freedom through the flaps of a refugee tent. At UN headquarters in New York, a conglomerate of officials will observe a moment of silence as the Secretary-General rings the Japanese Peace Bell. The refugees will not hear it. This structure is moulded from coins donated by the children of 60 different nations as “a reminder of the human cost of war”. The metal is inscribed with the words, “Long live absolute world peace”. Such a sentiment rings familiar in refugees’ ears. They have always heard it.