Alice, aged 15

Our work for peace must begin within the private world of each one of us. To build a world without fear, we must be without fear. To build a world of justice, we must be just. – Dag Hammarskjöld 

Humans are led every day by their instinct of survival. We work hard to become wealthy, and to be able to assure our survival. Our fear to be outsmarted by life has always been present throughout many centuries. Humans have the fear to be out of control, and have no power. But shouldn’t we trust our own life first, before trying to bring it to peace? The desire to help the people of our world and to be just is a human feeling, just as natural as the fear itself. So how can we deal with both?

War, famine, unheard voices, violence and conflict. All of those words have one feeling in common: fear. These conditions make us fear  and protect our safety. But what good does it do to fear? To be afraid won’t stop terrorists from acting, and making our unheard voices be heard. Dag Hammarskjöld is indeed right when he says that we must first sort out our own private fears before beginning to try healing the world from its injuries. A person without fear will be able to do anything, because nothing will hold them back. The person will have no fear to lose. He will have no fear to fail. People may think that being fearless will bring nothing to the world, after all, you are quite insignificant: one person out of 7 billion. But if everyone makes an effort, then that small effort will make a difference.

So why is it so hard for us to let go of our fears? A person is scared, because he wants control over his own life. But control removes your possibilities to enjoy and improve life creatively, financially and emotionally. We must open ourselves to the unknown to discover what is for us out there. During time when you are a teenager, many have to face this transition. They have to start taking control over their lives and chose what they want to do with it: to specialize in their vocation, to choose a passion over the other. But maybe this closes their minds more. To think that there is only one thing for them out there isn’t necessarily good. Control over something may in fact be very unhealthy.

It’s like climatic problems. The average citizen will refuse to make an effort to recycle, or use his car less because his neighbor doesn’t do it, so why should he? People don’t see the point of being just when everyone else around them isn’t. But let’s try to turn this around. If everyone was just, then the no one would see the point of being unjust. But to get to there, one has to find the strength to differ from his environment to make a meaningful change.

So to bring our world to peace, to change save people’s life, to give the right of speech to others, and to assure their survival, we must first of all make sure that we are fearless and just, otherwise this whole quest would just be something to make us feel good about ourselves. But there is no dignity to take our lives for granted when others are begging for us to just make one change that would affect their lives radically. The Utopia of this world would be led by fearless and just humans, because without courage and honor, we are nothing but animals fighting for their existence to last.


About UN News Geneva

Sharing entires to the United Nations Peace Essay competitions run by the Information Service in Geneva in 2011
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