“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
What is “peace”? There are several definitions; however, there are two main concepts that are universally recognized. Peace can be defined as a state of tranquility or quiet, or the lack of warring and violence. Unfortunately, those two generalized ideas are extremely sparse and dry, lacking so much detail. They don’t leave much to the imagination at all.
To me, “peace” is many things. Yes, it is the lack of warring and a state of tranquility, but there is so much more to it. “Peace” is having a shelter over your head, having food to fill your belly, clothes to keep you warm, being surrounded by the people you love and those who love you. “Peace” is being comfortable in your own skin, being proud of who you are, feeling secure enough to walk down the street and not worry about your safety. The meaning of peace varies from person to person, but that doesn’t mean people can’t work together to create “peace”. “Peace” will and can only be achieved by the power of people and their actions. That’s why Dag Hammarskjöld’s words are so true in today’s society. You are one person. You may think that one person in 6.9 billion people won’t make a difference, but you’re wrong. What if the young Mandela, Ghandi and Hammarskjöld had all had the same state of mind? The world wouldn’t be the same as it is today. Nevertheless, even if you don’t become the next Mandela, every little thing helps.
Help someone with a difficult situation; be a shoulder to cry on. Give someone your trust and they’ll give you theirs. Speak words of kindness and accept others no matter who they are. Never assume. These are little things, but yet they make an enormous difference. If you manage to live life peacefully along with others, the end result will come together to create a peaceful world. That world may be your family and friends or your community, or even your village or city. This may, one day, be the world itself. We are so far away from a peaceful world yet so close.
Take the example of Tank Man, the man who stood up to the tanks atTiananmen Square. One thought that lead to one simple action sparked uproar and became a world renowned symbol for resistance against violence and oppression.
Tiananmen Square, June 5, 1989
The guns. The guns. The shooting. What is this? Those men with the mask faces. No expression at all… do they have no soul? No heart? These people, their own kind. Humans, men, women. Just like them; they’re no different. What power do they think they have? They can’t decide who lives and who doesn’t. They shouldn’t. Do they think they can decide? Do they think they can? Can they? Those guns… it’s almost as if they have a mind of their own. Or is it really them shooting? Is it really them? Or have they been brainwashed? Please tell me they’re brainwashed. Please. No human soul should have the capacity to do that. There are good people. There are. But not here. Not in front of me. Just the civilians. They have to run. Those women and children, the men. Why? Why? Why?! The tanks. Those tanks. Tanks… These tanks. Four, five, six… how many are there? What ? What is happening? I know what’s happening. I know I know. I know exactly. Why though? Why? I don’t understand. Their own people. This is wrong. This is so wrong. This is wrong; something’s changed. There needs to be change. Not this change though. More change… in the opposite direction. They’re closer. Closer. Closer. Even closer. Close. They’re close. They’re here. They’re coming. Stop. Stop. Why won’t you stop? You evil people. Evil. This is pure evil. Evil at its most. The tanks! The tanks. The tanks are here. They’re here. What do I do? They need to stop. Stop. Please. Asking won’t help. Ever heard of peace?
The power of one thought.