Jack, 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  

The world struggle for peace is restless, it is ongoing and it is all around us. When one asks, what is peace? Is it a world of no fighting or conflict, or a world of total agreement? Or it could it be both at the same time.

The words, with which we define peace, are different among every one of us. From my point of view certainly, peace is not something that can be moulded or sculpted by a select few who have been dubbed appropriate for the astronomical task. Peace is something requiring every single one of us to find the effort within us to display the qualities necessary for world peace. Be it turning the other cheek, or being just or truthful even if it leads to your own suffering. Peace must be achieved in the mind of the individual, before we even begin to discuss peace as a collective.

All these qualities and actions cannot simply be imposed by a team or board of important, select, powerful people. If peace was to be achieved by a government, it would require total enslavement and imprisonment of the entire population to get them to respond to the wishes of the establishment.

In 1949, there were many threats towards peace. TheUShad just passed the Truman doctrine, which allowed them to intervene with advisors or military to any country that they saw as being in danger to a communist takeover. This doctrine had the right idea but was imposed in the completely wrong fashion, they should have ASKED if their help was wanted, and should have treated the conflict as that of another nations that is to be treated with respect and caution. TheUSalso passedMarshallaid, which was a 4 year plan designed and manufactured to care to the needs ofEurope’s bruised economy, this in my opinion was also imposed the wrong way. They should have providedEuropewith the money and left them with the option of their help. Instead of saying our money, comes with our aid. Both of these actions threatened Stalin, that does not necessarily mean they threatenedRussia, because Stalin took these matters very personally.

A board or government, especially by one of a different nation, cannot decide the fate of a country or continent. They can be made a part in the decision and their thoughts and experiences may be incorporated into the decision if it the wish of the country in hand. Intervention in times of crisis from other countries should only be given when asked; this is how we get territorial wars and fighting.

Everybody in the world wants the same thing. For their ideas to be heard and recognized by the powers that be, some people just want it more than others. This is why we get terrorism and revolutions, people feel repressed and want solely for their ideas to be paid attention to and perhaps realized by the rest of the world. So in the journey towards peace everyone must always be given a voice. Expression must not be oppressed or ignored, as it shows people’s ideas; and there is no way peace can be achieved without hearing the ideals and thoughts of each and every person.

This is where the Americans and the Russians were both in the wrong, they wanted their ideas to be heard; but they were not willing to listen to others when it came to opinions. They both firmly believed their ideology was the right one, yes perhaps for their country; but not necessarily for the rest of the world.

This is again, where equality comes in. EVERYONE must be heard, be it through a representative or through each individual; the ideals of each and every person must be heard. This is not to say that the ideals of each person should be met and imposed, but merely expressed to the rest of the world so as to give perspective and the others an option to change their decision.

There is still a long, long road to achieve world peace. Although we must start somewhere, and I strongly believe that is in the mind of the individual. Once one achieves peace and content within themselves, it makes it that fraction more possible for the rest of the world.


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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