What did we do on Peaceday 2018?
Euphrates, being an organization committed to resiliency and peace, has found itself among an army of organizations that embrace the globe through innovative ideas, connecting people and bringing peaceful solutions to torn places. The International Day of Peace, celebrated on September 21st since 1982, has been a beautiful and sacred event that we have celebrated with myriad communities around the world. It is on this day that the vision we have for the future feels much more attainable. As we got closer to the International Day of Peace, we created a social media count-down that aspired to inform and inspire the public regarding peace, covering the definitions of peace, such as the difference between positive and negative peace, what it means to be fully informed regarding an issue, the importance of cultivating stillness in our lives, the origin story of the IDP and much more. During our countdown Euphrates supporters and peace activists sent us a pictures of themselves with their personal commitment to peace for the year, which we published on September 21st.Away from the screen, Euphrates supporters around the world sparked on-the-ground actions, from hosting events to community peace walks. Below you can find some of the activities Euphrates Chapter leaders organized.
Seattle, Washington - Peace walk
Euphrates Institute - Seattle (EIS) celebrated the UN proclaimed International Day of Peace with a Peace Walk and were joined by 3 other peace-building groups from the Greater Seattle area. They handed out “peace rocks” and “peace pins” to all passers-by and enjoyed a variety of conversations with people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds about this unique day. A banner showing a river was made for all to write their thoughts about peace on, representing how we can each be like “the river,” moving through and beyond the chaos and fear in this world. EIS is extremely grateful to the members from the Muslim Association of Puget Sound, All for Peace, and the Treacy Levine Peace Center who joined EIS in sharing this unique day! Such a privilege to have like-minded groups together.
Redding, California - Peace Day walk and art contest
A group got together in Redding, California to celebrate IDP. They started out in a circle holding hands to observe a minute of silence, which was very very still. Then they all said their first name and the group tuned into songs with guitar while the children danced.One child, Afton, showed her art work and talked about each one. She also lead Hokey Pokey for Peace. Afterwards, the group walked half-way across the Sundial bridge singing, “All we are saying, is give peace a chance,” and later chanting: “What do we want? Peace! When do we want it? Now!”
Kinshasa, DRC Our Chapter Leader, Elesse, and his wife, Virginia, celebrated the International Day of Peace by teaching in a school in Kinshasa named Tshinka. They helped pupils learn how to live beyond their differences, refuse to be enemies and turn ‘Others’ into brothers. Additionally, some videos were taken that bring us right into the action of their day. Thank you, Elesse, for inspiring us with your hard work.
Our Chapter Leader in Nigeria, Osundiji, participated in a gathering of peacemakers in Lagos. Various peace organizations were represented, including, the United Nations, the Citizens Mediation Centre, The Euphrates Institute and United for the Peace of Africa. Prior to Peace Day, a Peace Walk was organized on September 17th
And last but certainly not least, Emmanuel Fuhbang, our newest Chapter Leader from Bamenda, Cameroon, broadcasted a message of peace on the local radio station. His message of peace stood in contrast to messages of hatred and dehumanization perpetuated on the radio, due to the Anglophone crisis. He sent us the message that he broadcast, and it was nothing less than inspiring to hear from him and these very important efforts to counteract the enmity that seems to be growing. Here you can read the his full message:
Today 21st of September 2018 is this year’s international day of peace, celebrated under the theme: “The Right to Peace - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70.” As we observe this day, there are a couple of questions I would like us to reflect on.
First, what does peace mean to you?
For me, peace means life. Nevertheless, whatever your own answer, both of us will surely agree that Peace is a divine and fundamental Human Right for everyone.
Second, what does this “right to peace” mean to you?
Certainly the right to peace is a very fundamental human right which its promotion and protection can guarantee all other Human Rights such as: right to life, right to physical and moral integrity, right to health, right to education, right to shelter, right to food, right to security etc. The right to Peace is therefore, an embodiment of all Human Rights.
The third question to ponder on is: what would remain in the absence of Peace?
Surely disorder, disaster, confusion, violence, war and eventually nothing. The absence of peace undermines conditions essential to realizing Human Rights and development, for war erodes human dignity. Think of the words of these legendary peace makers. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once stated "Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows." And Gandhi, one of the greatest followers of Jesus' teachings, when he reflected on Jesus' command not to seek revenge; he declared, "An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind”.
And finally, how will you observe this year’s international day of peace?
For me the best thing would be to take immediate action because the need for peace is urgent. Think of the millions of refugees who have fled their countries and the millions of internally displaced people who have fled their homes in desperate attempt to escape violence. Think friend! Of the hundreds of millions of lives that have wasted. Think of the millions of women that have been raped and children subjected under abuse. Think of the untold suffering and torture that violence and wars have afflicted on humanity.
Please, begin to seek peaceful resolution to all conflicts within and around you. Begin to promote the right to peace in your own little way. Yes, begin to see the “others” not as enemies anymore but as “brothers”. Yes Friend, you can be part of the solution to violence by taking just small steps toward Peace. No matter how little your action might be, it can be a milestone in peacebuilding. Think of the mosquito, as small as it is, with its small actions around human beings but very great consequences. Dear Friend! stand up for peace now and be a peacemaker. Standing up for peace is standing for God, it is standing for humanity, it is standing for Human Rights, it is standing for life and development. Happy Peace Day! Rev. Fuhbang.
Kolkata, IndiaThe day following Peace Day, Chapter Leader Sohini launched the new format of the Euphrates-Kolkata Chapter. This event served to inform, inspire and transform by sharing stories from the Euphrates community, hosting a Q&A with peace-expert, Nilanjana Sanyal, and leading a Superhero Workshop that brought the participants into the conversation and helped empower them as agents of change.