Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war." Though it is a very small percentage of people pushing for this war in Syria (most of whom stand to benefit financially or politically), they are quite organized in their deception and rationale that killing people who kill people is somehow moral and acceptable. Despite the embarrassing low that Obama and the American political leadership has sunk to, we may thank them for causing peace activists everywhere to organize globally in ways that have never been seen before. As war drums pound, activists are amplifying their message of peace in the run up to The International Day of Peace on September 21.
September 21 is during The Autumnal Equinox a time of equal day and night between summer and winter, a time of balance. Though the actual moment of Equinox changes each year, The International Day of Peace is observed worldwide each year on the 21st of September. This year's theme "Education for Peace," is inspired by the U.N. Secretary-General's "Education First" initiative and the growing efforts of educators around the world to integrate Peacebuilding and global engagement into curricula for students of all ages. "Education for Peace" enables the transformation of conflict; builds capacity for enhanced communication; develops global, intercultural and interpersonal understanding, and inspires sustained, positive action for peace and well-being. Hopefully someday all of our political leaders will be required to be educated in this manner.
Last years event was the birth of something new through the use of the internet and the collaborations between many individuals and organizations. Be The Peace, The Amala Foundation, Medmob, (meditation flash mobs) and dozens of others organized a globally unified moment of prayer and meditation for peace. This collaboration was backed by the research of The Global Coherence Initiative, The Institute for Heartmath, and The Global Consciousness Project, all of whom have gathered significant data to show that our thoughts collectively have the ability to change the world around us. There's a wonderful article by Jeane Ball called, "Collective Consciousness and Meditation: Are We All Interconnected by an Underlying Field?" that explores these ideas in more detail.
With the success of last years International Day of Peace event, Unify was born. Unify.org is a portal through which many diverse organizations come together for these globally synchronized moments of shared intention for healing and peace. This year Unify is supporting the initiative for a global moment of prayer and meditation at 12:00 GMT, which is 5:00 pm PST. Last year 248 cities participated, and this year the goal is to have people in over 500 cities participating for the synchronized moment.
A healthy environment and eco-system are at the foundation of peace which is why it is fitting that Bill McKibben and 350.org are hosting "Draw The Line on Keystone XL" on September 21 as well. People are organizing across the country and calling on President Obama to keep his inaugural promises to actively address climate change. It is becoming increasingly apparent that indigenous rights, social justice, peace-building, and sustainable environmental initiatives are emerging as a Global Super Movement that is learning to organize and collaborate in ways that were never possible before the internet.
Organizations and schools in many cities have already pledged their active commitment to the International Day of Peace 2013 "Education for Peace" theme, including: Chicago and Philadelphia (USA), Hong Kong (SAR), Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Guerrero (México), Kampala (Uganda) Katmandu (Nepal) London and Manchester (United Kingdom) Montreal and Winnipeg (Canada), Sydney (Australia) and many others. Actions will include: proclamations by cities and international NGOs; diverse arts and intercultural events; yoga, meditation and prayer gatherings; community feasts and festivals; marches, walks and vigils; "sport for peace" events; and, diverse educational discussions, and conferences and trainings related to peace. Children and youth will learn conflict resolution and peer mediation skills, fly peace doves and share their images and wishes for peace through pinwheels, photos, flags and cranes. Children and adults alike will dialogue about cultural awareness and respect, gain knowledge about issues of human rights, learn principles of non-violence and explore the roles they can play as Peacebuilders. In addition, Pathways To Peace, The World Peace Prayer Society, The United Religions Initiative, and The Culture of Peace Initiative are also encouraging people worldwide to observe a Minute of Silence for World Peace.
The Shift Network is culminating their Summer of Peace on September 21 which has been a free 3 month series of interviews with experts on the science and wisdom of peace. Pranafest, The Symbiosis Gathering, and Earthdance are hosting events in order to harness the power of festivals to shape culture in positive ways.
Perhaps Dr. Kings' words are coming true today as we are clearly seeing people across the globe organizing and raising their voices for peace. Go to The International Day of Peace Facebook Fan Page to stay posted as the date approaches. Check out Unify to see if there is an event planned near you, or to plan your own event. Be sure to watch Peace Day Live Global Broadcast. Enjoy the video below and please give this article a "like" and share it with your friends. In this time where our leaders appear to be tone-deaf to the call for peace, we must raise our voices together and make sure we are heard!