Friday, December 17, 2010

My spoken words to Universal Peace Federation during Global Peace Festival 2008

In recent times we have seen some of the worst international violence in the history of mankind. While frustrated and angry young people crashed their aircrafts into buildings, killing a few thousand innocent people. It is therefore timely that we make some effort to return to sanity, to the peaceful settlement of disputes between nations and religions. United Nation Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon recently lamented that faith-based discrimination and racism show a “dismaying persistence,” and said that for peace to endure, individuals, groups, and nations must come to respect and understand each other – and that religious harmony is crucial to that process. In the Lebanon war of 2006, Jewish and Muslim adherents were violating the rights of individuals to live peaceful lives. How can people who believe in one God, but have different means of expressing their beliefs, do this?

Perhaps young people can be catalysts for change and bring about peace in ways that older people cannot. It is our responsibility, especially the young people of today, to make this change. The longer we fool ourselves into believing that someone else will tackle this problem, the worse the situation will get. This is our desire: a better and more just world. The road is long, but every road begins with one first step. In my humble opinion, in order to be real peacemakers, we must see ourselves as God sees us, a people appointed by God with a mission that extends throughout the world. Peace should start from one’s self before it resonates to others. We share a noble dream of creating a world at peace where love resonates all over and where harmony prevails over discord and where everyone becomes his brother’s keeper. To build a peaceful world, we must start laying the foundation of peace in ourselves.

As a layman, I endorsed well the principle founded by the Universal Peace Federation, which is “One Family under God” that pictures the true family model for peace. Why “One Family” under God? The family is the cornerstone of peace. First, it is universal. Regardless of race, ethnicity, religion and nationality we are all members of families. Secondly, the family represents the most intimate of human relationships. We use familial terms to describe the closeness of any relationship saying “that person is like my brother.” Therefore, the family should be the school of love where we learn to love all humanity in its richness and diversity. Marriage and family are the fundamental building blocks of any society, but many developed as well as developing countries are in danger of losing this most valuable tradition. Divorce and family breakdown are at an all-time high. Every nation faces major challenges with its youth. The social and economic cost of the breakdown of the family is staggering.

Besides that, we should not forget the culture of service. There is something deeply spiritual in serving others. It is not something we should do for only a day, a month or even a year. It has to become a way of life. When “living for the sake of others” becomes a habit, we come to see the true value God places on all human beings. We should promote a spirit of volunteerism and peaceful cooperation around the world. Communities and nations are being transformed through our efforts to build a culture of service rooted in the peace philosophy of “living for the sake of others”. We will see the creation of a grassroots movement that will spread into a global culture of serving others. Imagine young people from enemy nations and from different faiths working side by side in service! Any initial misunderstandings and suspicions would fade away as they sweat, cry and laugh together with a common purpose and cause.

Peace can be had if the avaricious and the greedy are curbed. Having exploited their own countries to the maximum they are now bent on exploiting the whole world. They invent all kinds of spurious reasons to legitimize their exploitation. Their selfish exploitation of the world has impoverished countries and people so much that a backlash by the very poor is inevitable. Modern nations should tax the rich in order to provide for the poor, thereby reducing the disparities and the possibility of violent confrontations between rich and poor. Society becomes more stable and peaceful where there is more equitability all round.

The holy task of building the sacred reign of peace on earth, is being now carried out enthusiastically in all corners of the world. At this critical junction of human history, what will you do? Would you live foolishly for the rest of your life, merely seeking for your own comfort and self-interest? Or will you join with me on the victorious march toward the dawning of the substantial kingdom of peace?

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