What does peace look like to me

To answer to the question “What does peace look like to you ?” is very difficult.

We could answer with some cliché : no war, no conflict, no pain, a perfect harmony between each individual… And we’ll think all these answers are cliché because we’ll say this is a utopia.

It would be interesting to ask ourselves if we never really known peace. When I say this, I’m not talking about an ordinary day we go to work, walk with the dog and share a good diner. We can’t think Peace selfishly limiting it to our neighborhood or to our country. Peace affects everyone from all the countries, the cultures, the religions… This is how Peace should be thought, in a international way because it’s concerning every people and should connect every men and women who are only one race : the human race. In this case, we’ll see Peace doesn’t really exist. Wouldn’t be interesting to rather ask how can we access to a peaceful world ? On which values, Peace’s concept should be based ? What would be necessary to realize the Peace’s utopia ?

Today, Peace is a word that seems very far when we see all the wars splitting more and more countries and cultures. Bigger and bigger inequalities are growing between countries that are looking themselves curled. Today, millions of people are forced to leak their countries where they can’t live free. Leaking horror and death, they hope for better days in another culture that is not their culture and in a country that sometimes doesn’t really want to welcome them with dignity. Maybe it would be interesting to ask to them, the first victims of a broken word, how do they conceive Peace. And why not asking the countries too who welcome them or who refuse to welcome them ? What would be their answer ? Are their words going to be in contrary of their actions ? Are they going to see that sometimes they are themselves an obstacle to the Peace ?

Few weeks ago, a picture of a dead child failed on a European beach moved millions of people. This kid had embarked with his family on a makeshift boat to leak the horror and tries to live freely, safely and decently. The only thing they hoped from Europeans was a little bit of compassion, help, security and liberty. But this kid, like other thousands of people didn’t survive. He will never be able to say to you how should be Peace because he only knew horror. World shouldn’t have been moved on this moment only. They should have been already moved a long time before.

How can we close our eyes on so much human misery ? The indifference disgusts me. Hatred as well. Hatred drives people to indifference and indifference drives people to hatred.

Hatred and indifference split humans and stick them in a world ready to explode. If we don’t reach out our hands to others, it’s a whole world that collapses. It’s condemning people from a same world than us, and making us less human. How can we name us Humans when we let die loosely our fellows ? How can this be a world of Peace ? A world of Peace can’t be a place where people are looking each other dying, suffering from oppression, from dictators, from war.

Indifference is Peace’s enemy. Empathy and actions are its allies. It’s not being human to plunge into hatred and indifference and to consequently refuse existence of other humans. We are the first obstacles for Peace.

But I’m also sure there are a lot of people awarded of this and who are ready to act. In NGO, political parties, associations, or on their own, men and women prove there are humans. They reach out their hands and hope to be able to give a better world to their fellows and so, a better world to them too. These men and women are ambassadors of peace. They fight for equalities of all sorts : equality between men and women, between cultures, countries and religions, equality between different social levels… We have to follow them. We have to watch what’s happening around us, not looking away, reach out and ACT for a better world.

I maybe don’t know what does peace look like, it doesn’t always seem existing to me. But I sincerely think hatred and indifference are the first factors of a broken world that taking Peace away. Only taking conscience and acting will allow us to maybe cure that.

Here are some thoughts of great men of Peace, I would like to share with you :

“Peace is a suspended dream” – Kofi Annan

“You want peace : create love” – Victor Hugo

“Tolerance is a virtue that makes peace possible” – Kofi Annan

I always knew that deep down in every human heart, there is mercy and generosity. No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. Even in the grimmest times in prison, when my comrades and I were pushed to our limits, I would see a glimmer of humanity in one of the guards, perhaps just for a second, but it was enough to reassure me and keep me going. Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished. A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity. When I walked out of prison, that was my mission, to liberate the oppressed and the oppressor both. Some say that has now been achieved. But I know that that is not the case. The truth is that we are not yet free; we have merely achieved the freedom to be free, the right not to be oppressed. We have not taken the final step of our journey, but the first step on a longer and even more difficult road. For to be free is not merely to castoff one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. The true test of our devotion to freedom is just beginning. » — Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom


Au Pair from France in Connecticut

Conselor : Babette Stirland