The theme of International Day of Peace this year is ‘End Racism. Build Peace’. The theme focuses on promoting harmony among the various communities on Earth. The theme encourages embracing diversity with peace and acceptance. In looking at Human Values and Peace, we learn that Peace must be manifested in feeling, word, posture, deed and temperament in the same uniform equal measure.
Human Values and Peace
Our values are our principles, our guides to action. Values are our internal codes of conduct, the principles upon which we steer our lives and make our decisions. Our values are first given to us by our parents. These values develop, expand and are tested in experience. Other people impress their values upon us. We may take on the values of people we admire, such as our peers, our teachers, or elders in the community. Our moral values are often gleaned from our faith system that we follow. The practice of human values also includes self-knowledge. This points to an important principle – that of self-inquiry. Up to 70% of our time should be spent in self-inquiry. Without knowing our inner self, one cannot reach the goal of life.
Our values often include universal principles such as truthfulness, peace, love, right conduct and non-violence. These principles are often essential for our personal and social survival. In our observation, when we reverse the order of perception, we can often work out what values are active and guiding a situation or an event or a reaction (our own – or – someone else’s) when we analyse motives of either ourselves or others. We keep in mind that behaviour reveals choices – choices are based on our values. Our values guide our actions.
Everyone desires and seeks Peace. Lasting Peace cannot be found in the material world. Peace requires the capacity for introspection and self-awareness. Self-awareness enables one to become mindful of his or her thoughts, words and deeds. When self-awareness becomes a habit the individual begins to monitor and modify the habitual patterns of thought that obstruct peace within. True peace requires inculcating equanimity and fortitude, regardless of loss or gain, success or failure, pain or pleasure.
Peace must be manifested in feeling, word, posture, deed and temperament in the same uniform equal measure. Absence of mere anger cannot be taken as peace. The winning of a desired object and the satisfaction one gets then, should not be confused with Peace. The peace that has pervaded the heart must not be shaken subsequently for any reason. Transcendental peace has no ups and downs; it cannot be partial in adversity and complete in prosperity. It cannot be one thing today and another tomorrow.
Without peace, there can be no happiness. Peace is the very nature of the soul. It co-exists only with a pure heart; it is never associated with a greedy heart full of desires. Genuine peace is won by the control of the senses only. Calming the mental agitation that surges like waves levelling the swirls and whirls of likes, dislikes, love, hate, sorrow, joy, hope, despair, peace is earned and maintained, without disturbance. This peace is of the nature of the soul.
International Day of Peace: United Nations Peace Bell
To commemorate the International Day of Peace every year, the United Nations Peace Bell is rung at the UN headquarters in New York City. In June 1954, the Peace Bell was donated by the United Nations Association of Japan. It was cast from the coins and the medals that were donated by the representatives of the Member States, the Pope, and the People.
The UN’s Peace Bell is rung twice a year: on the first day of the spring and on September 21 to celebrate World Peace Day. On the International Day of Peace, the General Secretary of the United Nations rings the bell to pray for World Peace. The bell is rung in the presence of Representatives of Permanent Missions as well as the Officials of UN Secretariat.
2022 Theme: End racism. Build peace.
Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.
But achieving true peace entails much more than laying down arms. It requires the building of societies where all members feel that they can flourish. It involves creating a world in which people are treated equally, regardless of their race.
As Secretary-General António Guterres has said:
“Racism continues to poison institutions, social structures, and everyday life in every society. It continues to be a driver of persistent inequality. And it continues to deny people their fundamental human rights. It destabilizes societies, undermines democracies, erodes the legitimacy of governments, and… the linkages between racism and gender inequality are unmistakable.”
As conflicts continue to erupt across the globe, causing people to flee, we have seen race-based discrimination at borders. As COVID-19 keeps attacking our communities, we have seen how certain racial groups have been hit much harder than others. As economies suffer, we have seen hate speech and violence directed at racial minorities.
We all have a role to play in fostering peace. And tackling racism is a crucial way to contribute.
We can work to dismantle the structures that entrench racism in our midst. We can support movements for equality and human rights everywhere. We can speak out against hate speech – both offline and online. We can promote anti-racism through education and reparatory justice.
The 2022 theme for the International Day of Peace is “End racism. Build peace.”
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