People have been writing, painting and talking about Peace for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, in contrast to this much has also been spoken, written and painted glorifying war. We all know it can be very lonely speaking up for Peace and at times we may feel that no one is listening to us. Some years ago the PPSEAWA International Council decided to set aside a day each year as the PPSEAWA Day of Peace. Following much discussion it was agreed to support the UN International Day of Peace on 21st September each year.
This year, in preparation for the International Day of Peace 2010 a questionnaire was circulated to PPSEAWA member associations, and the information below is a summary of those which were returned.
Activities were as diverse as are the different programs of our very varied associations. We regret not having received more replies to the questionnaire to learn about other PPSEAWA Peace Day Celebrations.
PPSEAWA Member Associations which responded to Questionnaire:
In Australia ten (10) members joined others in an interfaith service which PPSEAWA had initiated over five years ago. PPSEAWA Life Member Ms Kaylin Simpson Lee lit the Peace Candle with representatives from fourteen (14) different religions participating, sharing readings and prayers for Peace. More than 200 people attended, including a boy’s choir from a local primary school. The peace bell was rung at midday. PPSEAWA members attended a Peace day celebration at the world Bahai Centre in Sydney and also the Ministry of Peace display in the centre of Sydney when flags from about two hundred (200) nations were paraded.
In Fiji about fifty (50) people attended an event in the Peace Garden including ten (10) PPSEAWA members. For the past five years high school students, churches and some women’s organisations have been involved in Peace day activities. These activities at the present time are seen by the general public as mainly for women. Members from this group see a need to help other developing countries with resources to assist in spreading the PPSEAWA objectives of peace and understanding.
In Japan three Peace Day events were held on 16th, 21st and 25th September with a total of fifty (50) PPSEAWA members and two (2) as invited guests attending the Kansai event. Publicity was mainly through the membership network, group’s homepage and local Newspapers.
In Tokyo, Ms. Kazuko Kano, President of PPSEAWA Japan, noted in her opening remarks that in line with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s Peace Day Message, members of PPSEAWA Japan need to mobilize Japanese youth who know little about the horrors of war, to work together for World Peace. Then, all members participated in a silent prayer for war victims worldwide.
Personal experiences from World War II were shared, especially the air raid attacks at home and in neighbouring cities and villages. The following messages from the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were read '“No one else should ever suffer as we did. Please note that the expression “no one” means everyone, including those who we normally label as enemies. It is the spirit of reconciliation and not of retaliation.’ Tadatoshi Akiba - Mayor of Hiroshima
“Today, 65 years after the atomic bombings, survivors still suffer from terrible illnesses caused by the after-effects of the bombs. Can we honestly say that we understand their endless suffering?” Toshihisa Taeu – Mayor of Nagasaki
PPSEAWA members of the Aichi chapter watched a video which featured the Save the Afghan Children organisation, a girls’ orphanage school in Kabul. The founder, Ms. Sabeh, after much personal hardship, managed to raise the funds to make her husband’s dream a reality. The Aichi chapter learned of the centre and has been one of its supporters since 2002. The members stressed the importance to invest their energy in creating a peaceful environment for children and strengthen their determination to empower women and cooperate with all PPSEAWA members for a peaceful world.
In Samoa ten (10) PPSEAWA members joined 160 other interested people on 21st September to celebrate the day which was well advertised through local TV, newspapers and media interviews. The program was attended by PPSEAWA’s patron, HH Masiofo Filifilia Tamasese and her husband the Head of State HH Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi, the Acting Prime Minister Hon. Misa Telefoni and other dignitaries. Two unexpected results which gave members great joy were women expressing a desire to join the association and also some generous donations for the PPSEAWA Peace projects.
In Taiwan two events were held with 250 attending a conference on 2nd September co hosted by PPSEAWA and the Character Association and 120 attending on 21st September when three new members joined PPSEAWA. Twelve (12) PPSEAWA members were involved and two schools were willing to join the movement for promoting good character. The Peace Day program stresses equality and unity of people of different races, age and gender. PPSEAWA members in Taiwan called on everyone to treat each other with honesty, sincerity and love which influence directly the personal relationships between all people.
Mary Cabrera, PPSEAWA International's Ambassador for Peace offers the International Prayer for Peace.
Lead us from darkness to light, from falsehood to truth;
Lead us from despair to hope, from fear to trust;
Lead us from hate to love, from war to peace;
Let peace fill our heart, our world and our universe.
Words adapted from the Upanishads and used by Mother Teresa in 1981 who urged people of all faiths to use the peace prayer daily at noon.
It is not too early to start planning activities for the UN International Day of Peace 2011. Start Now.