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We are Peacemakers

The Virtue and Pursuit of Peace: A Blueprint for Becoming Effective Peacemakers

As coined by Martin Luther King Jr., “Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we hope to arrive at that goal.” Peace is an overarching state of tranquility and understanding, free from violent conflict, constant fear, and agitation. It is a harmonious state of co-existence within oneself or among people, nations, or the world at large. The importance of this concept is demonstrated by its pervasive usage in everyday discourse and its central place in numerous religious, philosophical, and social concepts. Peace is a lifespring of serenity, a balancer of society, and an enabler of human progress.

With the world plagued by countless conflicts and disputes, peace has moved from being an idealistic notion to a pressing imperative. Without peace, we cannot hope to achieve progress, be it in our personal lives, our communities, or on a global scale. Peace generates creativity, makes room for constructive social interactions, and most importantly, provides the conducive environment necessary for the mental and physical well-being of all life forms on the planet.

To attain peace, there is a conscious and continuous requirement for individuals, groups, and nations to become peacemakers. The onus of creating peace does not lie solely with world leaders but operates at a much more micro, personal level as well. As Gandhian philosophy suggests, "Be the change you wish to see in the world," there are numerous everyday practices we can all adapt to become better peacemakers.

First and foremost, peace begins with the self. Inner peace is achieved through emotional awareness and the effective management of personal emotions. Self-reflection and introspection are critical tools in recognizing and addressing internal conflicts. Techniques such as mindfulness, meditation and exercises in empathy and gratitude can significantly contribute to personal peace. Eckhart Tolle, the bestselling author of 'The Power of Now,' posits that accessing the 'power of now' and living in the present moment is key to finding peace within oneself.

Peace is cultivated through our comportment and interactions with others. This implies judicious communication, deep listening, patience, and understanding. Active non-violence, tolerance, compassion, and love are tenets to practice daily. Attending to inter-personal relationships, and valuing the diversity of perspectives, cultures, and individuals can foster a more peaceful society. For instance, the Lebanese civil rights activist and author Joumana Haddad promotes peace through her advocacy for freedom of expression, gender equality, and sexual and religious diversity.

Thirdly, we can foster peace by engaging in our communities. We participate actively in community service, education, and promote a culture of peace through our actions and conversations. Social worker and Noble Peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi is an influential example of community engagement in his work against child labor in India. Satyarthi not only acted on an individual level but engaged his community in his pursuit of peace for marginalized children.

Lastly, taking a stand against injustice and fostering a culture of fairness and respect at all levels of society also contribute to peacemaking. The peace activist and holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, maintained that indifference or silence in the face of injustice is a bigger evil than the injustice itself. As Wiesel demonstrated through his life, being a peacemaker often means standing up against hate, discrimination, and violence.

In conclusion, building peace is a layered and continuous process that evolves at multiple levels. While the quest for peace can seem daunting against the backdrop of prevalent global conflicts, every step taken towards peace, however small, contributes to a more harmonious world. Just as a ripple effect can cause increasing amounts of change, each individual's attempts at peacemaking can collectively add up to significant social transformations.

Ultimately, peace is the conduit that connects humanity to its capacity for love, tolerance, respect, and mutual understanding. Striving to be better peacemakers is not merely a noble pursuit, but a dire necessity for ensuring the survival and progression of humankind. 

Reciprocal Survival