Sunday, February 1, 2015

Give PEACE a Chance

 (This article originally appeared in Blog Watch of the Philippine Online Chronicles on January 31, 2015. Check out the article in: Give peace a chance.)




Give peace a chance. 
This is the title of the protest song written by the late John Lennon in 1969. It became the anthem for the American anti-war movement during the 70’s. It reminds me much of what is going on in our world today. It could be a call for our country in the wake of the recent events that rocked our seemingly quiet worlds.

Give peace a chance. 

Yes, why not? It is a great irony that soldiers go to war that we may have peace. It is a sad reality that forty four young men, brave troopers of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force, shed blood to silence one international terrorist and stop him from further wreaking havoc not only in our country but also in the world. They perished that we may have peace. Because of what happened, people are clamoring for the blood of those responsible for their deaths.

Give peace a chance?

Once the dust of heightened emotions have died down, I still hope that government peace talks will continue not just for the passing of the Bangsamoro Basic Law but for all the other peace talks the government aims to do. It is only through such that true justice will be served. It is not an eye-for-an-eye kind of justice we should aim for but more a poetic justice that we can all cherish. It may be a long shot but it is worth a try. As always, violence is not the answer to violence just as the gun is not the answer to the pen like what happened in the Charlie Hebdo massacre. A war is still not and will never be the acceptable response to injustice. For all we know, the dove with the olive branch could still hover above all of us. 

Give peace a chance. 

More than crying out those words to people in government especially to the president, peace should begin with each of us. It is ironic that people scream for justice or for peace for other people when they cannot even be at peace with fellow netizens. If words could kill, no one will be left standing in cyberspace as each one has an opinion to uphold and defend and no one wants to wave the white hankie. The storm surge of negativity and rudeness could possibly wash away all vestiges of propriety and good sense. Ah, freedom of one ends where another’s freedom begins. It is time we look inside each of us and be at peace with ourselves. 

Give peace a chance.

Each of us could do our own share of giving peace a chance. Where else could we start with it but in our own homes and in our own families? The home is where values are taught and caught. The home is where we learn love, forgiveness, integrity, honesty, patience, fortitude, and other virtues. Just as the Pope said during his visit, we need to protect our own marriages and our families. The family is the basic unit of society and peace can start there.

Give peace a chance.

One time I stopped at an intersection where a traffic officer was manning the flow of vehicles. He was dancing and waving and moving in such an amusing way that somehow took a bit of stress out of the motorists. He was just doing his job and even for all the measly pay he gets, he was doing it well. It is the same with the street sweeper, the plant trimmer, the public transport driver and all those below minimum wage earners on the streets whose annual take-home pays are lower or cheaper than one signature bag of those who live in posh villages. And yet without them, our streets will be in chaos.

Give peace a chance.

So many voices want to be heard: from the high and mighty to the lowly; from the powerful halls of government offices and rich corporate towers to the shabby huts of purok and sitio meeting places; from the elite villages to the enclaves of informal settlers; from cathedrals, mosques and synagogues to chapels and home cells; from Batanes to Tawi-tawi, all voices whisper peace, all hearts cry for peace.

Give peace a chance.

Wouldn’t it be good if we will wake up one day when no one needs to write “peace” with his or her blood? Wouldn’t it be good to wake up one day and find that injustice has been licked, poverty is a thing of the past and harmony crowns our every action? It is idealistic, I know, but we can try, can’t we? 

(Photo from Flickr)

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