Urgent need to salute peace, friendship
LAST SATURDAY, Barbados paid homage to the significance of the 1937 Riots, and on Friday there will be observation of Emancipation Day. These are two of the national days commemorating people and events in this country. Not one of them salutes and honours peace and friendship.
The United Nations has designated today as International Day Of Friendship, but it does not get the attention given those days we honour mothers or fathers or even Valentine’s Day. Yet, events across the world show the urgent need to promote peace and friendship.
As Muslims celebrated their important Eid ul-Fitr yesterday, there was no peace in many parts of the Middle East. In Palestine, the Israeli military and Hamas are embroiled in a deadly conflict already claiming more than a thousand lives.
There is no peace in Syria, there is bloodshed and unrest in Iraq, tension and hunger grip South Sudan and the terrorist group Boko Haram has been killing and kidnapping innocent people across Nigeria. There is unrest in The Congo, while many people continue to flee Sri Lanka because of persecution in their homeland.
In Ukraine, there has been a running battle between government forces and pro-Russian separatists with a most unfortunate casualty being the loss of 298 innocent lives after a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was shot down while flying over the area.
Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community remain the target of many hate crimes and bullying because of their sexual orientation. And there are many people from minority groups or those fleeing economic hardships in their homelands who are ill-treated in the lands where they seek refuge.
Many of the problems that promote conflict and death, as well as anger and fear, could be resolved with some very simple solutions. We must first accept that we are all one human family and need to be in fellowship with each other. Those who have promoted otherwise have failed throughout the centuries. Recent history points to the Klu Klux Klan in the United States, the Nazis in Germany, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and those behind the genocide in Rwanda.
On the other hand, we need to look at the efforts of those we admire and need to emulate – Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela – who all worked for the better of man and the world community. They embodied peace and friendship.
We do not live in an ideal world. However, we must try a little harder to achieve that wish of happiness and peace ever so often espoused for the universal family. We need to make the world a better place but it can only happen by our actions. So regardless of differences caused by partisan politics, religious beliefs, colour or even sexual orientation, we ought to be unified in achieving that goal: peace and friendship.