International Day of Peace – September 21
In 1982 the United Nations established September 21 as a day to make special observations of peace throughout the world. Since 2001, September 11th has taken on a great significance, but there is another September 11th which calls us to remember it as a day of peace. The following excerpt comes from SeattleCenterForPeace.org.
On September 11, 1906, Mohandas Gandhi organized a meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, and outlined a strategy of nonviolent resistance responding to a racist, apartheid state that would deny them the most basic freedoms of justice and dignity. He called the movement “Satyagraha” – literally, holding truth/love (satya) with firmness and determination (graha). He asked the audience to take a pledge of nonviolence, even though the consequences of nonviolence and resistance could be beatings, loss of homes and businesses, jail, and even death. Virtually all who attended stood and took the pledge.
Thus September 11 is symbolic of a basic choice that we all must face: Do we respond to deep hurt and challenge with a practice of revenge and violence? Or, do we choose a practice of nonviolence and determination not to give up our inherent humanity? Each path has its consequences. And, it’s a path we choose every day, not just on September 11.
Let us use the period from September 11 to 21 to:
· Reflect on this fundamental choice we all face,
· Make a special effort to deepen our understanding of the practical and spiritual consequences of violence and nonviolence,
· Learn more about how nonviolent strategies have brought about constructive change throughout our history,
· Improve our skills in peacemaking, nonviolent communication, and reconciliation,
· Help our family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors choose a path of nonviolence,
· And, like those at the meeting in Johannesburg one hundred years ago, make a personal satyagraha pledge for nonviolence.
<Ann Eachus, UMW Mission Coordinator for Social Action–reprinted with permission from H.A.I.L. – Here Am I, Lord!, September 2008.