Sunday, September 27, 2009

21 Sept: Peace One Day

I am ashamed to say I have not heard of the global "Peace One Day" initiative until this morning. I am so glad I caught this BBC documentary "The Day After Peace" and I really recommend you watch the entire show here on youtube. It's remarkable what one single individual can achieve if you persist. Most of us have strong beliefs, even dreams, but don't have the will to see out our beliefs.

"Peace One Day" is the idea of one British man, Jeremy Gilley, who against all odds, manages to create an annual global "Peace Day", where all fighting would stop, just for one day. The day is not just symbolic, but pragmatic - when the fighting stops, food and medicine can reach the victims of war; people can have a breather from the daily uncertainty of whether they'd get bombed or killed; and just that one day of peace may ignite a desire for more such days.

The BBC show charts Gilley's remarkable journey and how difficult it was to get a ceasefire, anywhere in the world, just for one day. His idea for a global day of peace started in 1998 at a WOMAD music festival. He learnt that a UN resolution would be the best way to establish this global day. His persistence paid off. In 2001, the UN adopted a resolution to have a day of peace.

The biggest success took place in Afghanistan in 2007. Helped by the British actor Jude Law, Jeremy Gilley managed to get agreements by the Afghan government, NATO, and the Taliban to stop fighting on the 21st Sept so that the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF, and the Ministry of Public Health would be able to enter areas of the country that were otherwise inaccessible and to provide 1.4 million children with the polio vaccine.

It's a remarkable, remarkable journey and Jeremy Gilley: "I salute you". I have not been so inspired in a long time.

1 comment:

Tanya said...

Ohhh did you not read my blog on the 21st? That'll learn ya!


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