It was a brisk Autumn day, when peace folk gathered in order to spread peace as a message to the town of Falmouth, Massachusetts. In my infancy to the peace movement, I gathered with community members to support an end to war and peaceful resolutions to the bloodshed caused by U.S. wars. As I gathered with my recent acquaintances, I mentioned that I had prepared a few words for the occasion. The group seemed excited to hear what I had prepared and encouraged me to speak.
I started off, addressing those gathered for peace, projecting to the broader public of those whisping by on their way from here to there.
“Good Morning everyone! Today we gather for peace. Peace, this seems like such a foreign word to me. In my young years, I have never known this country not immersed in war. How sad is this? But what’s worse, is that I live in a world where my country is in the state of war, but I can wake up every morning, grab a cup of coffee, sit down, and read about the suffering going on in other countries and all around me, but stay free from it all. American sponsored wars cause endless suffering every day. People are going hungry, are scared, and are unsure whether they will make it through the day. How can this be?
No war is ever acceptable, but how reprehensible is a war supported by a corrupt government? What’s worse, we don’t even begin to realize the cultural differences of these nations and just how much we stand to gain from our brothers and sisters in the Middle East and elsewhere. Because other nations support different values or do things differently we have created an us vs. them mentality. We in the west have forced our values onto others, forcefully conforming nation’s cultures to be diluted in order to do things the “right way.” We have lost what it means to be people. We have innate differences and similarities, and that existence should be premised on a peaceful coexistence of all of these qualities. We should treasure the differences we have, because they make us more diverse and unique thinkers and we should celebrate our similarities, because they are what tie us together. We are all brothers or sisters to someone, mothers or fathers, cousins, uncles, friends, confidants, why can’t we see this simple reality? What makes these wars continue? Money.
Money has allowed us to grow cold, separate ourselves from our communities, and become individually focused on “success.” Success that is geared only towards money, the more money one has, the more successful. We have distorted reality and sacrificed our humanity in the process. We have overemphasized money, forgetting humanity in the process. The very quality which makes us human.
No longer shall we tolerate the sheer injustices of this world. Let us join together in order to celebrate life. Let us shift from a “dirty economy” which has wreaked havoc on this earth to a green and sustainable one. Let us provide not just jobs, but good jobs. Let us ask the well-off to give more. Let us end all wars, whether foreign or domestic and begin to share in our humanity, the wonders of life. Let us not falter. Let our backs not break because of the status quo, but rather, take up each other’s burdens in order to provide equitably for all people. This is not just a dream, but a vision. Let us join together in forming a better tomorrow, not just for ourselves or our children, or our children’s children, but all people. Let us begin to rebuild and reform for a better tomorrow.”
As I wrapped up my remarks I had noticed a group of three young women who had stopped their ventures into town and stood close by to listen. I wondered, how had this speech impacted these women? Did my message resonate with them? Did this spark a curiosity within them to explore the intricacies of systemic oppression? One thing was clear, as I stood on that ground and spoke those words, people around the world had been suffering, their cries were not being heard.
Work is still to be done. These words should not fall onto the ground where they were spoken, but should carry on the back of the wind, into every home, community, and country. Until every place is void of war, let gatherings such as these carry on.