Friday, 27 January 2012

A reminder of why I am walking 1200 miles this summer...

Well it's mainly down to two people...

Firstly, Satish Kumar introduced me to the art of pilgrimage, which I understand as opening your heart to the kindness of strangers and placing all your needs in the hands of humanity.

At a time when the globe is quaking in its solar-system-boots over the financial meltdown and the newspapers are crammed full of self-interested bank execs claiming over-amped bonuses, one could be forgiven for thinking us humans have become a little self-obsessed in a trance-like pursuit of capital reward. 

Therefore leaving the constraints of the bank account behind and taking a heart full of faith, begs the question do we have what it takes? Showing that we do actually look after the wind-blown stranger walking past, possibly slightly sweaty-aromatic, is, in my opinion a worthy task.

The success of the journey lies in the hands of the same human spirit which will make Global Truce work.

Which brings me on to the second person. Jeremy Gilley is the chap whose efforts have led to the organisation Peace One Day.

More importantly, he single-handedly persuaded the British and Costa Rican governments to propose a successful resolution to the United Nations for the International Day of Peace to be set on the same day each year, 21 September, so that it could be marked by all.

But how useful can one day be?

Very, is the short answer!

It could sound like a state-gimic by showing a lofty nod to peace - oh go on then, have your day! - but it is so much more than that.

Since Peace One Day's visit to Afghanistan in 2007, more than 4.5 million children have been vaccinated against polio with 1.5 million of them done in JUST ONE DAY - on 21 Sep!!

Aid agencies and health workers around the world are ready to deliver their aid...but they just can't get into the dangerous places. These ceasefires allow them in and boy can they achieve life-changing work in just one day.

Defining violence

But it is not just about violence on the battlefields. It is about violence in our homes. It is about domestic abuse and child abuse. And it is about the abuse of our planet for monetary gain and insane consumerism.

Peace is not the final destination my friends, it is a way of life, it is a state of mind and it is an ideology. I am not a religious person but some of those books have got some cracking good to your neighbour...treat people as you wish to be treated...etc.

But it is no good popping off to the chapel, church, temple, synagogue or mosque for a quick bit of mind-tweeting a supreme being if we can't stop killing, raping and abusing our fellow men, women and children. I'm not demeaning religious reverence but lets get the our priorities in order. Lets get that sorted first and then go back into communion with whichever belief you have and say, look what we did!

So, the reason why Global Truce for Peace Day is so important is that it is the first step for us to celebrate a vision for the future and to inspire our children to do better than we have done. Because, maybe, just maybe, some time in the future, those children will ask...why not two days?

And, of course, I am not clever enough to solve world peace....but I can walk and I can talk so that's what I'll do....and what's the worst that can happen? I lose some weight, get fit, give up smoking, get a bit cold and meet some wonderful people.

More anon, Maxim.

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