What is peace? I believe it is everything that war is not, the antithesis of hatred and intolerance and fear of our fellow man. On January 4, 2009, the quote of the daily in Montreal’s newspaper The Gazette, read as follows:
“War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.”
(quote by Thomas Mann)
It is a sad state that the world finds itself in today. There is conflict, from gang wars to bombing to terrorism, on every continent. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes, raped, and murdered in the name of war.
We must stop self-destructing. In order for peace to prevail, we need to open our hearts and be more accepting of the people who share the planet with us. In other words, be tolerant of other religions, be tolerant of gays and lesbians, and be tolerant of different races.
I believe that it is possible to make ours a better world. All we need to do is realize that there are great role models out there for young people to emulate. One such role model is Martti Ahtisaari, the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize winner. He is a former president of Finland, who devotes his life to foster freedom in Africa and peace in the world. There are others like him, but sadly not enough to turn the world around. We all need to do our part.
I accept the challenge of being an agent of change, of tolerance and acceptance, to combat the hatred and fear that lead to war. To all young people around the world, do you accept this challenge?