What does ‘peace’ mean to you?
‘A DAY DEVOTED TO STRENGTHENING the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples’, that was purpose for International Day of Peace declared by United Nation (UN).
Sept 21 is a special day because it is a day dedicated not just to the absence of war but also to the absence of violence.
It was first celebrated in 1982 and to inaugurate the day, the UN Peace Bell is rung at UN headquarters in New York City.
This year’s theme is the Right of Peoples to Peace. One action being promoted this year is sharing a selfie on social media using the #peaceday hashtag.
Speaking of peace, do you know that back in 2011 Malaysia was once ranked 19th of the most peaceful countries out of 153 countries in Global Peace Index (GPI)?
That was the first time we were ranked among the top 20 most peaceful countries in the world.
The mind behind GPI is the Institute for Economic and Peace (IEP), a non-profit think tank set to conduct research on business, peace and economic development.
GPI is measured annually since 2007 based on 22 indicators such as political indicators, political terror scale, number of homicides per 100, 000 people and ease of access to small arms and light weapons.
Barely three years after becoming the 19th safest country, this year Malaysia had dropped to 33 out of 162 countries.
IEP founder and executive chairman Steve Killelea commented on our ranking this year saying although Malaysia showed improvements due to a reduction in heavy weapon capabilities, this was offset by deterioration through increases in terrorist activities and greater political instability.
Though we are neither a combat area or conflict zone, violence such as murders and armed robberies are still happening in our country.
In conjunction with this International Day of Peace, have you ever thought about what you could do to promote peace?
Here we have simple practices to spread peace and of course to celebrate a day dedicated to no war and nonviolence.
When was the last time you smiled at a stranger? Nobel Peace Prize Winner Mother Teresa said, “Peace begins with a smile.”
Have you heard the saying ‘Smile and the world smiles with you, frown and you frown alone’?
Well, it is not a mere saying anymore. In 1991, a study done by North Dakota State University found out that although not everybody smiles back but over half the subjects responded to a smile with a smile whereas only a few subjects responded to a frown with a frown.
So smile. We are not living in near-zero temperature country. It is easier to pull our lips into a curve and smile here in Malaysia.
2. Stop that unnecessary posting, reposting and sharing on SNS
Is it true? Is it relevant? Is it necessary? These are among the questions we have to ask before we click share, retweet or post buttons.
We never know the domino effects of our postings on social network sites.
Spread love people, not hatred.
3. Count to Ten When You Get Angry
“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret” said American writer Ambrose Bierce.
The virtual world of Malaysia has witnessed enough angry rants that have gone viral. Remember CDM25?
The next time you get angry count to ten and meanwhile think before you respond.
Even if you are not prone to punching people in the throat when you are angry, as mad as you are when reading those nasty comments or senseless postings on Facebook, count to ten.
4. Say No to Violence
Sarawak made it to world’s headline early August when two British students were killed here in our own backyard during a clash with a local group.
Regardless of our reasons, always say no to violence in order to have a peaceful country.
Iranian human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace prize winner Shirin Ebadi stated “Nothing useful and lasting can emerge from violence.”
In Malaysia we are slowly entering a time of high sensitivity but no matter how much we disagree with each other’s political movements or even religious beliefs, never ever resort to violence.
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”
Let it be a reminder that the only way we can obtain peace is through peace alone.
5. Pay it Forward
Pay attention those in their 20s and 30s! We are facing the most challenging parenting era that the world has ever seen.
We are in Internet period now where everything can be obtained in a click. The wrong click will lead our future generation to images of violence and misleading information.
Parents or not, we have the responsibilities to the younger generation.
Watch out for them, befriend your younger nieces or nephews on Facebook, for example, or see what they post on Instagram or retweet on Twitter.
Encourage them to socialize with people of different races, religions or even social backgrounds. Foster unity not just among the young, but keep it as a careful reminder to ourselves as well.
How to spread positive messages today?
Let us on this International Day of Peace start making these small changes and who knows, Malaysia might be the most peaceful country in the world one day.
Check out the events in all around the world on International Day of Peace on their official Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/peaceday.