||People may say I’m a dreamer, but like the ever-popular words of John Lennon’s Imagine, “I’m not the only one.” My time spent at the peaceCENTER this summer is testament to this. In a small gray house on McCullough many of the local dreamers congregate. Here the talk of millennium tree plantings, baby girls from China, interactive virtual websites, worship places without racism and decades without violence is as common as talk about the weather and Gandhi gazes down on those who wash dishes. And yet it is only my guess, but it seems the peace making that goes on in this place and in other small havens around the world takes more than just a sincere commitment to nonviolence, it takes vision and a healthy amount of dreaming.|
In lieu of the “For the Children of the World” appeal dreams, I often ask myself how one could not give thanks for the thoughts of Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the strongest voices to express the idea that nonviolence should be taught to children at school? And would we be surprised to know Marie-Pierre Bovy, president of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation who suggested in 1996 that there should be a “Year of Nonviolence” always shared her ideas with the same core group? Or did Pierre Marchand, founder of the humanitarian organization “Partage avec les Enfants du Monde” 24 years ago an IFOR delegate to UNESCO in the culture of peace program, meditate in a small house to recenter himself before launching this worldwide campaign for the Decade for the Culture of Peace and Nonviolence 2000-2010.
And when Marchand began to write the text of the appeal in a Children’s Village in India, did he know he had the energy to transform the nightmares that too many children of our world live each day? And when Mother Teresa signed the appeal from her hospital bed in Calcutta, had she experienced visions like the great mystics? And where did the courage that Aung San Suu Kyi, the third Nobel Laureate to sign, come from after a long discussion with Marchand in her Rangoon home - under close surveillance?
Today all the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates who could be contacted have signed the appeal declaring the beginning of the coming decade to make peace and nonviolence possible. From Ireland to Israel, from Lebanon to Latin America and from Sri Lanka to San Antonio there are people dedicating their lives to peace and nonviolence. And what motivates these people and connects them to each other is not worldly greatness or material riches but the dream you and I also share that soon “the world will live as one”.. In PEACE.
Sarah E. Roemer
reprinted from the Fall, 1999 peaceCENTER UPDATE
For further information contact:
P.O. Box 36, San Antonio, Texas 78291
(210) 224-HOPE or 224-4673 FAX (210) 222-1097