Apparently UNESCO and the United Nations declared the first ten years of this new millennium a Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World. Well, since we are eight years into our “Decade for a Culture of Peace,” I guess I missed that bit of news, and so did the rest of the world it seems.
My two oldest children are now 5 and 7. They have lived their whole lives during this era of a “Culture of Peace.” Without TV, they don’t see the images of war, but they are old enough to notice the words spoken on NPR.
I wish that the words I was having to explain were words of peace, as the UN and UNESCO had hoped: harmony, diversity, love, friendship. Unfortunately what they are asking about is bombs, Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorists, suicide. It could be worse: they haven’t yet inquired about torture, rape, beheading, water boarding … and more importantly, they aren’t living all these horrible words as many children are all over the world.
My parents both grew up in England during WWII. They knew war as more than mere words on a radio. They lived it every day of their childhoods. Air raids, bombs, blackouts, gas masks, shelters, barrage balloons, and shrapnel were part of their daily vocabulary and experience.
Will there ever come a day when those words of horror and violence will be mere ghoulish historical curiosities such as words like guillotine, drawing and quartering, the rack, and the iron maiden?
I want children to grow up learning a vocabulary of peace. As much as I would wish it to be otherwise, it seems unlikely that those fortunate souls will be my children. I simply must hope that some future generation will know the common horrible words of our era only as mere historical remnants of a more violent and primitive time.
Please visit Mimi’s Blog for a master list of all the peace posts that will be written today by bloggers from all over the world.
Peace be with you.