Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home

Cover story

A coupla pieces about peace

Cover illustration: Prithi Khalique

And why it’s never gonna happen

By Ibrahim

As I'm writing this right now there are millions of forces at play in the world and, more often than not, they are directly contradicting each other. Isn't that our greatest quality, you ask? To be, putting it mildly, opinionated? Diversity, we call it, when one person plants a flower over a fresh grave while the other person decorates it with its human occupant. Too harsh? Maybe. Doesn't make it any less true.

Ironically, peace has always been a conscientious issue in the world. Like a lot of things, it is subjective and means different things to different people. To some it is the end of war, to others the end of poverty/inequality; to some it's merely setting a white dove flying across the skies or watching the sun set over the ocean, unhindered. Add the billions of bundles together and what you are left with is one convoluted idea for “world peace” and many misguided souls campaigning for it.

World peace will never work. If it did, I wouldn't be typing this right now because I would be unemployed. Why? Because if everyone's happy and peaceful what's there to report about? It'll strip away the very negative and sensationalist foundations that the media now depends upon. That's not even half of it. Any hopes for achieving that would have to stem from peace and tranquillity at a personal level. Which would mean that humour as we know it would never exist because no one would laugh at that idiot posting stupid comments on the internet or the scrawny kid tripping over his own shoelaces in the playground. Hell, it seems that sarcasm depends upon someone else's misery. So, a world without sarcasm? Not happening.

The flaw with these world peace campaigns is that it goes against the very nature of our 'free' capitalist societies today (excluding North Korea where, for all we know, people are happier than anywhere else). Ambition and greed are always the biggest motivators. Sharing and caring sounds well and good in theory but everyone wants to come out on top. Competitive sports depend on that and I'm not prepared to live in a world where football is not competitive. Yet another reason why peace isn't as appetizing as it sounds on paper.

But competitive sports are not what people campaign against, you might say. They campaign against war, against innocent bloodshed for reasons that are too trivial for the consequences they bring. Nothing justifies murder and they're right. But the people who make your decisions for you are far from the field of battle, in a cosy room with expensive things enveloping them in a bubble of ideologies, strategy and mostly, winning. You are but 'collateral damage' and anyone in that position would find it hard to act differently. Because then they'll be weak. We are never in equilibrium and never want to be, we're just absorbed in the journey from one war to another.

Of course, you, the reader will have your own version of peace and you may or may not agree with me. But if you are one of the millions of people out there saying how peace would be nice and are campaigning for it, think about it for a second. The idea of it is nice but, like everything else, it's easier said than done. For my part, as horrible as it sounds, I'm sure world peace is never going to happen. It's just not us and we'd have to break down several intrinsic 'societal' ideals like patriotism (just another polished term for discrimination) and competition to even begin to make a dent at it, but that's a debate for another day. Peace out.

Why we need world peace

By Sarah Nafisa Shahid
Illustration: E R Ronny

My fragile fingers are set out for a difficult mission in this article. I am to type out a justification for something that is not only hard but also paradoxical in its nature. I am to tell you, dear reader, that world peace is something greatly desirable. And I hope you believe my utterly plain words because that would be a natural and ethical response. For what else are we fighting for, if not for peace? Oh, the irony.

World Peace, though a far fetched idea, is absolutely fair in its existence. The current collective human instinct and behaviour might be unfavourable for such an existence but peace has treaded this lonely earth once before, has it not? Remember back when our ancestors were wearing leaves for clothes and they were living in perfect harmony? No, that's not it. They were chucking stones at each other even back then. But peace is always there, hiding away like some elusive cloud reluctant to drench us with rain. And we can obtain it one day, not by fighting wars or tearing down countries but by existing together and learning to put aside our differences. When we truly realise that all our differences are petty, even the most fundamental differences will dissolve into silly nothings. The saying that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing definitely applies here.

But other than that, quite simply, why would anyone want more of this mass murder of innocent men? Is it pleasant to see all this hate in the name of nationalism, religion, wealth and what not? As if all these were reasonable enough excuses for taking your neighbour's life.

A state of peace might actually let the human mind explore its creative ingenious and hopefully end up with more generally happy songs rather than the ones addressing crises. With constant stability, a sense of moral altruism will flourish and humans might finally act out in selfless deeds. With abandoned prejudice, lower risks and less pride, it will be possible for us to actually understand the holistic idea of oneness. At the end of the day, we are part of a single universal conscience and with world peace, we might find inner peace too. Or the other way round.

Economics wise though, growth will probably take a break. Unless growth is all about selling luxury goods during a time of peace. And with our useless artillery and military back up, well, they can remain as back up for when we get an alien attack. Because, there's a catch here, world peace doesn't account for universal peace. But, world peace means we win inter galactic battles so yes, we need it.

Laughter is da bomb

A lot of students around the country protested the war today. The National Youth and Student Peace Coalition sponsored an anti-war organization called 'Books Not Bombs.'

The President remarked, 'Why do you want to drop books on them?'



This week in history wasn't the best for the petitioners of peace. 30th January saw Adolf Hitler being appointed as the Chancellor of Nazi Germany and some 15 years later, on that very day, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by an Indian nationalist. Talk about double-whammies.



home | The Daily Star Home

2013 The Daily Star