Making 'Peace One Day' A Reality
While on the popular website TED, I ended up clicking on a speech featuring Jeremy Gilley, founder of the movement Peace One Day. His passion was clear during his speech, and hearing his story of actor turned activist was truly inspiring.
As a youth he found himself perplexed, as many do, by the horrible things happening around the world. He decided a day of Peace would be the answer, and worked toward establishing one after discovering the UN already had unsuccessfully in 1981.
Gilley has filmed three documentaries; Peace One Day, The Day After Peace and Peace One Day Part Three. After watching the TED talk, my husband and I sat down to view the second film, The Day After Peace, which is available on You Tube from the organization.
The film was focused on his journey post-documentary #1, and led up to the 2007 International Day of Peace. It is fascinating and raw, and it is very clear that Gilley’s journey has not been an easy one.
One aspect of both his speech and the documentary that I was happy to see addressed, was the skepticism that Peace Day and Gilley’s efforts have faced. He confronted the criticism head on, and did not appear to lose his faith even during the toughest of times.
An important clip early on in the film features Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson. She reveals that so many people who are suffering “long for even a day of peace.” Living far from this reality, it is easy to go about our lives and not truly grasp that many in the world are dealing with fighting and death every single day. The words and imagery couldn’t have been more clear.
Another aspect of the documentary I believe was an important inclusion, were celebrities including Angelina Jolie and Jude Law. I have recently read of the outrage people feel when celebrities endorse a cause, as they are not believed to be doing any “real work.”
It has never bothered me as I understand that much of society looks to these celebrities as familiar faces. People will be more likely to listen to the words of these familiar faces rather than someone they have never come across before.
This is the point Gilley was able to make clear in the film, that without the assistance of these celebrities Peace One Day may have taken much longer to become a reality. He would have never been able to garner the press he did, without them on board.
The Day After Peace teaches us that having one full day of ceasefire and non-violence is really possible. In Afghanistan UNICEF was able to enter areas that would normally be too dangerous to access, and vaccinated over 1 million children against polio. This was a short window of opportunity, imagine what longer periods of peace could do for the state of humanity.
With 9/11 just around the corner, and International Day of Peace coming up on September 21, the struggles of the world appear to be on the minds of many. Now is the time to reflect, and think of how we can contribute in the promotion of peace and non-violence.
Visit Peace One Day for some ideas on how to spread the word.