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Give peace a chance
by Thanos Kalamidas
2014-12-25 11:39:50
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A few days ago talking with a friend, he asked me what I want, meaning something that would somehow easy my life at least temporarily. My answer was, a day without bad news.

Please don’t misunderstand me, despite small ups and downs I’m not complaining and my observation was more about my work than anything else. Again, don’t misunderstand me, I love my job and I can never imagine me retiring. How can you retire from writing after all?

I write about politics, culture, environment, occasionally about sports in daily base. And I’m grateful that there are people who read what I write and others who ask me to write. But that also means that I spend some hours every day browsing the news to find things to write about since most of columns and blogs are about contemporary news.

And this is where the trouble starts. Last weekend having to write five articles for different media in preparation for the holyday’s break, I got a bit dispirit. There were so many things to write about I didn’t know which ones to choose and all of them bad.

I mean the only thing I saw it was war, hostilities, revenge, hate, murder, loath, greed. And I don’t just mean in politics, it was everywhere. From the politics pages to social, culture or sports pages. The corruption of human ethos triumphing. Forgive me for using the Greek rooted word “ethos” but I don’t think there is another word representing best: the spirit, character, atmosphere, climate, prevailing tendency, mood, feeling, temper, tenor, flavour, essence, quintessence, animating principle, dominating characteristic, motivating force, disposition, rationale, code, morality, moral code, attitudes, beliefs, principles, standards, ethics all together in five letters.

Motivated from my desperation I checked the articles and blogs I wrote till now for 2014 and the summed to 438. 40 of them, 10% more or less are about or with reference to Middle East, nearly all of them talking in different occasions and for different reasoning for the last chance for peace. But peace seem to never come despite all the last chances.

And I’m sure many of you thing “oh, not again!” every time I mention the magic number 30,000. Yes the 30,000 kids under 16 that die every single day somewhere in our developed or not developed civilized world because our civilization continues to neglect them.

I’m not a religious person, I’m an atheist. Still I’m not a mentally blind person. And if there is an ecumenical message in Christmas, that can cover even an atheist, is peace on earth. Let’s give peace a chance. Just like John Lennon said it. Let’s give peace a chance. This is all we can ask for.

This is something we don’t do. We talk about peace, we wish peace, we even organize international peace talks but we are not willing to give peace a chance. Even for an hour.

And however unbelievable it sounds that every day 30,000 children die somewhere in this world, the same unbelievable is the fact that this world has seen absolute peace even for an hour for centuries.

And for me a sign on how dispirit we all are for an hour in peace is the fact that a few years ago, an elected politician was awarded the Peace Nobel Prize with the hope that he might do something to bring this hour of peace. The hope that he might give peace a chance. That’s how dispirit we are.

So let Christmas inspire us to unite all our voices so we give peace a chance!

Thanos Kalamidas


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Emanuel Paparella2014-12-25 13:43:36
I certainly understand your point Thanos about human nature being flawed and corrupted from the beginning, but before we get more despondent over that sad fact of the human condition, it may prove worthwhile remembering that during the height of World War I peace was in fact given a chance, not only for an hour but for the whole day of Christmas.

War was interrupted for a day (in some trenches for a whole week) to celebrate the birth of a Jewish baby born some two thousand years ago in Palestine from a Jewish mother, who was destined to become the prince of peace.
As we know, when the allies heard the Germans sing “Silent Night” in their trenches, they came out of theirs and went to meet the enemy not with bullets but with peace in their heart in order to exchange greetings and gifts and sing along with them Silent Night.

That song was written by an Austrian priest to give his parishioners, who were extremely poor and destitute, a sense of peace and joy on a day when peace is announced to men of good will. Most people who have listened to that song agree that it manages to do just that every time it is sung: it conveys an inner peace, or at the very least an aspiration to peace and justice and good will on earth. In both events, of course, the peace and the joy did not least more than a day but as C. S. Lewis put it in his meditations on Christmas: better to live in the land where winter brings Christmas once a year than the land of perpetual winter with no Christmas celebration.

One can interpret that event of World War I cynically, merely proving the hypocrisy of Christians who pay lip service to peace but are always at war with each other. On the other hand, one may take the event as a sign of hope, solidarity and good will despite it all, a sign that potentially Christmas does not have to come for a few hours once a year but can be observed all year if one has peace in one's heart. The choice is every man and woman’s to make. We call that the “conspiracy of hope.” Long live the conspiracy of hope. Aristotle rationally got to the idea of God but never got to the idea of a God incarnate and the revealed theological virtues of Hope, Faith and Charity; and the greatest of these is charity. Meery Christmas!

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