Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Letter to the editor re World Peace Day

Herewith a letter to the editor of the SB News-Press that I sent today. I'll update this post when/if the letter is published.

Update: The letter was published in the News-Press on Sunday, October 2, 2016.

To the editor:

You likely missed World Peace Day, Wednesday, September 21 – understandable, since no major media source mentioned it. We're not talking about "World Days" for mosquitoes, (August 21), UFOs (July 2) or sleep (March 18).

No, World Peace Day is earnest, serious: proclaimed by the UN in 1981; designated in 2001 as a day of international peace; announced annually by ringing the Peace Bell at the UN building. However, last Wednesday, although the bell was once again rung, there was nowhere else the recognition or practice of peace.

Indeed, one senses that world peace is now so beyond possibility as to render the concept irrelevant – a preposterous, silly whim. With "wars" of various styles abounding – Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia – and potential hotspots everywhere – the Koreas, Ukraine/Crimea, Kashmir (plus American and European cities) – the ideals that created World Peace Day seem distant, forgotten.

Have Americans given up on World Peace? According to the two major presidential candidates, apparently so. Both Trump and Clinton speak as if wars, in various configurations, are the order of the day. But both Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, and Gary Johnson, Libertarian – echoing the majority of Americans – find ongoing, endless war intolerable.

But we won't hear their voices, neither in the upcoming debates nor in the major media, which rarely gives them airtime and charges too much for ads. In sum, World Peace Day, once a founded aspiration, is now an unheard outlier's plea, or, to the cynic, a sad joke.