Peace is not just the mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.”
― Dalai Lama XIV
Today, September 21, is the International Day of Peace.
Following are a few readings relevant to the day. The point of the list isn’t to tell anyone they should absolutely agree with every word of every one of these writings, but just to prompt folks to spend some time examining different viewpoints and really thinking about what peace is and how we might work toward it. Feel free to add your own suggestions for titles in the comments.
The Racial Healing Handbook by Annaliese Singh. The theme for 2021 is “recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world.” This book seems like a good fit. The subtitle is “Practical Activities to Help You Challenge Privilege, Confront Systemic Racism, and Engage in Collective Healing.”
Bone to Pick: of Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Reparation, and Revenge by Ellis Cose. Is forgiveness possible for genocide? How do warring factions reconcile once the battles are over? Does revenge serve a purpose? Deep questions pondered here.
Nonviolent Communication: a Language of Life by Marshall Rosenberg and Arun Gandhi. I have found this book helpful in my personal and professional life, especially as I have a job that requires a lot of interaction with the public.
War No More: Three Centuries of American Antiwar and Peace Writing edited by Lawrence Rosenwald. Provides a broad historical overview of peace advocacy in the U.S. It’s always good to hear a variety of voices.
Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words. In 1953, a woman began a decades-long journey on foot throughout the United States and Canada, carrying a message of peace to everyone she met. This is her memoir. Talk about walking the walk.
The War Prayer by Mark Twain, who was a consistent critic of U.S. military action in the Philippines. This had a huge influence on me when I read it as a teen. In the story, a church assembly prays for victory in battle for their soldiers. Immediately, an unknown man in a long robe appears, promising the request will be fulfilled, but only if the congregation still wants it after hearing the full consequences of what they are asking.