On May 9, 2021, a week to celebrating the International Day of Living Together in Peace, news was awash that at least 60 people majority of them children were killed after a car bomb detonated outside their school in Afghanistan. This isolated incident is among violent situations that our children find themselves in. Children are exposed to violent situations at home, in school and in their environments. These unfortunate incidents beg the question, who is to be blamed for failing to put an end to violence that is meted on children? What are the long-term impacts of children who are exposed to violence? What can be done to ensure a culture of peace and non-violence?
Martin Luther King, a renowned peacemaker emphasized the importance of reacting to violent experiences with compassion. This is what we should and must teach our children. Children bear the worst brunt during wars, conflict and emergencies. Their contribution to peace building and conflict resolution has always been overlooked.
Their voices in peace processes have been trampled on yet they have the greatest potential to foster peace. Suppose we entrenched a culture of violence prevention to children; would we be having violent societies? Children are great imitators and if we as adults showed them how to live together in peace, accepting differences, listening, recognizing, respecting and appreciating others, as well as living in a peaceful and united way, we would have more peaceful communities.
On this International Day of Living Together in Peace, governments and all stakeholders in peace building must mobilize efforts to counter violence and as well support local peacebuilding efforts, in promoting reconciliation to ensure peace and sustainable development as envisioned in the Sustainable Development Goals. At Re-Imagining Communities, we are running a 2-week digital campaign dubbed #FacesOfNonViolence celebrating peacemakers for their efforts to promote peace, tolerance, inclusion, understanding and solidarity.
Wishing you a happy #InternationalDayOfLivingTogetherInPeace. “If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.” — Mahatma Gandhi.
By Mukami Mungai – (Twitter.com@Mukami_Mungai)