You wish the world could be completely peaceful, and so do I. There, now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can work our way back to the real world, almost, and talk about the upcoming World Peace Forum in Vancouver, Canada, which begins this Friday and runs through June 28.
Here’s the basic description of the event from their website:
The mission of the Forum is to create a global culture of peace. This is how we propose to implement our mission:
* Publish a World Peace Forum statement: ”Building a Culture of Peace and Sustainability,” for the global community, outlining what individuals, communities, cities, groups, and nations can do locally to create a culture of peace and sustainability.
* Create an ongoing legacy of bi-annual World Peace Forums, in cities around the world, to refine, promote, and expand the culture of peace and sustainability.
* Encourage communities and nations to plan for peace, for example, by inaugurating Departments of Peace at city, regional, and national levels of government.
* Celebrate and protect diversity of culture locally and globally.
* Make war abhorrent, peace popular, and the restoration and protection of our global ecosystems a priority.
This all has the makings of some bumper sticker slogans that are sure to be adorning hybrids everywhere in the coming year, but after that we’re still stuck with vastly differing perspectives.
For example, I thought the U.S. did have a ”Department of Peace,” and it’s called the ”military.” And who busted those would-be terrorists in Toronto before they fulfilled their sick dreams and killed who knows how many, perhaps including, heaven forbid, peace activists? The world has yet to see a single tin-pot wingnut or murderous thug brought down by a bumper sticker, picket sign or bed-in.
The peace activist also has an inability, or more accurately put, an unwillingness, to target the message to the proper market. Consider Yoko Ono, wife of John Lennon, peace activist, and “singer” whose shriek is the mating call of the Tinnitus Warbler.
In 2003, Ono rented a billboard in London, which read: ”Imagine all people living life in peace.” Now that cashiers at Piccadilly Square gift shops and bellboys at The Conrad have read the message, is the world that much closer to eliminating the threat of war?
Over the years, Ono has also performed what she calls a “cut piece,” in which audience members come onstage and clip off pieces of her clothing until she’s nearly naked. Does all of this accomplish or prove anything, other than Newton’s Law of Gravity? Supposedly, this all somehow promotes world peace — either that or it’s a subliminal ad for Pepto-Bismol.
Yoko’s husband, the late John Lennon, was and is one of the world’s most famous seekers of peace at any cost. Consider history, however. Since John Lennon released the pacifist anthems “Imagine” and “Give Peace A Chance,” the couple’s “bed in,” and Ono’s first “cut piece,” we had a continuation of hostilities in Vietnam, the tragedy at the Olympic games in Munich, the hostage crisis in Iran, embassy bombings, hijackings, 9/11, continuous violence in the Middle East and constant terrorist attacks around the world. Why isn’t it working? The answer is simple: Terrorists, criminals, warmongers and despots clearly don’t listen to FM radio, read back issues of Rolling Stone or attend Paris theater nearly enough.
The above history has offered repeated lessons that peace activists should hold their events and display their billboards not in Canada, London or New York, but in places where they can preach to the sinners instead of the choir — places like Tehran, Beijing, Pyongyang, Mogadishu and in the backyards of drug cartels. Say what you will, our activist friends are smart enough to know that unguarded pacifism is suicidal.
This is why peace forums will always be held in nations that, for the most part, have been historically smart enough not to base any policy whatsoever on the advice of the kind of people who go to peace forums.
Whenever I write about pacifism, I get letters from readers saying that pacifists have less to do with “world peace,” and more to do with pushing communist, Marxist-Leninist, or some wacky off-shoot thereof, political agendas. If this is true, then those particular pacifists are among the biggest warmongers of them all, because these types of regimes spend “Paris Hilton on a shopping spree”-sized dollars on militarizing everything to the point where even their pets are goose-stepping to the tune of “It’s hip to be Tiananmen Square.”
Then again, somebody naive enough to believe that world peace in the absence of sane strength is possible would almost certainly predict that Communism without the iron boot is the next great fashion trend.