MESSENGERS OF PEACE

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Today, 2 October 2014, is International Day of Non-Violence. Established by the United Nations, the International Day of Non-Violence is held on the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence.

The International Day, according to General Assembly resolution A/RES/61/271 of 15 June 2007, is an occasion to 'disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness'.

The resolution reaffirms "the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence" and the desire "to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence".

MOP is concerned about the large group of over a thousand people who staged violent demonstration following the discovery of a body near ELWA junction. We will like to reiterate our call for non-violence. The Ebola epidemic should not be a precursor for violence. While finding dead bodies on our streets is an embarrassing situation that questions the personal safety and security of citizens and the rule of law of this country, taking mob action is never the right method to seek redress.  Our civilization calls for a more humane approach of non-violence.

As we commemorate this day, let us be reminded of the quote from the late leader’s own words, "Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man".

Nonviolence is the personal practice of being harmless to self and others under every condition. It comes from the belief that hurting people, animals or the environment is unnecessary to achieve an outcome and refers to a general philosophy of abstention from violence based on moral, religious or spiritual principles.

The spate of war in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Ukraine, and Boko Haram in Nigeria and the scale of the present outbreak of outbreak of Ebola in Liberia, along with associated fear, dishonesty and suffering, require that we step up the pace of our programme to promote non-violence. We need a peaceful environment to grow. We also need to unite for peace.

Every sect of the society can play a role. Putting it simply, everyone has a role to play in promoting the principle of non-violence. At MOP-Liberia, we provide an opened space that stimulates the engagement of young people in concrete actions towards more solidarity for social issues. We conduct advocacy campaigns for peace and encourage young people to engage in voluntary actions for the development of Liberia.

In general, we need to do more and we need to start taking a look ahead of Ebola and other emerging situations that tend to erode our peace and development. There is an urgent need to move beyond our current emergency and provide the material as well as financial support to help children and adults deal with our fight against Ebola.

Taking a look ahead requires Government of Liberia and International community to put in place protective measures to maintain and restore peace and security and we at MOP- Liberia call on all to counter the forces of intolerance. According to the Secretary General of the United Nations, “We have to foster a culture of peace, built on dialogue and understanding…” He went on to say that there is no greater tool than education to enhance human dignity, promote a culture of non-violence, and build lasting peace.

We will like to conclude this piece with another quote from Mahatma Gandhi in his book on –The Story of My Experiments with Truth (1927) where he said "There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for."

Until next week when we hope to bring you a piece on Fast tracking the campaign against Ebola, stay safe and healthy.

Remember, Peace, above all else, Peace First, May Peace Prevail in Monrovia.

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