International Day of Peace - 21 September 2020
World Peace in One Hour
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one
- John Lennon
Is this just a song or wishful thinking? Are these just words or is it prophecy? Is humanity capable of achieving sustainable, everlasting peace?
I say YES, and the time is NOW.
You can't say that there has been a lack of declarations and resolutions on peace:
1948: Universal Declaration of Human Rights
1978: Declaration on the Preparation of Societies for Life in Peace
1984: Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace
1999: Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace
2011: The Bruxelles Declaration, "Pledge to Peace"
2016: Annex to Declaration on the Right to Peace
2018: The Global Resolution for the Establishment of Infrastructures to Support the Culture of Peace (not a United Nations resolution)
In 1984, the year I arrived in New York, the United Nations General Assembly, by resolution 39/11, adopted the Declaration of the Right of Peoples to Peace, in which United Nations Member States solemnly proclaimed that the peoples of our planet had a sacred right to peace.
Let me repeat this: We all have a sacred right to Peace
Too many leaders, no one to follow
Too many clouds, not enough rain
Too many words and promises, too hard to swallow
Too many innocents died in vain
"I Will Follow You" by Nenad Bach
Previous efforts to achieve global peace have all been full of good intentions, but they resulted in too many declarations and not enough action. This is a historic moment, and if we do not seize it, maybe we do not deserve to survive. As is the case when launching a rocket to meet the International Space Station in orbit, there is a very small window of opportunity to make world peace happen. Protecting the existence of all species, sustaining life on Earth, exploring outer space, tackling disease and mortality, solving the pollution problem, coexisting with the environment, electing more women to leadership positions and creating real freedom that includes true private property: world peace is a prerequisite for all of these objectives.
This pandemic should open our eyes to the fact that the First World War ended with the Spanish flu pandemic. So why not use the same modality to end all current warsĂ˘€”now. For this project, I do not rely exclusively on intellectuals or artists or politicians or peace activists.
We are all in it'from truck drivers to nurses, from presidents of companies to presidents of countries. Whoever understands the plan and the steps needed to be taken is welcome. I just want to communicate the idea to whomever this resonates with, whether that be the Pope, Paul McCartney, Bono, a hot dog vendor on the corner of First Ave. and Houston St., the Nobel Institute, or any essential worker during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are all in it. Easier said than done? Hear me out. In order to achieve global economic stability and sustainable growth, we should take the following steps and anticipate positive outcomes:
1. Military budgets should stay as they are, amounting to around $2 trillion globally, or maybe even increase, but...
2. Fifty per cent of new arms production should be rewired/transformed to build infrastructure and support research and development.
3. If the G20 countries do that, the current global power structure and balance will remain the same, because those countries represent two thirds of the world's population and 80 per cent of world-wide gross domestic product.
4. Balance equals peace.
5. Mother Earth will get real infrastructure: tunnels between continents, etc.
6. Viruses will be controlled or even better, they will be used as a vehicle for something good. Imagine a virus that spreads knowledge, immunity, long life.
7. We as a species will be able to unlock our true human potential, respecting all living creatures.
1. Twitter goes around the world in a second. The number of smartphones and digital cameras in the world now number about 4 billion. Violence can no longer be easily hidden. Technology is on our side.
2. During the twentieth century, it has been estimated that up to 200 million people were killed by war, oppression and other atrocities. There have been just over 1 million deaths due to conflict in the first 20 years of this century. If this trend were to continue over the next 80 years, it would result in an approximately 40-fold decrease in such deaths.
3. The Western Hemisphere has been a war-free zone since the end of the internal conflict in Colombia in 2016.
4. There are an estimated 110 million active landmines and an equal amount in stockpile.
5. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the estimated nuclear warhead count for the top five countries with the most nuclear weapons in 2020, based on available information, is as follows:
United States, 5,800
United Kingdom, 215
Rough estimates of the cost of building and maintaining these terrible weapons are in the trillions of dollars. Cutting these costs in half would defuse a lot of anxiety and free up cash. And again, the power structure and balance would remain the same.
6. The Abraham Accords between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, signed on 15 September 2020, bring us one step closer to world peace in 2021. These are not just words anymore, and the planet is more than ready!
I am actually very impressed by humanity; world leaders paused everyday life on Earth in an effort to save our brothers and sisters from COVID-19. You may be cynical, but almost no one could have predicted this outcome, which proves that the past doesn't equal the future. One day, all the wars will stop permanently. Knowing this, we should capitalize emotionally and unleash unlimited human creativity. A few days ago, I found companies that already exist for mining asteroids. If that is happening now, imagine what a free flow of creativity could produce in the near future.
Pandemics have happened before, but never were we as connected as we are today. Good, bad, but not indifferent, our social media structure should be used not just for sharing what you ate for breakfast this morning, but as a potent vehicle to drive world peace. Yes, it could happen in one hour; if we put the leaders of the G20 countries in one room or on Zoom, and don't give them cookies, it may take only 45 minutes. And yes, I am trying to be funny, but in reality, with the proper preparation, I believe it will happen fairly quickly. In the present state of war, we could dabble in attempts to solve the mysteries of life for the next thousand years, or we could proclaim peace and move forward on all fronts in the next hundred years. You wonder how? Just ask Elon Musk; he'll produce the plan in two weeks.
"You may say I'm a dreamer/But I'm not the only one/I hope someday..." actually, let that day be 21 September 2021, at United Nations Headquarters in New York: the signing of a world peace declaration. And if you would allow me to dream just a minute longer, two days before, a ping pong tournament could be held in New York between all the presidents, prime ministers and other world leaders at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. Ping pong has long been seen as a proven method of diplomacy. And after the signing ceremony, the World Peace in One Hour Orchestra, with all the instruments of the world, will perform "Everything Is Forever" and "Stand by Me", and close with John Lennon's "Imagine".
With our present life span, we cannot travel beyond our solar system, never mind explore the Milky Way. So giddy-up, humanityĂ˘€”there is plenty to be accomplished by the creative class. First stop: the moon; next: Mars; and then the stars, to discover what we are all about and when, how and why it all began. There is no time to waste, and yet, "€śTime Is All We Have" and "love is all we need".
For more information on "World Peace in One Hour", visit https://worldpeaceinonehour.com/history.
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