Writers have tremendous power - they have the power of the word, and well-chosen words can help to create a better world and a world beyond war. How can we do it?
Here are some suggestions built on my experience:
1. Join an online "Peace through Writing" organization and read and contribute to its peace Newsletter. One of the organizations of this kind which you could join is: IFLAC: The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace.
2. Research and write about peace heroes and heroines, their lives, their deeds, and their values, that can enrich and inspire us. See below an example of one of my favorite peace heroines, Thea Wolf, the heroine of my book: Not In Vain: An Extraordinary Life.
3. Seek, research and study peace films, peace poetry, peace novels, peace stories, and spread them and their messages as widely as possible. See below two of my favorite peace poems, "The Circle" by Edwin Markham, and "Seraph" by Shin Shalom, as well as two of my own peace poems: "Peace Is A Woman and A Mother," and "Bridge of Peace."
4. Draw inspiration from the sayings and hopes of great writers and peace leaders, and emulate them. I have given examples of four inspiring quotations below.
5. Choose to write about important themes that can help create a global peace culture, to counter the prevalent dangerous culture of violence, rampant in our Televisions, and in many parts of the world. Our written words of harmony and peace have the power to change all that.
Following are some examples pertinent to the five suggestions above:
1) You are warmly invited to join IFLAC (just send an empty email)
2) Chosen Peace Heroin: Thea Wolf - a German Jewish Nurse who came to work in the Jewish hospital in Alexandria, Egypt before the outbreak of World War 2. With the assistance of kind Egyptian officials, she helped Jewish refugees who came to or through Egypt to escape the horros of the Holocaust.
3) Chosen Peace Poems:
By Edwin Markham
He drew a circle and shut me out
a renegade, a heretic, a thing to flout
But love and I had wit to win
we drew a circle that took him in.
By Shin Shalom
I was sent to raise
to raise the world,
the whole earth to raise
I could not find where
the base and the basis were
the base of the world to raise
It broke and fell
and floated in space,
in space where no raising can be
And I after it
aflame and burning,
burning to raise the world!
PEACE IS A WOMAN AND A MOTHER
How do you know
peace is a woman?
I know, for
I met her yesterday
on my winding way
to the world's fare.
She had such a sorrowful face
just like a golden flower faded
before her prime.
I asked her why
she was so sad?
She told me her baby
was killed in Auschwitz,
her daughter in Hiroshima
and her sons in Vietnam,
Ireland, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon,
Bosnia, Rwanda, Kosovo and Chechnya...
All the rest of her children, she said,
are on the nuclear
black-list of the dead,
all the rest, unless
the whole world understands -
that peace is a woman.
A thousand candles then lit
in her starry eyes, and I saw angels
bearing a moonlit message:
Peace is indeed a pregnant woman
Peace is a mother!
BRIDGE OF PEACE
"They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree,
and none shall make them afraid." (The Bible, Micah 4.4)
"He who walks in peace, walk with him." (The Koran, Sura 48)
My Arab sister, daughter of Abraham,
Let us build a sturdy bridge
From my orange world to yours,
Above the boiling pain of acid rain -
And hold human hands high
Full of free stars of twinkling peace.
I do not want to be your oppressor
You do not want to be my oppressor,
Or your jailer, or my jailer,
We do not want to make each other afraid
Under our vines and under our fig trees
Blossoming on a silvered horizon
Above the bruising and the bleeding
Of poisoned gases and scuds.
So, my Arab sister, let's build a strong
Bridge of jasmine understanding
Where each shall sit with her baby
Under her vine and under her fig tree -
And none shall make them afraid.
And none shall make them afraid!
4) Qotations - Hopes
"I'm sure that someday children in schools will study the history of the men who made war as you study an absurdity. They'll be shocked, just as today we're shocked with cannibalism."
Golda Meir (Prime Minister of Israel)
"All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
"You my little bud must flower and save the world."
Grace Paley (USA)
"What you say resounds..."
Wislawa Szymborska, Nobel Laureate (Poland)
5) In conclusion, Wislawa Szymborska is certainly right when she tells us:
"What you say resounds..." What we say through our writings, in our electronic and Internet era, can indeed loudly and widely resound if it has the wings, the weight and the courage to aspire at transforming the world and to re-create it the way we imagine it can be.