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Peace has broken out in the Western Hemisphere—for the first time in history, nations in the entire western half of the world have stopped fighting with each other!!
With the Colombian government’s recent peace agreement this past August with the FARC—the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—the last active war in the hemisphere has ended:
Today there are no military governments in the Americas. No countries are fighting one another. And no governments are battling major insurgencies. – Steven Pinker and Juan Manuel Santos (the President of Colombia), The New York Times, August 26, 2016.
If anything deserves a party with joyous dancing and singing—this is it! Peace!
Of course, Colombia celebrated after their country’s 52-year armed insurgency finally came to a close, and dancing and singing did break out in the streets there. But strangely, few other places in the West even observed this remarkable milestone. At BahaiTeachings.org, though, we want to note this major step, and mark the wonderful occasion with a series of essays about the attainability of peace. What an incredible, historic achievement we have reached:
…the world’s wars are now concentrated almost exclusively in a zone stretching from Nigeria to Pakistan, an area containing only a sixth of the world’s population. Far from being a “world at war,” as many people believe, we [now] inhabit a world where five out of six people live in regions largely or entirely free of armed conflict. – Ibid.
So for those who maintain that world peace is a pipe dream, a remote and unattainable fiction, the current evidence completely contradicts that pessimistic and widely-held viewpoint. In fact, we now know that world peace is possible:
Progress toward peace moves slowly and uncertainly, but it is propelled by determination, ingenuity and the will of millions—and by the realization that peace is not a utopian ideal but an eminently attainable outcome. – Ibid.
We hold firmly the conviction that all human beings have been created “to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization;” that “to act like the beasts of the field is unworthy of man;” that the virtues that befit human dignity are trustworthiness, forbearance, mercy, compassion and loving-kindness towards all peoples. We reaffirm the belief that the “potentialities inherent in the station of man, the full measure of his destiny on earth, the innate excellence of his reality, must all be manifested in this promised Day of God.” These are the motivations for our unshakeable faith that unity and peace are the attainable goal towards which humanity is striving. – The Universal House of Justice, October 1985, The Promise of World Peace, p. 1.
Humanity can achieve peace. That conclusion, now supported by social scientists and policymakers around the globe, encapsulates the primary goal of the Baha’i Faith:
tWe have enjoined upon all mankind to establish the Most Great Peace—the surest of all means for the protection of humanity. The sovereigns of the world should, with one accord, hold fast thereunto, for this is the supreme instrument that can ensure the security and welfare of all peoples and nations. – Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 125.
The Sun of Truth hath risen above the horizon of this world and cast down its beams of guidance. Eternal grace is never interrupted, and a fruit of that everlasting grace is universal peace. Rest thou assured that in this era of the spirit, the Kingdom of Peace will raise up its tabernacle on the summits of the world, and the commandments of the Prince of Peace will so dominate the arteries and nerves of every people as to draw into His sheltering shade all the nations on earth. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 246.
For the first time, we can now see, in real-world terms, how a global peace might work. In this series of essays, we’ll look at the causes of peace and how human beings, whether as individuals or groups or entire nations, can go about implementing those causes.
Next: Peace Starts at Home