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Today, on September 21st, the United Nations International Day of Peace – also recognized as World Gratitude Day – people around the world give thanks to all those who work hard for peace.
In every village and hamlet, every town and city, every region and country and international body those of us motivated by the ideal of peace work toward its eventual establishment in the world.
Those diligent builders of the edifice of peace deserve our deep gratitude.
We need to thank every person – child, adolescent, or adult – who labors with heart and soul to bring about an end to war in the world.
We also need to ask ourselves: what am I doing to stop war?
Since the beginnings of the Baha’i Faith in the 19th century, the world’s Baha’is have advocated a unified global federation of nations to bring about an end to war, hostility, and violence. Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Faith, repeatedly emphasized that: “The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.” He urged the leaders of the world to come together in unity to disarm, de-militarize, and agree to desist from armed conflict.
Baha’is abhor violence and war, and believe that human beings all have the inherent right and responsibility to demand that their governments cease waging war on each other and come together to outlaw it. Baha’u’llah wrote:
The time must come when the imperative necessity for the holding of a vast, an all-embracing assemblage of men will be universally realized. The rulers and kings of the earth must needs attend it, and, participating in its deliberations, must consider such ways and means as will lay the foundations of the world’s Great Peace amongst men. Such a peace demandeth that the Great Powers should resolve, for the sake of the tranquillity of the peoples of the earth, to be fully reconciled among themselves. Should any king take up arms against another, all should unitedly arise and prevent him. If this be done, the nations of the world will no longer require any armaments, except for the purpose of preserving the security of their realms and of maintaining internal order within their territories. This will ensure the peace and composure of every people, government and nation.
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That early, original, and consistent anti-war emphasis in the Baha’i teachings motivated the international Baha’i community to support the establishment of the League of Nations in the 1920s and the United Nations in the 1940s. This 1947 statement from the world’s Baha’is to the United Nations outlined the Baha’i vision of a united, supra-national global government that would finally rid the world of warfare:
World order has become legally possible, socially imperative, and divinely ordained. The principle of federation has already united previously independent communities diverse in race, language, religion and size of population. The nations can find just expression for their legitimate rights and needs through proportionate representation in a supranational body. Until world citizenship is guaranteed as a social status, the human rights and privileges developed in the past are undermined by the disruption of modern society.
The order herein affirmed implies the establishment of a world commonwealth uniting all nations, races, creeds and classes and safeguarding the autonomy of its state members and the personal freedom and initiative of the individuals that compose them. The commonwealth would consist of a world legislature functioning as trustees of the whole of mankind and enacting the laws required to regulate the life, satisfy the needs and adjust the relationships of all races and peoples. Its world executive, backed by an international Force, would carry out the laws and decisions decreed by the world legislature, and safeguard the organic unity of the whole commonwealth. Its world tribunal would adjudicate and render final and compulsory verdict in any and all disputes arising between the various elements constituting the universal system.
Baha’is firmly believe that a unified world commonwealth provides the way that will ultimately end war. On this day, World Peace Day and World Gratitude Day, we humbly thank everyone everywhere who works toward that glorious goal.