Working for Peace
in a world still full of turmoil,
pressing issues must be addressed
Peace is indeed the responsibility of each and every one of us.
On the UN international Day of Peace, Bianca Jagger is unable to join us at the Ways to Peace Festival, as she needs to address the UN General Assembly Sept 20, about the serious and disturbing escalation of human rights violations in Nicaragua, her home country.
Message from Bianca Jagger
I want to send my greetings to the ‘Ways to Peace Festival’ at Tintern Abbey. Sadly, I can’t be with you because I have been invited to address the Council of Americas meeting in New York, and will also attend the United Nations General Assembly on 20th September. These meetings will discuss the situation in Nicaragua, my home country, where a dictator, Daniel Ortega, has been exercising power with terrible brutality. Some 500 people, mostly unarmed protesters, have been killed since April at the hands of Ortega’s paramilitary thugs. Many students are in prison and are being tortured, and some are close friends of mine.As founder and chief executive of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, I have tried my best to deal with situations of brutality and injustice. And, once again, many millions of people across the world are being exposed to the horrors of war and conflict. I think it is more important than ever to find innovative ways to creating a just and peaceful world. I know the festival will explore new avenues to that effect, and I salute you all for doing so. Martin Luther King said this in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in 1964: ‘We will not build a peaceful world by following a negative path. It is not enough to say: We must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but on the positive affirmation of peace.’In 1984 the United Nations General Assembly passed a Declaration on the ‘Right of Peoples to Peace’, ‘expressing the will and the aspirations of all peoples to eradicate war from the life of mankind and, above all, to avert a world-wide nuclear catastrophe.’ And yet again we are seeing armed conflicts in many places that are impacting the lives of many millions of people. The devasted cities of Syria are perhaps the most poignant, recent example of this.With ever more powerful weapons of war, children in particular, are at the receiving end of horrendous violence. A world of peace seems far away and yet we must actively keep working towards it. I have been trying my best to be a voice for the human right to a peaceful life, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the bad news that keep coming.Martin Luther King says, ‘we must fix our vision not merely on the negative expulsion of war and conflict, but upon the positive affirmation of peace. We must see that peace represents a sweeter music, a cosmic melody that is far superior to the discords of war.’ … ‘Old systems of exploitation and oppression are passing away, and out of the womb of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born.’ Let us do our best to prove him right!The United Nations maintains that ‘the preservation of the right of peoples to peace - and the promotion of its implementation - constitute a fundamental obligation of each State.’ I think this Human Right to Peace is an issue not just for the state, but for all of us, each and everyone who are concerned about these matters. And it is exciting to me that ‘Ways to Peace’ will not just discuss human-to-human relationships, but also ways of creating peace between humanity and nature. And so, I am looking forward to hearing about the outcomes of the festival.