Affection for Peace by Iman Nouri-Mourad 2007
Create and do it
Mother Theresa humbly demonstrated her brilliance when she said, „I will never attend an anti-war rally. If you have a peace rally, invite me.“ She knew the secret of positive thinking and positive energy.
POIEIN KAI PRATTEIN (create and do) engages itself in the International Kids' Guernica movement to further cultural development for peace, and, also knows Mother Theresa's secret.
Today, I am honored to stand on this stage in AGAPITEMOU POLI ATHINA, the beautiful city of Athens. But, more than honored, I am grateful to be able to be a part of this international family of Kids' Guernica. The positive energy we gather together is the essential tool to rebuiling a different, well-rounded generation.
My participation in the Chios event in 2007 showed me a whole new world. The special canvas donated by Mr. Takuya Kaneda, Coordinator of Kids' Guernica, to the children of Tripoli symbolized this new world. It showed how the expression of PEACE comes naturally from our little children by a simple gesture of gathering them. By introducing them to each other, allowing them to understand each other and to expres first by colours an symbols their imagination which are instinctively loving and caring. They built a peaceful space between one another and will hopefully sare it in the future to build a peaceful global family. They believed in it by imagining it with colours and shapes...and created it by DOING and ACTING TOGETHER.
Standing here today, I persevere in my lifelong challenge to express my love and thanks, my sincere affection to my friends. My first immigration from Lebanon, at the beginning of the Lebanese war, was in 1977 to Greece. It was and still remains an enriching experience. This lovely country embraced me, along with other blessed Lebanese who fled to Greece for security. This is where I was able to finish my education and to build my real connection to the world. It is one of the most important reasons why I am here today.
My Greek friend Irini asked me to visit TINO's church and pray for her in the church, knowing that I am Moslem. I did it with a smile and with a lot of love, respect an sincerity. My friends and family's including Kassiania, Emer, Maysa, Aleko have accompanied me throughout my life journey with all what it takes. THIA MARIKA – KIRIA MAGUI. The list of names is endless and their religious and cultural backgrounds are so diverse. However, there is one common denominator to our relationship, namely Love and Respect based on the same basic values and morals.
Just like me, you all know why you are here, and we all thank a special person, Mr. Spyros Mercouris. We acknowledge his efforts and all those who cooperated and coordinated to gather us, to listen an exchange with us an to draft solutions. But what are we going to do today? What am I going to do from this moment on?
I am a Lebanese mother of 2 dolls. I reside in Tripole and work in Beirut. All the wars and violence throughout the years have touched my life, like thousands of others.
The negative effects are shown harshly and expressed abusively, everyday, all over the world on TV screens and front pages of the newspaper...
The anticipated progress of the millennium is questionable, at best.
What we have achieved in recent years has brought forth no lasting results in making people happy. On the contrary, it has brought the perpetual wretchedness and ruin that result from successive wars. The strong still exploit the weak, races still hate one another. This includes the eminent failure of a materialistic society that lacks refined and sublime values.
In this sense, the Indian poet Tagore criticizes a modern civilization that rests on science and matter without regards to values. He dictated to one of his students before he died: „Whether we are backward or well ahead in material advancement, it is our duty to search for this everlasting essence within the folds of our spirits, to look for its expression inside us, as well as for its forces that we share with others. And our course to perfection is only established in proportion to our awareness of these forces.“ Tagore concludes „infants have to be taught the benefit of amity besides those of electricity, an the benefit of goodness besides those of coal and iron.“ In other words, we have to join in our children their internal emotions to teir acquisition of knowledge and the practical application of those emotions.
Allow me to recall the definition of morals and ethics as stated in an article by L. Ron Hubbord, American educator and humanitarian.
Ethics are reason. Man's greatest weapons is his reason.
The highest level of ethics, therefore, would be establishing long-term survival concepts that result in minimal destruction.
In the modern dictionary we find that ethics are defined as 'morals' and morals are defined as 'ethics'. However, these two words are NOT interchangeable.
Rather, morals should be defined as a code of good conduct laid down out of the experience of the race. This code should serve as a uniform yardstick for the conduct of individuals and groups witin the race or society.
Morals are actually…laws.
The moral code originates when it is discovered through Actual Experience and Proof that some acts are more anti-survival than pro-survival.The prohibition of anti-survival acts is accepted as a custom of the people and may eventually become a law.
In the absence of extended reasoning ability, moral codes (so long as they provide better survival for their group) are a vital and necessary part of any culture.
Morals, however, become burdensome and protested against when they become outdated. And although a revolt against morals may have as its stated target, the fact that the code no longer is as applicable as it once was...revolt against moral codes generally occur because individuals of the group or the group itself has become unethical. Unethical to a point where it wishes merely to Practice license against these moral codes, Not because the codes themselves are, in fact, unreasonable.
If a moral code was completely reasonable, it could, at the same time, be considered thoroughly ethical. But only at the highest level, which is non-existent, could the two be called the same. The ultimate reason is the ultimate in survival, not necessarily the ultimate in ethics.
But, good ethical conduct can be define as the adherence to the moral codes of the society in which we live.
Social decay, Global Social Decay, Facts
How many times, as you read the pages of the newspaper or listened to the latest news broadcasts, have you questioned the violence, crime and lack of values permeating this society?
Cultural decay is rampant and not city or town in the world is immune to the myriad of social problems that arise in the wake of widespread violence, crime, abuse, illiteracy and immorality.
We can no longer afford the view that our social problems will lessen or go away if only we throw enough money and resources at them.
There is something more fundamental that is wrong – a true common denominator – it causes uch problems to exist, it causes them to persist an it causes such problems to keep recurring without a final resolution.
We are facing an ethical crisis in our world, from the highest levels of government an business to the media and through virtually every echelon of society.
At the root of violence, crime and an unsafe environment is the lack of basic moral and ethical values. When the youth are not taught what is right and what is wrong (in a way that makes sense and is understandable) then society becomes a dangerous place to live, work or play in...for all.
Many special people who came before us an left striking positive examples through their disciplines and practice knew. They knew the secrets of the power of goodness, amity, altruism, sacrifice, sharing, all that makes us feel we need no regulations an laws to establish peace in our hearts, besides justice and brotherhood between each other.
Our Mission, then, should be to Restructure and Reinforce.
Education is a force that unites people, nations and cultures for peace and sustainable future.
To achieve this goal, believing and exemplifying the values it promotes are crucial. The real life experience of my eldest daughter Maysa who spent the last 2 years of her high school at United Worl College in New Mexico stands out as a great example. The mission of the school, which gathers a minimum of 80 different nationalities from different races and backgrounds for 2 years together under the same roof is to reach:
International and intercultural understanding
Celebration of differences
Personal responsibility and integrity
Mutual responsibility and respect
Compassion and service
A sense of idealism
Action and personal example
Contrbuting to redesigning a new generation was one main conviction behind my daughter's decision to leave home at the age of 16 years.
„Enough! Let us live!“ The title of the painting from Tripoli, connected me to a small family in this big world and sparked an conviction similar to that of my daughter.
The global friendship and the connection of Kids' Guernica family members made my 11 year-old daughter Miriam feel stronger and safer when Gabrielle from the US wrote to her: „Miriam, your languages and your words are your weapons and not the little hunting knife put in the pocket to feel secure and to defend oneself. When Asit from India checke how we were and Sara from Dubai asked how she could help, when Hatto sent message and emails assuring us that there are friendly and very precious people out in the world acknowledging our different realities and trying to do and act...That was amazing!
Thankfully there are many fine groups and individuals working earnestly to resolve these and other global problems. These people and groups are truly special and are the ones that keep civilization from destroying itself completely.
Furthermore, the latest press release of Geneva conference on 14 September 2007, was reassuring. The new guidelines drafted assure us once more that the energy and efforts of all the international organizations cooperating together will work towards preventing an curing all what threatens peace and child development. „These new IASC guidelines are a significant step towards providing better care and support in disaster- and conflict-affected areas worldwide,“ said Dr. Ala Alwan, Assistant Director-General for Health Action in Crisis at the World Health Organisation.
Global, fundamental morality: the real secret
If we Look at the basic rules we learned in kindergarten and acknowledge, once more, the basic morals existing in different cultures, religions and civilizations...we would smile at the similarities that exist and Learn how to celebrate the differences with respect. Our ethical responsibility now is to RE-sow them in the minds, souls and daily activities of our global children, parents, and even government at macro level.
Let's recall together Robert Fulghum's vision of a peaceful afternoon...“Think what a better world it would be if we all – the whole world – had cookies and milk about 3 o'clock every afternoon an then lay down with our blankies for a nap.“
How do you feel just by listening to the phrase: it sounds like Love, serenity and peace!!!!!
His simple clarity and power touches virtually everyone who reads his simple credo:
„All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.
Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don't take things that are not yours...
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life. Learn some an think some...and draw, paint and sing and dance an play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world, watch out for the traffic, hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.
Remember the little seed in the Stryrofoam cup? The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how and why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish an hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup they all die. So do we.“
I still remember „the good old days“, when my grandmother used to ask me to read the Quran for her so she could explain the basic morals and give real life explanations of what was happening around us. She would clearly conclude in her innocent words the benefit of applying them. I still remember waiting for the kids of the neighborhood to come back from Sunday school and share with me what they learned, also. It is a great virtue to look to the similarities with a peaceful smile. I still remember the deceased Paul II when he once said: „Lebanon is a message by itself.“ His message reflected a general truth of the secret of peace, he also suggested that the Moslems of the world fast 30 days, why don't you try to fast one day with them?...
Practice beneficence, forgiveness, patience, justice, honesty, loyalty, equality, love and help your children, be worthy of trust, honor an respect your parents, avoidance of corruption, help and protect the poor, Righteousness and right conduct, Forbearance keeping promises, right testimony, kind speech and humbleness, the company of the good, Salutation and taking permission, respect other' religions, respectiving others properties, pay your dues, prosper and share, be generous, fulfill your obligations, clean yourself, freedom of choice, be temperate, be logical and competent, Convenants and respecting treaties, polite treatment of captives, mercy, orphans good treatment, neighbors and relatives good treatment, respect your words...all what it takes to be a good healthy human being!
When my grandmother came back from her pilgrimage, she explained to me how she had to repeat peace phrases when she came into view with the Sacred House!!!! To implant peace in people's heart and surrender.
Finally, the quotes of Mother Theresa are another form of stating those morals.
...Be kind to each other in your homes. Be kind to those who surround you. I prefer that you make mistakes in kindness rather than that you work miracles in unkindness. Often just one word, one look, one quick action, and darkness fills the hearth of the one we love.
Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.
If we have no peace, it is because we forget we belong to each other
If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
Peace begins with a smile.
Yesterday is gone, tomorrow has yet not come, we have only today, let us begin
Peace is not something you wish for it, it's something you make, something you o, something you are, and something you give away!
Instead of focusing on the world's problems, let's give our attention, our affection and good energy to a simple approach of peace, understanding by awareness, trust, respect, love, art and education, to peace.
I we all believe in it, we will reach it together.
Dreams are more powerful than facts.
Hope always triumphs over experience.
Let's ACT together and NEVER stop.
If we could together promote the knowledge, recognition and mutual respect between the cultures, traditions and values, my mission for this trip would be successfully accomplished.
To promote tolerance to those basic morals as a closer cultural understanding and avoiding stereotypes, xenophobia and racism.
To reform of the brain of the new generation to help the new birth: the citizen of the global world.
To identify the best method to promote peace an affection in this shaky world, to encourage a simple initiative which aim at promoting dialogue between religions by cooperating with others to achieve a sacred awareness of those basic principles and spread them in the world community.