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M.N. Masheke: Building a World of Peace - One Family under God

Address to the the UPF World Summit on Peace
May 29-June 2, 2009, Seoul, Korea 

Although the history of mankind has been conflict-prone, there have been ideas and attempts to end conflict and realize a peaceful world. One symbolic pointer confirming that humans are, by nature, peace-loving creatures is that in every culture of the world the instinctive gesture between two people meeting for the first time is that of exchanging a greeting. In many languages, a greeting is phrased in form of an assurance of peace and best wishes. Examples are Annyong haseo? (Are you at peace?), Salemalikum (Peace be with you), and Shalom (peace). Even the expression "How are you?" denotes a concern by the inquirer regarding the well being of the addressee.

Contrary to our expectations and intentions, efforts to entrench peace in human relations fall short of the desired benchmarks. This is because people seek to draw peace from their physical habitat and environment. Many try to achieve peace by accumulating wealth, power, and prestige for themselves but end up having to defend and protect these acquisitions from onslaught by fellow humans. Others achieve peace through spiritual discipline, but the majority of mankind is not privileged with this gift.

In our search for peace we need to dig deeper and establish the essential ingredients that provide inner peace to a human being.

There is need to enquire into what we as humans seek unto ourselves apart from the basic necessities for the sustenance of life. This is something that we share as a universal family, regardless of nationality, race, ethnicity, creed, cultural advancement, and/or developmental attainment.

I can only think of one factor that promotes feelings of self esteem and satisfaction within the human psyche. This thrives when one senses that they are valued and loved by those they associate and interact with. The level of fulfillment that radiant affection generates in humans is common across all strata of society, from the smallest homestead to the palace. It originates from the family and spreads to the community, nation, and the world.

The challenge that we face is to recognize the source of true love, combining parental, conjugal and fraternal love which can harmonize and bind us together.

The origin of love, life, and everything of pleasurable value is God, by whatever name he may be addressed and identified. Whether he be called Creator, Jehovah or Father He is the Anchor around which everything rotates.

It is on record that 20 million people die every year of starvation and malnutrition. This figure represents one and a half times the population of my country. These are statistics, and yet they are people who are buried by their beloved families amidst efforts by millions of other people to lose unnecessary weight.

Lack of basic education and health facilities, egoism, the loss of morals and ethics as well as ungodly attitudes are usually the cause of our misery. Yet we can not, without hesitation, pronounce that there are no resources to tackle and end these problems.

We can cast our minds to the level of expenditure that ensued in the Iraq war, the Middle-East conflict, the Sri Lankan civil war, Somalia crisis, and many more, and we note that a trillion United States dollars is smaller than this amount.

When we look at the amount of money that is now being channeled into resolving the economic crisis arising from the global economic meltdown, we can only marvel at our capacity as a world community to rise to the occasion and overcome enormous challenges whenever we have made up our minds to do so.

The time is now opportune for us to re-examine our motive for life with our origins and future in perspective. I do not advocate for free handouts, but if we are firm in our belief that God is the creator of all humanity then we are all interrelated as a brotherhood and sisterhood the world over. Problems of acute poverty, preventable disease, lack of education and social facilities can be resolved by managing our common resources within an awareness of humanity on this planet bequeathed to us by the creator.

A world of peace without God is untenable. The United Nations as a secular organization cannot fulfill its noble Millennium Development Goals without God.

We have to go beyond our limited consciousness and bring God’s love onto our families, then stretch out our hand and heart to the east and west, north and south to help and educate one another, making the world into a better place for all of us, as One Family Under God.