William P. Singley writes that for many of us, peace remains a vague reality.
William P. Singley
A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma… Winston Churchill on the USSR. London, 1939
Who doesn’t want peace? But is it a worn out buzz word of political correctness?
Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men/ Korea Peninsula Peace talks/ Smoke a peace pipe/ Oslo Peace Accords/ Peace in our time/ No Justice. No peace / Green Peace / And the little old lady at Christmas Mass who turns to her neighbor after holding hands for the Our Father and says, “Peace be with you.” And the neighbor responds, “ Also with you.”
There are so many types and styles and states of Peace the word is becoming almost meaningless. In fact, in some cases, it just might mean the opposite. Pax Romana for the Roman Empire meant it ruled the known civilized world at the time with a heavy boot. Peace raised its naive head after WWII in East Germany, the Congo, Greece, and across China and it didn’t work.
Peace remains a vague reality. The mystery and the enigma and the riddle, a rare moment in history. Isn’t one man’s peace another man’s prison? Peace in the world; it feels good to say it. What a concept! Few civilizations have tried it: The Magna Carta in the 13th Century. Hammurabi’s Code in the 18th Century. They were starting points that led to, particularly the English nation, internally and externally respecting individuals.
True peace is a comical concept; a sound of music world where everyone can dance and sing about snowflakes, work with their neighbors and other countries and everyone gets along.
Peace is rough and tough. A grind.
Examine the countries today who don’t want genuine peace. It is interesting to look at their policies dating back to the end of WWII and still today refuse to let their citizens have that rare tonic: an unfettered life where families can build futures and their children will never know hardships. (Maybe Scandinavian and New Zealand?)
Is there peace in the home of a battered child? A gang infested neighborhood? The real world is the battle-ridden Middle East, parts of Asia and Central and South America where families are being displaced, chased across continents to unfamiliar existences. Can anyone believe that If Israel was removed from the Middle East would there ever be peace in that area?
This is the holiday season and we are supposed to put on our best faces for our relatives and our futures. It can be hard to do given the current destruction of states and traditional ideologies, however if we bring it close to home, down to earth so to speak, among ourselves and our neighbors, our towns and cities maybe we can find, just for the moment, our own vision Peace and share it.
More than a few years ago, William Singley won the Samuel Goldwyn Literary Award at UCLA. Immediately afterward he spent a year in Vietnam taking photographs and writing stories about the First Brigade, 101st Airborne. He also served with 82nd Airborne His stories and photos were published worldwide and he earned a Bronze Star. He is the author of three novels, including Hook Up—a result of his military experiences. He raised a family close to the beach in Southern California where he resides today.