We belong to each other Why should young people stand for peace?

We belong to each other Why should young people stand for peace?
In unity there is strength: Fourth National Youth Peace Festival 2013, Lahore
By Syed Mahmood Kazmi

By Syed Mahmood Kazmi

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that,” said Martin Luther King, Jr. I am inspired by his great struggle for peace and human rights. I believe though Peace can only be achieved without wars and by non-violent actions. It is time to abolish the concept of war that has already caused enough destruction and suffering.

Here, I want to share my story and how I got motivated to join peace campaigns. In 2005, I was the victim of massive earthquake in Pakistan. We lost our loved ones, and many were wounded. I saw numerous people around the world come to help us — selfless, brave and dedicated. Inspired by them, I joined Pakistan Red Crescent Society and underwent many training exercises.

As president of a youth network in my region I initiated environmental protection and youth advocacy programs. In 2009-2010, years where suicide bombings had paralysed normal life, I led Emergency Response Teams administering First Aid and search and rescue operations. I am now a trainer and Ambassador for Youth as Agents of Behavioural Change (YABC), a module of Red Cross Red Crescent aimed at reducing stigmas and discrimination and promoting collective action. I serve my community because I feel I owe it to them to play an active part for good.

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other,” as Mother Teresa so beautifully said. Peace can never be achieved until those living comfortably don’t feel the pain and sufferings of the poor.

According to the UNFPA, the world’s 1.8 billion youth comprise a quarter of the total population. This can be a great strength to drive out the darkness, undermine hatred and promote peace, if only we develop our inner self-compassion, empathy, mindfulness, humbleness, humanity, gratitude, courage and truthfulness. Young people can lead the nation to the heights of self-determination, integrity and courage. If the young people of any nation are lazy in working for positive change, then the foundations of the nations are ruined.

There some inspiring initiatives by young people, like Parinday: Indo-Pak Friendship (https://www.facebook.com/love. parinday), started by Hina Hazrat and Jatin Kataria in February 2012. This project continues, with young people sharing experiences and doing pilot activities. Such peace-building projects by young people from both countries can help eradicate hate and plant the peace and love in the hearts of youth of both countries.

Peace building is a term describing interventions designed to prevent the start or resumption of violent conflict by creating a sustainable peace. Peace building activities address the roots or potential causes of violence, create a societal expectation for peaceful conflict resolution and stabilize society politically and socioeconomically.

Let’s not only sit and wait for peace, let’s stand up for peace. Let’s join hands to resolve the world’s most disputed issues and give our coming generations a better place to live. For that we need to play our roles positively, share the pain and grief of fellow human beings, serve humanity and challenge hatred and enmity. Let’s stand for the education, empowerment and prosperity of all the people in this world.

The writer is a Youth Parliamentarian at Youth Parliament of Pakistan and Intern at Friendship Ambassadors Foundation. Twitter @SMahmoodKazmi blog: www.syedmahmoodkazmi.wordpress.com

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