UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

Dreaming a new world

International Peace Day

By Carolyn Pogue

First we dream of a new world of peace and beauty; then we create it. In Mumbai, Jerusalem and St. John’s, N.L., the dream is taking form.

In the late 1990s, at a conference in Mumbai exploring how women build peace, I met creative storyteller Marguerite Theophil. At the time, I was on the Women’s Interfaith Journey sponsored by The United Church of Canada and the Henry Martyn Interfaith Institute in Hyderabad, India. Marguerite introduced me to other peace-minded people in New Zealand and Europe, Africa and North America because she spins webs to connect peacebuilders.

Marguerite has a doctorate in sacred architecture and is the author of Uniting Heaven and Earth: The Transformative Power of Story. Her blog, “Peace, like a poem” appears regularly online and in the Times of India’s website. She creates workshops bringing people together across ethnic and religious divides, and she founded WEAVE: Woman Earth And Vital Encounter, a network exploring the influence of story, symbols, sacred space, myth, dream and image in our lives.

At a Women in Black vigil in Jerusalem, I met Gila Svirsky, an activist who writes about peacebuilding in Israel. Gila, who has written the history of the Women in Black movement, combines strength and softness, anger and hope. In the past few weeks, “tent cities” sprung up around Israel to protest unaffordable housing costs. Gila wants people to understand that large military budgets mean less money for social programs.

On the weekend of Sept. 11, tents also sprang up in downtown St. John’s as Médecins sans Frontières / Doctors without Borders erected a “Refugee Camp in the Heart of the City.” My husband Bill and I toured the outdoor walk-through exhibit that shows what MSF does around the world for the 43 million refugees and internally displaced people uprooted by war and conflict.

Juliet Donald, a clinical psychologist from Australia, explained crucial elements of a camp and told of her experiences, most recently in Libya. Next week, the camp moves to Moncton, N.B., then Halifax and Quebec City.

These three peacebuilders — working in different ways, in different parts of our small planet — gave  me cause to celebrate International Peace Day on September 21. That day, the Japanese Peace Bell, inscribed with “Long live absolute world peace,” rang out at the United Nations in New York City. I imagined the sound and offered thanks for peacemakers everywhere.



Author's photo
Carolyn Pogue is a longtime Observer contributor. New posts of The Pogue Blog will appear on the first and third Thursday of the month. For more information on Carolyn Pogue, visit www.carolynpogue.ca..
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!

Announcement

New Observer editor and CEO, Jocelyn Bell. Photo by Lindsay Palmer

New editor named

by Observer Staff

Promotional Image

Editorials

David Wilson%

Observations

by David Wilson

A perfect send-off

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: My Year of Living Spiritually

by Observer Staff

Anne Bokma left the Dutch Reformed Church as a young adult and eventually became a member of the United Church and then the Unitarian Universalists. Having long explored the "spiritual but not religious" demographic as a writer, she decided to immerse herself in practices — like hiring a soul coach, secular choir-singing and forest bathing — for 12 months to find both enlightenment and entertainment.

Promotional Image

Society

November 2017

Trump country

by David Macfarlane

A northern Alabama county voted almost unanimously for Donald Trump in 2016. One year later, the writer, together with photographer Nigel Dickson, travels there to try to understand why.

Faith

November 2017

Involuntary pilgrim

by David Giuliano

The return of a tumour sets David Giuliano on a path he calls his ‘Camino de Cancer’

Faith

October 2017

A tale of two cancers

by Catherine Gordon

One year after the writer discovered she had breast cancer, her sister in California received the same diagnosis. They both recovered, but their experiences were worlds apart.

Society

November 2017

Trump country

by David Macfarlane

A northern Alabama county voted almost unanimously for Donald Trump in 2016. One year later, the writer, together with photographer Nigel Dickson, travels there to try to understand why.

Faith

November 2017

Involuntary pilgrim

by David Giuliano

The return of a tumour sets David Giuliano on a path he calls his ‘Camino de Cancer’

Faith

November 2017

Grey matter

by Trisha Elliott

Is consciousness just a function of the brain — or something more?

Promotional Image