“This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace on Earth.’
Since 1981, International Peace Day has been observed across the world on the 21st of September, uniting millions of people from around the globe. Its aim for non-violence and ceasefire is and will continue to be a constant struggle. It is indeed a harsh reality that millions of people struggle to survive on a daily basis, most recently illustrated by the horrors in Syria and Iraq. Growing up in a peaceful environment is indeed something most of us take for granted and do not give much consideration to.
However, the importance of this day cannot be understated. Because of the global drive for complete peace on one day we have seen multiple success stories. In 2002, for example, the Taliban agreed to stop all fighting in Afghanistan. As a result of this unprecedented action, millions of young children were vaccinated against potentially fatal diseases like polio and cholera.
In the week building up to Peace Day, the Peace Day Organising Committee, consisting of Sixth Form students led by Ms Al Hammoud, Head of Year 12, planned a number of activities to raise awareness about the day. The committee delivered assemblies for each Year group where they presented the achievements and relevance of Peace Day. Also, Peace Poem and Peace Logo competitions were held. Moreover, a mural peace painting was formed by finger prints of students from all Year groups in the Senior School, intended to be a symbol of St Christopher’s commitment to a peaceful world.
On the day, Sixth Form students were invited to wear the Peace Day T-shirt adorned with the winning logo, created by Nayla Al Khalifa in Year 13. They also assembled together for an aerial photo where they formed the word ‘PAIX’ (Peace in French). During break-time, a friendly game of Volleyball took place between staff and students which resulted in a peaceful draw. In addition, two representatives from each form were invited to participate in the Peace Day quiz which included 20 questions related to peace. Whilst the quiz was taking place, members of staff and students were engaged in folding origami paper cranes to commemorate Sadako Sasaki, an important figure of peace. The peace cranes were presented around the Peace Pole.
A Short Summary of the Story of Sadako Sasaki:
Sadako Sasaki was a child during the dropping of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima, and suffered with her health due to the impact. On the notice that she had a short while left to live, she spent her time following the Japanese legend that if one were to fold 1000 paper cranes they were granted a wish. Sadako’s friends and family continued folding even after Sadako’s death. Sadako and her cranes became a symbol of hope and peace around the world. In Japan, a statue of her and a paper crane stands with a plaque reading ‘This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace on Earth.’, to remember the impacts of war.
To conclude the day, Amelie Winwood from Year 7 read the winning peace poem followed by a minute of silence observed by the entire school at 12 o’clock. The winning poem can be found below:
Why war, not peace?
Faster than trains,
Faster than rains,
Moving on one by one.
Lots of bodies,
Is there need for war?
Need for killing,
The sky filling,
Up with light above a steeple?
Peace means no war,
At least it does to me,
It means countries are friends,
Tied together like a tree,
Fractured societies it mends,
Binding together ruined countries.
Finding peace means finding a reason for no war,
Holding hands and helping others,
Peace means being happy and content,
Looking after others like mothers,
With a caring intent,
Is there really need for war?
We sincerely hope our efforts were fruitful in promoting our vision of global peace. Throughout this week, students were exposed to the awful surroundings millions of their counterparts grow up in around the world. While going to school is something we accept as normal, young children are literally fighting to live. We can only hope that one day there is peace on Earth. ~ By Dana Tartir and Rushil Puri