The desirable peace

   War is a too commonplace scene around the world. Some of us have been spared, even though the mass media bring closer this remoteness, which hurts those who live there, but images on a full stomach are always painless.

   As it happens most of the time, for good and for bad things, a minority will push a majority. The passions moving a few will lead many others to take up arms and devastate everything in their way, without distinguishing between fighters or simple citizens. Women and children get the worst of it in wars, whose underlying reason they never get to understand clearly, and which seem to have no end.

   And when peace arrives, if really at all, not everything is over yet. As spectators, it may seem to us that peace simply arrives when there are no more warfare news on TV, when the demonstrations of a people harassed by cold, famine, and the militia’s submachine guns stop hitting the headlines; but peace needs to settle down in daily life. Just like when there is a catastrophe, the worst may be about to happen.

   I remember a painting by Van Gogh, in which a crouching father waits with open arms for the first steps of a small child being held by its mother, his wife. The scene background is half a family garden and half an orchard. A true symbol of that peace we all long for, and which seems so hard to find, not only around the world, but also within our own families, or the inner peace of the inhabitants of a world which keeps chasing after who knows what.

   Peace requires coming back home, rebuilding houses and, above all, mending hearts. Peace is not only a fireplace burning under a roof; it is also enjoying peace of mind, not feeling hatred for others, forgetting grudges against your neighbor, and seeing a hopeful future. That peace of heart requires patience and support. Such peace is likely to be achieved only by children, since it will not be easy for adults to forget how much they have suffered, to forget those who have lost their lives along the way, those who cannot come back anymore.

   We ourselves, our ancestors, have already gone through all of this, and it seemed as if the children we were then had actually found the necessary peace. Certainly our parents, active players in suffering, knew how to go on, leaving grudges on their way as shreds of life.

   But, as usual, a few want to move many to rekindle hatred and resentment, to open old, healed wounds.
Agustín Pérez


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