It was the fall season, and the weather was chilly and windy. I was waiting for the bus with many people, including a middle-aged African-American woman. When I sneezed, she said, “Bless you, dear.”
I thanked her. She asked me, “Where are you from?”
I said, “I am from the Middle East.”
“Which language do you use there?”
She smiled and then asked me to wait. She was carrying a very big purse, and she searched it for a minute until she pulled out a thick black book and quickly looked for the right page. Then she gave it to me and asked me to read it. The page she asked me to read was written in Arabic. I will never forget the first sentence: “Dear brother or sister, I do not know you, I do not know your language, and I do not know if we will meet again, but if I know something, I know I respect you, and we are equal, looking for one goal — that is world peace.”
Because of this delightful lady and her book, questions came to my mind. I asked myself, “Can we have world peace for real someday? Is it even possible to happen? If it is possible, how we can make it happen?” Finding the answers to these questions was not easy, but today here I am, writing about world peace and how we can make it happen because I do believe it is possible, achievable and worthwhile.
First, let me define it. According to most, “world peace” is an idea of freedom, peace and happiness among and with all nations and their people. It is an idea of nonviolence and brotherhood and sisterhood, living in extended peace and companionship. My belief in the possibility of world peace is based in the basic natural tendencies of human beings throughout history. Many studies show that all people are genetically born to be good and that no one is born a criminal or a killer.
In addition, we have had great examples throughout history of people who lived their lives for world peace and died for it — people like Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., the Prophet Muhammad, and many others. These people were different in almost everything — religion, culture, race and time period — but they all spoke the language of world peace and had the same spirit and courage to work for it. These people passed away a long time ago, but their ideas still live in people’s minds and hearts. Perhaps by now many of you think, “If we had such great leaders of world peace, why don’t we have it right now?” This question actually leads me to the next point — how can we live this dream?
We may have had great world peace heroes during the past, but we lacked a working process that requires all of us to work on it. World peace can be a difficult maze for many, but for me it is neither difficult nor easy. I believe we can spread it by a smile or good deeds. We can do it by making a small effort and acting with kindness and appreciation. By not judging or stereotyping people, we can do it. By charity and thinking of others as we think of ourselves, we can do it. By believing that we are one and that we have the same color inside regardless of the color of our skin, we can do it. By believing that our differences give us a great opportunity to explore new things, we can do it. By admitting that when one person dies all humanity suffers, regardless of the dead person’s religion or nation, we can do it. Living in peace, sharing a big heart and working as one hand is the best thing that can happen to us.
As I will never forget the first line from the aforementioned woman’s book, I will never forget the last thing she said to me. Before she left, when I told her that it was a pleasure to meet her, she said, “Dear, you just made my day.”
I smiled and told her that we will have world peace someday because we have people like her, and then she even smiled bigger than I did, shook her head and said, “Like us, people like us.”
Yes, now I strongly believe in world peace, and I think we are able to make it true by hard work and strong beliefs in humanity. I could not end my message better than by repeating that wise lady’s words “Yes we will have world peace one day because the world has people like us.” All of us!
Hanan Hafiz is a student at Drexel University. She can be contacted at [email protected].