Peace One Day: Go that extra mile for Peace in Afghanistan
13 September 2009 - The people of Afghanistan are once again being urged to take the world lead for this year’s International Day of Peace on 21 September.
Speaking to UNAMA in London Jeremy Gilley, Founder of the organization Peace One Day, said: “This day is beyond symbolism and if it can happen in Afghanistan it can happen anywhere.”
Since 1999 Peace One Day has campaigned for the International Day of Peace to be observed on 21 September each year.
A subsequent United Nations General Assembly Resolution in 2001 noted the Day shall “be observed as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence, an invitation to all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities for the duration of the Day.”
Mr Gilley has travelled to Afghanistan on three occasions to document peace efforts with Peace One Day Ambassador and film star Jude Law.
“Afghanistan, its people, the country, was like oxygen to me,” said Mr Gilley.
The film The Day After Peace was launched in 2008 at the Cannes Film Festival and charts the efforts for Peace Day across the world with a special focus on Afghanistan.
Among other activities across the world this year, Peace One Day is holding a major concert in Paris and has organized football matches to take place in 185 members states of the UN; in the final week leading up to Peace Day organizations and individuals in seven countries still have to be contacted.
Mr Gilley recalled his previous visits to Afghanistan when a ceasefire was achieved and more than a million children vaccinated against polio: “It was the greatest thing that could ever have happened…for the cynics that don’t believe peace is possible.”
After events in Afghanistan Mr Gilley said “the cynics had nothing else to say.”
“The Day worked, it saved people’s lives, it brings people together, it inspires and empowers, it builds bridges, it creates dialogue,” he added.
Reflecting on the current situation in Afghanistan Mr Gilley said: “We need to really show that “yes we are in a difficult situation” but that doesn’t mean to say we can’t pause and reflect for a moment to break the cycle…we must go that extra mile particularly with the current situation.”
Peace One Day is aiming to make more than 3 billion people in the world aware of the day by 2012.
Mr Gilley said: “I want to believe in peace. I want to believe peace is possible and I want everyone else to, particularly young people.”
By Dominic Medley, UNAMA