Someday we must take seriously the words of Carl Sandburg: “Someday there will be a war, and no one will come.” Won’t that be beautiful? Someday there will be a “war” but no one will come. And of course, if no one comes there will be no war. And we don’t have to go, we don’t have to have war, but it seems to take more courage to say NO to war than to say YES, and perhaps we women have for too long encouraged the idea that it is brave and manly to go to war, often to “defend” women and children. Let women everywhere from this day on encourage men to have the courage not to turn up for war, not to work for a militarized world but a world of peace, a nonviolent world.
To begin to have that kind of real courage, people must begin to breach the barriers which divide them. We are divided on the surface of this planet, by physical barriers, emotional barriers, ideological barriers, barriers of prejudice and hatreds of every kind.
The whole world watched a few weeks ago as President Sadat went directly to Israel to make peace. For years, the superpowers have been involved, at everyone’s risk in the Middle East. Yet as we watched the Russians parade their deadly missiles and the Americans proceed with the development of the Neutron bomb, the leader of one of the warring nations went directly on a mission of peace, bypassing the superpowers. What was beautiful about that Sadat mission, was not the specific outcome, but the fact that Sadat recognized that the problem was 70 percent, as he said himself, “psychological.” The problem of war everywhere is mainly psychological... it comes from fear, mistrust, suspicion, a persecution complex; and President Sadat, while he might yet go to war over the thirty percent difference between himself and the Israelis and the other Middle East nations, he was at least prepared to breach that all-important psychological barrier.
We as Peace People go much further: we believe in taking down the barriers, but we also believe in the most energetic reconciliation among peoples by getting them to know each other, talk each other’s languages, understand each other’s fears and beliefs, getting to know each other physically, philosophically and spiritually. It is much harder to kill your near neighbor than the thousands of unknown and hostile aliens at the other end of a nuclear missile. We have to create a world in which there are no unknown, hostile aliens at the other end of any missiles, and that is going to take a tremendous amount of sheer hard work.