Northwest NEWS

December 27, 1999


Guest Editorial

Celebrate the millennium with a purpose: a gathering for peace

   The turn of the century and the beginning of the millennium is an important marker in human affairs. As with other markers--birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, holidays, etc.--both celebration and reflection on what has been and hopes for the future occur.

   The start of the millennium means many different things to different people, but a desire for peace is something the vast majority of people share. Indeed, civilization depends on avoiding a nuclear war, and the great majority of positive human accomplishments depend on there being peace and order.

   Celebrate Peace 2000 is a celebration of the turn of the century and millennium, which includes both celebration and fascinating reflections on the state of peace at this time. It will be held January 1, 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., at the Garfield Community Center, 23rd and Cherry, Seattle. In a festive atmosphere, there will be a presentation of a overview of the innovations in the areas of personal peace, family peace, community peace, and world peace.

   People are more aware of the dire consquences of violence in the home, the school, the community, and the world (where religious and ethnic conflict have led to "ethnic cleansing"). Fortunately, we understand most of the causes for violence and have developed a number of tools, which if used could lead to basic overall peace.

   The UN has declared this year as the International Year for the Culture of Peace. This calls for a basic shift in approach to human problems from an adversarial approach (win-lose), which uses force, violence, deception, and trickery to win (degrading and defeating the enemy), to an approach where one respects one's adversaries, attempts to understand their position, and commits to engage with them to find a mutually satisfactory solution to the problem (a win-win solution). If people can understand and utilize this concept, it can have a profound effect on all levels of human interaction.

   Representatives of over 20 public and voluntary agencies will give brief overviews of the issues and innovations in their areas of interest and plans for the future. Presentations will be interspersed with music and skits to aid in the digestion of this rich fare. There will be a second room where some of the issues will be presented in greater length for those who are interested.

   Also, all interested peace-related groups have been invited to have tables where they can distribute information and answer questions. There will be activities for the children and roaming entertainers to provide for a festive atmosphere. This phase of the program will be from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. After that, there will be more music and dancing, with some select presentations between sets.

   We feel this is a truly unique celebration worthy of the millennium. It provides a fantastic overview of peace--personal, family, community--and world peace, and presents the tools which can lead to peace. While the subject matter is profoundly important, music, skits and a general festive atmosphere make it pleasant and easier to learn. The evening will be more celebration with bands and dancing and a few presentations. Learning with fun! What could be better?

   From 2 to 4 p.m. there will be an overview of peace at the turn of the century with brief presentations and visions for the future by the local people who are making it happen. Afternoon events include children's activities, music, entertainment, and booths by peace, religious, and ethnic groups concerned about peace. Meet the people who are doing the work and making innovations. Get more information about their groups and maybe sign up for some fascinating volunteer work.

   Primary sponsors are the King County Branch of Zones of Peace International Foundation, Church Council of Greater Seattle, Peace Action of Washington, and the Center for International Dialogue.

   For information, call Peace Action at 206-527-8050.