Monday, November 14, 2011

My story of inspiration

Peace essay

A while ago I found this competition where you had to write a peace essay ("My story of Inspiration"). The competition is now over and the winners announced, but I thought I would still share the essay that i sent in.
For more information and more essays, check out:

A game called Peace-War-Peace

The day when I really realized I wanted to change the world, and make it a better place, was a summer-day and I was 11 years old. Of course I knew about war, destruction and disasters before that. But it wasn’t until I tried it myself that I began to understand, just how much world-peace means.
I was at a summer-camp for 11 years old, from all over the world. It was hosted in Canada, by the organization CISV (an organization working to create peace by “building global friendship”)

We played games and spent a lot of the time debriefing. It was the experience that changed me, and the way I look at the world.
One day we parted in to small groups, and the leaders told us to build our very own city, using whatever materials we could find. If I close my eyes, I can still clearly see the city I helped to build. There was a forest on one side – made of real leaves, small branches and flowers – and on the other side a beautiful beach. And in between lay our little, very own city.
My group used a lot of time discussing and arguing, but we all agreed at last. A hospital was build. A bright red box with big clumsy letters in black paint that read: “School”. A whole bunch of yoghurt cups served as houses for our imaginary citizens, and we were all truly proud of what we had produced.

All groups were invited to go see the other groups’ cities. I remember that I was impressed by a lot of them, and we were still walking around looking, when suddenly a war began. It came as a lightning from a blue sky. No one seemed to know how or why it had started. But people kicked and smashed the cardboard boxes, and stamped the fine paper houses.
When someone saw their city destroyed, they did what we humans do so often. They were seeking revenge. First I just stood there paralyzed. Then I ran to my city, but it was too late. Most of it was already destroyed.
There was one city left – our neighbors. Their buildings still stood so proud on the brown paper-substrate. That group and some of the other kids – inclusive me and most of my group – made a circle around the surviving city, and tried to hold the rest of them out. I remember thinking that it was so unfair that it wasn’t our city we were standing around, but my revenge wouldn’t be to destroy more. It would be to prevent the destroying to go on. And we actually made it; we saved the last city.

We were then told by the leaders to build up our city. But we only got 10 minutes to build up what we had spent hours creating. The “surviving” group helped the rest of us clean up the mess, as a way of saying thank you.
A lot of people cried. I probably did as well. Afterwards people realized that what they had done was stupid. If we had stopped it at first, only a little bit had been damaged. And after all, we were just kids, and sad that our masterpieces were destroyed.

During that game and that debriefing, something inside me changed. My way to see the world. The way I saw problems and their solutions. I realized, that to make this world a good place to grow up, and a nice place to live, we all have to work together. And even though we don’t feel like we owe people anything, we should help them. Because we ourselves, sometimes needs a helping hand. So let’s all work together and make this, a place to be proud of. Whether it is yoghurt cups, my brick house or something completely different – it should be a place of peace.
Thanks for taking the time to read this! And please comment if you have any questions or thoughts!

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