John R. Hawkins III
Whether Black on Black street violence, the fighting in Palestine over existence and the occupation of land, sabre rattling by Russia, China or North Korea or the ever present threat and use of terrorism, the one gift we all wish we could have is “…peace on earth; goodwill toward Men,” as stated in the King James Bible and expressed in most holy books. The Quran states clearly at 25:63, “…the worshippers of the All-Merciful are they who tread gently upon the earth, and when the ignorant address them, they reply: Peace!”
This thing we call peace, like all other worthy gifts, comes from hard work. We all have heard the saying that “…freedom is not free;” well from my foxhole, peace is not easy to obtain and even harder to sustain – and it is only worth the toil and trouble if sustained. If not sustained peace is only a respite from enhanced hostilities.
Whether we are concerned about community violence in America or international violence in the Middle-East, one thing is clear: the acts of violence achieve nothing. Rather, conversation and a meeting of the minds is what leads to the cessation of hostilities. Such conversations are not easily undertaken and often are even more difficult to pursue through to a mutually satisfactory outcome.
Peace takes work. Hard-thoughtful planning and commitment; not quick sound bites such as those heard recently about fueling an enhanced arms race (I say enhanced because to say “new” implies, such a race does not currently exist; and from my foxhole it quietly has existed and exists right now ever since the firing of the first atomic bomb in July 1945 in Alamogordo, NM.)
Making peace is something we all can do. Whether it is working with organizations in our communities to stop the violence or making it clear that saber-rattling by national leaders will not be tolerated, there are actions we can, in fact we must, undertake for the good of those we love. Whether it means you work prevent street violence with groups such as the “Hampton U/ Howard U. Promise Program,” which aims to end violence among and between young Black males, or contributing to your favorite international cause, like it or not, we are the answer, not someone else. This is our problem to fix. We must own it and go about doing our part to achieve and sustain this wonderful state of being called peace.
From my foxhole, being at peace also means that one must be well (not to be confused with in perfect health). You can contribute to peace on many fronts. You may wish to take the time to ensure that local political leaders use your tax dollars to enhance the delivery of mental healthcare, behavioral healthcare and physical healthcare in environments conducive to improving one’s well-being. You may choose to ensure elected officials, government workers and community groups work diligently for the betterment of those needing services. You may perform mentoring or counseling services to the youth of today to let them know that there are ways of resolving differences other than killing each other and ways to be successful and then help them realize that goodness.
From my foxhole, I am going to do all I can to help bring and sustain peace. Aren’t you?
Maj Gen US Army (ret) John R. Hawkins III, JD, MPA is President and CEO of Hawkins Solutions Intl., a government relations and lobby company. His last military assignment as a “two star” was Dir., Human Resources Directorate for the Army world-wide and prior to that Deputy Chief Public Affairs for the Army, world-wide.