What Ordinary People Can Do for World Peace


This morning I watched “Democracy Now” as I do each day. All this week, the best news program on air will be broadcast from the Netherlands. There the show’s host, Amy Goodman, will be at the Hague, where she’s attending a World Forum celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Women’s League for Peace and Freedom.

Today’s program featured interviews with three women peace activists and Nobel Peace laureates: Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland, Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, and Jody Williams of the U.S.  Mairead Maguire received her prize for her actions to end the conflict in her country. Leymah Gbowee was given the Nobel award for her leadership in a women’s movement that brought down dictator, Charles Taylor in Liberia, and saw him sentenced to 50 years in prison. Jody Williams’ prize resulted from her work in an international campaign to ban landmines.

All three women were entirely inspiring as they showed how ordinary people like you and me can change the world if we organize and stay for the long haul  in the struggle for peace.

Their interviews led me to think:

What is Peace?

I recently heard repeated

(In a sermon)

The bromide that

Peace is “not just absence of war.”

That’s right (I suppose) as far as it goes,

But peace is more than that.

It is indeed “not just the absence of war.”

But absence of war without its causes,

Injustice and inequality.

Peace is absence of war

With obscene poverty and income gaps



That’s the goal.

The question is

What will I do

For peace, justice, and equality


Published by

Mike Rivage-Seul's Blog

Emeritus professor of Peace & Social Justice Studies. Liberation theologian. Activist. Former R.C. priest. Married for 45 years. Three grown children. Six grandchildren.

One thought on “What Ordinary People Can Do for World Peace”

  1. One of my grown kids sent me a link to TEDTalks: “Why We Do What We Do”.
    Agree or disagree, Robbins provides points for possible discussion: What motivates you?
    Possibilities include people who kill, or who are angry all the time (which is part of war).
    I was glad I watched it. In case you’re interested:


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