Promoting a Day of Nonviolence and Peace

In Britain we now have Armed Forces Day, but no specific day to mark or encourage peaceful conflict resolution or transformation.

Similarly, churches have historically had military chaplains, but they do not provide official chaplaincy to 'peace forces' and nonviolent initiatives.

This is something which needs turning around. A useful prompt for a different way of proceeding can be found today (30 January 2014) in Spain and in many other parts of the world.

The School Day of Non-violence and Peace (DENIP, acronym from Catalan-Balearic: Dia Escolar de la No-violència i la Pau) was founded in 1964 as a grassroots initiative which has begun to attract more official support and involvement.

DENIP is also known as World or International Day of Non-violence and Peace, and has been described as "a pioneering, non-state, non-governmental, non-official, independent, free and voluntary initiative of non-violent and peace education.

It is now put into action by schools in different parts of the the world, as well as Spain and the Basque country. Centres of education, teachers and students of all levels are invited to take part.

The Day "advocates a permanent education in and for harmony, tolerance, solidarity, respect for human rights, non-violence and peace."

As Howard Zinn, the late American historian, author, playwright, and social activist once observed: "What we choose to emphasise in this complex history will determine our lives... The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory."

This correlates with the Christian call to create moral communities of resistance and hope.

30 January is the anniversary of the death of Mahatma Gandhi. In countries with a Southern Hemisphere school calendar, it can be observed on 30 March or thereabouts.

* DENIP: http://denip.webcindario.com/denip.english.html

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© Simon Barrow is co-director of Ekklesia. Follow him on Twitter: @simonbarrow

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