Hope for peace is difficult to have and even more difficult to maintain. This is especially true when throughout history we have been taught that war, domination, and destruction are the only ways to deal with conflict. “The Histories” by Herodotus and “The Peloponnesian War” by Thucydides are regarded as two of the greatest histories of all time and these stories give the impression that violence and war are inevitable and even desirable. Our history is full of stories and influences like these, yet ever since the beginning of war; there has been a cry for peace. With the fighters of war, come the empowered people for peace. There are many obstacles to overcome on the path to empowerment, ranging from constructed structures and apathy to the past and habit, but it can be done.
Robert Marks states, “We are born and raised under circumstances neither of our own choosing nor of our own making. In fact, the world we confront is composed of social, economic, political, and cultural structures.” (21) These structures have been constructed by the writers of history, the governments that make the rules, and the people’s collective recognition of these structures. The important idea to note is that the structures are created; they are not real. People have the capacity to change, bend, or break these structures. Kathy Kelly’s story of the military man offering her water though she had just broken the law is an example of these social structures being bent. He was in a position of power, she was intentionally breaking the rules their common government put in place, and yet their human connection proved more powerful and they shared a moment of compassion. These two people experienced a bit of modern life according to Berman. “To be modern is to live a life of paradox and contradiction. It is to be overpowered by the immense bureaucratic organizations that have the power to control and often to destroy all communities, values, lives; and yet to be undeterred in our determination to face these forces, to fight to change their world and make it our own.” (13)
Some of the biggest challenges to peace activists are uninformed people, misinformed people, and apathetic people. In order to achieve empowerment to act for peace, one needs to know on what to act and be passionate about the issues. An article in the “Left Business Observer” stated that “many people don’t want to know what goes on in the world. They’re aware on some level that their government does terrible things, but they’d rather not hear about it.” It goes on to say that it is not even apathy, but “an active desire not to know.” I agree with the article, but I also see a huge possibility for change. My father is a perfect example of why I have hope for all those who are apathetic. My father grew up in a conservative household, is registered as a republican, and he had no reason to stretch his comfortable life as a white, wealthy, American male. When his father died,...