Give peace a chance, through action

Sonali Kudva

Facebook cooperates with the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University to promote world peace. A result of this cooperation is This is a site that shows connections between bitterly divided factions who usually dwell on two sides of a border.

This is Facebook’s own little way, it claims, of promoting world peace. If this were as easy as “friending” someone through a social network, the world would be a less complicated place. Bitterly divided factions have not historically found peace through the average citizen by reaching out to another such citizen on the street via a social network, or even through the time-honored tradition of pen pals.

It may also have escaped the people who believe they are promoting world peace through Facebook that war-torn, conflict-ridden places and the people who inhabit them usually do not indulge in pastimes like Facebook.

Perhaps instead, the move that President Barack Obama has recently orchestrated that makes it a federal hate crime when violence is committed based on someone’s gender, national identity, sexual orientation or disability is far more likely to promote some level of world peace.

Sometimes legal subjugation is the only outlet that paves the way for peaceful silence. Perhaps today, somebody like Mahatma Gandhi would no longer be as relevant as he was then. Peaceful non-cooperation has not worked for the people of Tibet; it has not worked thus far for the children who continue to die in many war-torn parts of the world.

What would work in today’s scenario is more of the same kind of legal battles to prevent more conflicts from taking place. When it becomes illegal to hate, we may learn to tolerate. And if we learn to tolerate, perhaps we can, in time, learn to get along and maybe like one another.

I believe we need more affirmative action for the promotion of peace in these troubled times. A mere “friending” of someone on Facebook is not enough. Being a silent member of a group that promotes the ideology of peace is not enough. It is action that has thus far brought peace when conflict was tearing people apart.

This is not a tirade against Facebook – the time we spend on it and the time we do not spend walking around and actually witnessing reality rather than “tweeting” about it. Like everybody else, I do the same. But maybe it’s time we dressed up and went out and actually did something.

Maybe it’s time we moved toward more action and less talk and Facebooking.

Sonali Kudva is a graduate journalism student and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].