Peace in the Midst of War

Even facing increasingly dangerous levels of violence in their country, Afghans are as vocal as ever in their desire for peace. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reports on the incredible enthusiasm with which the Afghan people are preparing for the upcoming International Day of Peace.

“The aim is to give voice to those who want peace in this country,” UNAMA spokesperson Adrian Edwards told a news conference in Kabul today. “And what we are seeing is that the demand for peace is overwhelming.”

He said the scale of events being planned for this year’s celebration of Peace Day, marked annually on 21 September, is “unprecedented” and involves citizens, educational institutions, businesses and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as UN agencies.

“In contrast to the conflict and violence around us, the peace campaign in Afghanistan in 2008 is potentially the biggest this country has seen,” Mr. Edwards stated.

Celebrating peace won’t change the reality on the ground by itself, of course, but this level of popular commitment is by no means insignificant, particularly when it comes to winning the “hearts and minds” campaign that Mark alluded to earlier. And it’s reports like these that remind me that the goal in Afghanistan should not be so much winning a war as winning a peace.