A Peace Trajectory
By Dr. Brenda Wall
“For his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
In a few weeks there will be a celebration of peace on earth and goodwill toward all. For a few hours, some will find the message of peace to be palpable and will lament the fleeting nature of its apprehension. But this year, we have a head start. With President Barack Obama named this year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate, we find many absorbed in both personal and public gratitude for recognition of the momentous work that has begun to unfold. There is an easy return to the vision, almost as if such re-acquaintance will further prepare us for the rigors of the journey that we have undertaken. A global community embraces the emerging work of the peacemaker in our midst. We can see the trajectory better than some, because we are interwoven in the layers of change and the shift in perspective. We were there.
When the work of the civil rights era brought Nobel recognition to the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. a quarter of a century ago, the eyes of the world saw the racial injustice and the sacrifices that resulted in social transformation. No cosmic coincidence that the national holiday honoring Dr. King fell on the eve of the historic new era made possible by a foundational cooperation between peoples, many of whom made the pilgrimage to be a part of the inauguration of President Obama. From the millions that gathered at the capitol to witness the drum major’s civil rights baton being passed to a new visionary for human rights and tolerance to those across the globe who claimed their brother and son in victory over the status quo, new alliances were evident.
Not everybody can see the rays of peace. They continue to look in the old places. New bonds between peoples cannot be easily seen in political agendas– not even in healthcare or economic stimulus. It can be seen, however, in a president’s eloquent statesmanship, if you listen to what he says. More than presidential charisma, it can be seen in caring and respect for people, who have previously been dismissed as unimportant, invisible and superfluous. These peoples, whether African American, poor or veiled, have seen new alliances mobilized for change. Global parallels can likewise be seen across the planet, where hope in America brings possibility for peace in places where oppression is most debilitating. Rays of peace can even be seen in the unreadiness of others who are still waiting for military victory or money in the bank. Peace does not require such accomplishment. Ask Ralph Bunche or Rigoberto Menchu or all those peacemakers who have sacrificed for meaningful empowerment.
The world can see the trajectory of the vision cast by President Barack Obama and so can we. For those who are lost in the debate of his worthiness of the tribute, at least, they are beginning a discussion on an aspect of world peace. That may be as close as they get. Regrettably, not everyone is interested in achieving the reality of peace on earth. Nonetheless, the trajectory of peace has been established, recognized and honored. Congratulations, Mr. President.