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Generation Grand Lacs celebrates Peace Day
an article by Nicolas Gatambi , Search for Common Ground Rwanda (abridged)

Each year, on September 21st, the whole world observes International Day of Peace. This time all eyes were on Goma, Eastern DRC, where a big concert, headlined by internationally renowned artist Akon, marked the peak of celebrations. On that occasion we produced a special GGL program from Mishapivoice TV/Goma, streamed live online. The program was co-hosted by Rwandan and Congolese journalists, and for the first time it was also broadcast on both radio and TV.

click on photo to enlarge

As guests in the studio, we received Jeremy Gilley, actor, filmmaker and founder of Peace One Day; British actor Jude Law; and Congolese singer Dety Darba.

Listeners called the studio and wrote on our Facebook page, sharing what Peace Day represents for them, what the challenges to peace are and what can be done to achieve it in the Great Lakes region.

“We mustn’t just celebrate peace. We need to live peace. What is a single day of celebrations? We should reflect about peace every day, and think about those who are hurt”, said Robert from Ruzizi, South Kivu.

“Peace Day means a lot to me. We have lived for a longtime in tribalism, war, and conflicts. It is good to celebrate peace”, said Martin from Gisenyi, Rwanda.

For Jeremy Gilley, the greatest obstacles in the way of peace are apathy, cynicism, and lack of belief. “Individuals don’t believe that they can make a difference. They assume that their voices don’t count and their actions don’t matter. This is a great obstacle to achieving peace in our times”, he said.

On Facebook, Iradukunda Josine from Kigali said that Peace Day should inspire in us the courage we need for reconciliation. “When we invite peace we build the future and the dignity of the country. Especially us, the youth, must work towards peace”, said Josine.

According to another listener from Kigali, “Our governments must organize cultural exchanges, so that peace can become a shared value in our region. We grow up thinking that Congolese or Rwandans are evil. We feed the hatred, and then there is no real communication between us. All this must stop”.

For another listener from Bujumbura, “To promote peace in the Great Lakes we have to eradicate poverty, because where there is poverty there is war. We also need good mutual understanding between our leaders; they should not only be interested in power, but also in what they will do while they are in power “.

Actor Jude Law stressed that “there’s many ways we can spread the message of peace: film, sports, gatherings… All of these are a projection of something positive. We have to shed light on positive actions around the world. We live in an era where, for some reason, media intensely concentrate their efforts on the negative”.

Mr. Gilley stated that GGL is an important initiative that “sends a strong message of unity and inspires the youth of the region”. . .


Question(s) related to this article:

How are you celebrating Peace Day?,

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Latest reader comment:

It is difficult to find extensive listings of the many events celebrating the International Day of Peace around the world.  An exception is the United Religions Initiative which lists events for the IDP 2014 by their affiliates in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bulgaria, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, United States and the Philippines.

This report was posted on October 14, 2014.