Davis: International peace is possible

Imagine a day of peace on Earth. Literally, imagine a day when the various warring factions on our little blue-green planet say to each other, "Let's not fight today." Then, imagine it works. Luckily, Sunday was nearly that day. Monday wasn't, but Sunday was, and that's what matters. According to the Associated Press, the Taliban, the United States, the United Nations, the Afghan government and some of the insurgent groups in Iraq all decided that, in honor of International Peace Day, there would be no fighting. There were small rogue attacks and a spillover battle (you can't stop battles right in the middle), but for the most part, there was peace.

My question to the world then is why can't every day be International Peace Day? Why can't we have, say, International Peace Year? Maybe International Peace Eternity?

Why do we need to fight over things? Yes, everyone knows the reasons why wars happen, be they economic, political, religious or idealistic. The question, though, is why do any of these reasons give people an excuse to kill other people?

If a Christian goes out and kills a Muslim tomorrow, he will be prosecuted for murder. If a businessman kills a rival, that's murder. If your neighbor wrongs you and you take your revenge by taking his life, you've committed murder. Why, then, when nations send hundreds and thousands of soldiers to kill each other is it not considered murder on a grand scale?

We've proven, on Sunday, that peace is possible. It's been proven before: the Civil War stopped for Christmas, and Germans and Americans exchanged gifts on the battlefields when Christmas came to World War II. It seems that, really, people don't want to fight each other. We want our beliefs to endure, we want to be left to our own devices, but we don't want to kill and torture each other.

It's said in war that you can't know your enemy on a personal level. You can't make him human because then you can't fight him. Propaganda and bias take the enemy to a brutish level (remember the Hun), and people feel better about fighting then.

I say we abolish it. If people want to go to war, make them know their enemy. Make them have to see the people they're killing as people. Make an institution whereby soldiers and conscripts and politicians and, yes, the public at large is educated and knows for certain that at the other end of their guns are other human beings who, if they'd met in social circumstance, they'd probably like. Return to a time of humans fighting humans.

Nobody will fight then, of course. Only the direst need will send people to war when they have to see and know their enemy. And that will be good.

In closing, the famous words of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Indians echo down the halls of history to me: "I will fight no more forever." It is a dearly held hope that the implications of International Peace Day will last far longer than the 24 fighting-free hours.

Aaron Davis is a sophomore English major who has John Lennon's "Imagine" on a constant loop.