“Only great people understand the value of peace.” Yes, the true greatness of man lies in his belief in life, construction, and fraternity among all human beings. People realize that “peace” is a gift from God, He is its maker and giver, but to whom? For those who seek peace and strive for it, realizing that losing it is nothing but hell itself! Speaking of peace, our hearts yearn for that quiet, peaceful life that knows nothing but construction, at a time when minds conjure up those hideous images of death, demolition, and devastation caused by wars, and families that have lost their dearest ones! Here I recall the words of Poet and Writer Gibran Khalil Gibran: “The war will end and the leaders will shake hands, but that woman will stay waiting for her martyred son!”
The wars witnessed by history have left behind millions of military and civilian victims, with impacts inerasable from the memory of reality! Here is World War II (1939-1945 AD), still exists with its remnants in the memory of human history, with its military and civilian victims approaching 52 million people! Not to mention tens of millions of wounded and maimed! The former British Prime Minister William Gladstone spoke truly when said: “War is a tragedy: in which man uses the best of what he has to inflict on himself the worst!” The most famous military leader in modern history, Napoleon Bonaparte, had no choice but to say: “War is organized barbarism, no matter how hard it tries to disguise itself.”
In wars, a person is exposed to a torrent of disturbing feelings of insecurity that surround and oppress him, threatening him of inexistence at any moment! Here I write down the words said by the former US President John Kennedy: “Humanity must put an end to war, otherwise war will put an end to humanity.” The world must realize that if wars do not cease, the fate of Earth will inevitably be destruction and annihilation, and everyone’s lives will end. But humans still have the choice if they want; Scientist Albert Einstein says: “We have the ability to choose: either we ban atomic weapons, or we face total annihilation… Our school books glorify wars, hide their atrocities, and instill hatred in the veins of children! I prefer teaching peace to teaching war and teaching love to teaching hatred”. The satirist Mark Twain described the war: “Killing a group of strangers towards whom you feel no hostility! If you had met them in other circumstances, you would have given them help or asked for it!” Writer Ernest Hemingway says: “Never think that war, no matter how necessary and how justified, is but a crime” while Leo Tolstoy, author of War and Peace novel asserts: “A war waged by a state can in one year corrupt more people than those corrupted by millions of crimes of looting and murder committed by individuals over millions of years!”
Our mission and message in this world are peace and construction, the message of love, the message of humanity, the message of a hand extended to every human being to relieve suffering. We must choose the path of peace that leads to life, not war. As the American writer Ursula Le Guin said: “In war, everyone is a captive” Yes, everyone is prisoner of death, prisoner of hatred and hostility, prisoner of exclusion and hostility, in a time when people must come together to overcome crises and challenges.
The words of Lord Christ: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” are still echoing throughout the entire inhabited earth, perhaps finding peace-loving hearts, joined hands to establish peace, and inexhaustible work to achieve peace and avoid the scourge of wars. The Quran mentioned: “And if they incline to peace, then incline to it and rely upon Allāh. Indeed, it is He who is the Hearing, the Knowing.”
We raise our hearts to God, the King and Maker of peace, in His high heaven, with prayers, requests and supplications, so that He may alleviate the suffering of every human being who lives through the scourge of war, and grant His peace to the Middle East and all other warring regions. And… stories about beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center