The Peacemaker

Keynote address delivered by the Rt. Revd. Dr. Musonda Trevor Selwyn Mwamba, President of the United National Independence Party (UNIP) to commemorate the 99th birthday of Kenneth Kaunda National Day on 28th April, 2023.

The Master of Ceremony Professor Jacob R.S. Malungo

The Honourable Elijah Mushima, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources;

The Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University of Zambia, Professor Anne Lungowe Sikwibele;

Your Excellencies members of the diplomatic corps;

Presidents of all Political Parties;

Members of the Kaunda family;

Representatives of Academia;

Representatives of NGOs;

The Media;

The Youth of Zambia;

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

A reflection on “What President Kenneth Kaunda would have said about World Peace in the context of global conflicts.”

40 years ago, at the White House President Ronald Reagan described President Kaunda as one of Africa’s senior and most respected statesmen who played an admirable role in international events and who’s counsel was highly valued.

In 1962, K. Natwar Singh, an Indian diplomat, first met Dr. Kaunda in New York City where he had gone to appear before the Decolonisation Committee. India was on the Committee and Singh the representative.

Singh recalled that Dr. Kaunda’s presentation made a profound impression on the Committee.

Years later in 1977, Singh was made India’s High Commissioner to Zambia. He later became India’s Minister of External Affairs.

In his brilliant autobiography One Life Is Not Enough he affectionately recalled his time in Zambia.

When President Kaunda died in June 2021, he wrote a charming tribute. He recalled the third Non-Aligned Summit in 1970 held in Lusaka at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre. And how President Kaunda presided over the Summit with great skill.
He recalled the seventh Non-Aligned Summit held in New Delhi in March of 1983, where President Kaunda delivered one of the most impressive speeches.

He recalled that by then President Kaunda had become one of the most admired and respected leaders of Africa in both the Non-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth.

In 1979 the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting was held in Lusaka. I was a Law student at the University of Zambia and remember it well.

This Commonwealth meeting was dramatic in its preparation and conclusion and everything in between.

The British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher tried her best to prevent the Queen attending for security reasons because of the liberation wars in the region. The Queen who during the Second World War had served in the Army as a truck driver and mechanic was not frightened easily so she came.

The Secretary General of the Commonwealth was Sir Shridath Ramphal, charismatic and eloquent with a melodious voice. He was referred to as His Eloquence!

His eloquence reminded me of Squealer the pig in George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm. Squealer was second-in-command to Napoleon and was the farm’s minister of propaganda. He was an effective and very convincing orator.

It was at this Commonwealth meeting that President Kaunda danced with Prime Minister Thatcher. A diplomatic dance. They had the moves. Afterwards he always referred to her affectionately as his dancing partner. Year’s later the only other British Prime Minister who seemed to have the moves was Theresa May, but she danced solo, to the Bee gees song ‘Dancing Queen’!

The 1979 Commonwealth Summit was significant. Sir Shridath recalled the day when ending white rule in Zimbabwe and South Africa began in earnest.

His memory is of sitting by President Kaunda’s side in his small study in State House. It was a Saturday, August 4, 1979 – the weekend break day in the Commonwealth Summit; and all except a few heads of government had gone off to Livingstone to view the magnificent Victoria Falls.

The few who remained for that meeting included President Nyerere of Tanzania and Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher, Malcolm Fraser of Australia, and Michael Manley of Jamaica.

Sir Shridath tells us, “The President’s study ‘retreat’ had been carefully orchestrated. President Kaunda was superb; and so was everyone else.”

At the end of the day they had an Accord that led to the Lancaster House Conference and Zimbabwe’s Independence – which in turn led to Mandela’s freedom, the end of apartheid and the Independence of South Africa. It was all conceived on that Saturday in the small study in State House.

Now, we may ask ourselves what made President Kaunda such a respected statesman … who’s counsel was highly valued…who made a profound impression on the Decolonisation Committee…who presided over the Non – Aligned Summit with great skill…who made one of the most impressive speeches…who became one of the most admired and respected leaders of Africa in both the Non-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth…and who was superb. What made him so?

The answer we discover in a letter written to him by the witty and brilliant President Julius Nyerere; consoling him on losing the 1991 elections.

Mwalimu told his friend that history would salute him – for the “great achievements, and the great leadership”, he gave, “over decades of exceptionally challenging difficulties for Zambia and for Southern Africa generally.”

Mwalimu points us with profound insight to the answer we seek of what made President Kaunda great. He writes:

“This was not only because the people of Zambia entrusted him, their pre-independence leader, with the privilege and the onerous duties of being the ‘Founding Father’ of Zambia. It was much more, it was because of the kind of Founding Father he was…A man of principle, and of honour, and a man who worked for peace and human dignity throughout Southern Africa.”

President Kaunda’s greatness was not only defined by the role he played but more so in the person he was. He was a person of principles, he was a person of honour, he was a person of peace, he was a humanist who valued human dignity. This was the kind of Founding Father he was.

Now there is much more, that made the kind of Founding Father he was, that made him great, and that much more was his belief in God. Here is the heart of his greatness, here we realise what mattered to him – God.

The fear of the Lord the scriptures teach us is the beginning of wisdom. We can paraphrase this to say that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of greatness.

President Kaunda’s parents taught him to believe in God. So faith always played a central role in his life.

He believed in a Supreme Being who’s love was the great driving force working itself out in life. He believed God was a Presence not a philosophical concept. President Kaunda was always aware of this Presence. He was aware that he was never alone.

Some would suggest that made him a Liverpool supporter- “You’ll Never Walk Alone”! Actually he was an Arsenal fan.

Now his belief in God also gave him a feeling of unlimited responsibility. He acknowledged that he was a guardian rather than owner of such powers and talents as he possessed, answerable for the use or abuse of them to the One who had loaned them to him and would one day require a full reckoning.

As a believer in Christ, President Kaunda’s faith informed his politics.

He spoke about it often over and over again, summed up in what Jesus Christ said:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” And “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

This is the golden rule which inspired President Kaunda’s life and politics and shaped and framed him.

In his book Zambia Shall be Free he gives us a glimpse of some of the things that inspired his life.

One of these was a book In Tune With the Infinite by Ralph Waldo Trine which he took with him everywhere he went mobilising Zambians for independence.

The book tells us how his life connected with God inspiring him in the different roles and things he did; as a guitarist, pianist, singer, writer, footballer, golfer, poet, dancer, family man, statesman.

To appreciate further the importance of faith in politics in his life – President Kaunda’s book, Letter To My Children, of all his books, is a masterpiece in self-scrutiny.

It’s a fatherly letter of love giving wise advice and guidance to his immediate children, and extended children, the youth of Zambia, to whom he dedicated it.

Looking into the future he said, “When you grow up, you will hear and read a lot about Kaunda; what he did and didn’t do; his mistakes and weaknesses – and I hope you will hear a few good things as well.”

President Kaunda sprinkles the book with humour sharing the wisdom he had gleaned in life all rooted in faith and values.

Values are very important in life.

Let me take you back to Sir Shridath Ramphal. When he turned 91 he inspiringly described the importance of values.

In his memoirs Glimpses of a Global Life, he wrote of how his varied life had been driven by values which he tried hard to respect; sometimes failing, but sometimes
coming close.

He explained that he had developed a habit for making difficult choices. He asked himself – when the pros and cons were exhausted- what was the choice that more closely conformed to his values; in other words, what was the path of principle. Often it was the path less travelled by. And he always felt assured that his decision was right when he found that path.

So what are important are the values that should guide us. They are rooted in morality to do the right thing, to enoble us, that is, make us better people. Values are a moral compass we cannot ignore otherwise we lose ourselves.

The British writer and Anglican lay theologian
C.S. Lewis wisely said, ‘Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.’

Values are essential in our lives. To be educated without values is to be an educated fool.

So turning 91 Sir Shridath had this gem of wisdom to impart to us he said, “Some inherit nothing, some inherit possessions and great wealth; but the richest inheritance is of values.”

The values – how they live on; Sir Shridath tells us, “…can only be passed on if they
have informed your own life. If they
have, your legacy will be assured.”

President Kaunda’s life was informed by values, the values of love, of justice, of peace; so his legacy is assured because his life embodied the values of the golden rule.

If we have no values of love in our hearts how can we pass it on, if we have no values of kindness in our hearts how can we pass it on, if we have no values of compassion in our hearts how can we pass it on, if we have no values of peace in our hearts how can we pass it on?

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

That’s because they embody the Peace of God. President Kaunda embodied the values of peace. He was a peacemaker and that’s why we are here today, on his 99th birthday, to remember and celebrate a man of peace.

And in the spirit of peace can reflect on what he would have said about World Peace in the context of the global conflicts and especially at this time for example the Ukraine war.

Informed by the values of peace they are three attributes that characterised President Kaunda and were core to his foreign policy.

First, his principle of non-alignment it framed Zambia’s foreign policy of not being tied either to the West or the East.

President Kaunda in the illustrious company of Nehru of India, Tito of former Yugoslavia, Nasser of Egypt, Castro of Cuba, Nyerere of Tanzania, were pillars of the Non- Aligned Movement.

This place the Mulungushi International Conference Centre together with Mulungushi Village were specially built by the government of Zambia to host the third Non-Aligned Summit in 1970.

Non- Alignment a cornerstone of Zambia’s foreign policy has been safeguarded by subsequent governments and is sacrosanct never to be compromised. As independence was dawning it was clearly stated, “Zambia will maintain friendly relations with all countries not hostile to her, irrespective of their political ideologies.”

Second, his commitment to principles. He had the courage to take risks if he believed it would be helpful in bring about peace, without worrying about what others said.

Accordingly, Zambia’s foreign policy was grounded on clear principles which were applied across the board.

If the action of some country violated a particular principle, Zambia condemned or voted against that country, irrespective of who that country was.

If meeting an enemy was deemed necessary to help resolve a problem and advancing prospects for peace President Kaunda did not shy away out of fear of being thought of as a traitor.

Third, his broad vision of Zambia’s foreign policy, it went beyond looking out for Zambia’s interests, it was pan African, it was global, in pursuit of an equitable, just, and peaceful world.

President Kaunda’s concern was for the well-being of people not only in Zambia but globally.

His opposition to injustice, racism and oppression, everywhere, was informed by his belief that we are all made in God’s image and therefore God’s children irrespective of religion, colour, creed, gender, tribe, or nationality.

These are the values that informed President Kaunda’s life and outlook in politics, local and globally.

Sadly, our world is losing these values. The values we need to guide us in the ways of love, peace, justice, the appreciation of our common humanity, and the celebration of the wonder and beauty of our rich diversity. We are losing these values.

So we see our world diminishing in good values and prey to arrogance, hubris, greed, prejudice, fear, hate, intolerance, competition; and insane wars which threaten humanities very survival.

This is a clear and present danger. At the beginning of this month the Disarmament Commission’s 2023 session began in Geneva, by bringing into sharp focus the nuclear risks faced by the international community.

Many speakers voiced concern over the
increase in dangerous nuclear
weapons rhetoric amidst the war in Ukraine. They urged the crucial need to prioritize disarmament, non-proliferation and arms
control measures.

To these voices of sanity President Kaunda would have added his voice to draw us back to the values of peaceful coexistence which we are ignoring at our peril.

President Kaunda would have considered the Ukraine war as mad and he would have personally contacted the critical actors in this conflict urging them to ceasefire and seek dialogue and peace to end the war.

The strength of President Kaunda’s diplomacy rested on relationships build over time, trust, mutual respect, and love of humanity.

In dealing with the threat to World Peace he would have reminded us of another time in history when President John F. Kennedy, addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations in September 1961, in words that are pertinent today:

“Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us.”

President Kaunda would tell us that five months before in April 1961, he had met the new US president, John Kennedy, who hosted him at the White House and was greatly impressed by him. As Kennedy had a “great intellectual, political, and romantic interest in Africa…” And like Kaunda was a peacemaker.

President Kaunda would illustrate it by tell us this story. In October 1962 the United States and the Soviet Union wobbled dangerously close towards a nuclear war caused by the Cuban Missile crisis. However, because of intelligent leadership the catastrophe was avoided.

The Soviet Union placed missiles in Cuba after the United States had placed Jupiter missiles in Türkiye and Italy.

To resolve the crisis a secret pact was agreed in which the Soviet Union removed their missiles from Cuba and the United States quietly from Türkiye and Italy months later.

Being a secret pact many in the West thought the Americans won the confrontation through an unrelenting display of power and the threat of nuclear escalation. To the contrary a nuclear war was prevented because of compromise on both sides. It was possible because both President John F. Kennedy and Chairman Khrushchev in good faith were able to negotiate with each other.

This good faith was reflected in a letter Mrs Jacqueline Kennedy wrote to Chairman Nikita Khrushchev on December 1963, after the assassination of her husband. It’s inspiring, it’s elegant, it’s moving, especially in its idea of big men and little men and the consequences of leadership thereof.

In her letter she explained that her husband cared much about peace, and his relation with Chairman Khrushchev was central to this care in his mind.

President Kennedy quote often in some of his speeches— Khrushchev’s words, “in the next war the survivors will envy the dead.”

Kennedy and Khrushchev were adversaries, but both were allied in a determination that the world should not be blown up. They respected each other and could deal with each other.

What troubled President Kennedy was the danger that war might be started not so much by the big men as by the little ones.

While big men know the needs for self­ control and restraint—little men are sometimes moved more by fear and pride. If only in the future the big men can continue to make the little ones sit down and talk, before they start to ?ght.”

President Kennedy’s policy was of self control and restraint. He and Chairman Khrushchev though political adversaries were ‘big men’ united in preserving world peace which prevented a nuclear war.

Now sixty one years later with the Russian and Ukraine war raging on the world is wobbling dangerously close towards a nuclear war. President Kaunda would urge us to learn from history and be big in our thinking.

He would rally the citizens of the world not to allow our world to be blown up. He would encourage us to take a leaf from the past and demonstrate the intelligent leadership required to prevent a nuclear catastrophe were “the survivors will envy the dead.”

He would tell us World Peace to be preserved desperately needs the big men or statesspersons with self­ control and restraint which epitomised President John F. Kennedy and Chairman Nikita Khrushchev relation.

World Peace needs to be rescued from the little men and women driven by fear and prejudice who can easily plunge humanity into a nuclear catastrophe.

President Kaunda would remind us that nine months after the Cuban Missile Crisis, President John F. Kennedy delivered the ‘Peace Speech’ at the American University in June 1963. It’s timeless. It’s wise. And it’s helpful to us to end the Ukraine war and other conflicts.

Then as now we find ourselves in a very dangerous place from which we must extricate ourselves.

Learning from the past to avoid making mistakes in the present and future, President Kaunda would encourage us to embrace President Kennedy’s wisdom.

An avid student of history Kennedy learned that leaders, “must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war.”

President Kennedy chose a topic in his words, “on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived yet it is the most important topic on earth: world peace.”

What did he mean by peace? It was not a “Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war.” It was a, “genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.”

In 1963 the urgent call for, “peace for all time” was forced by the production of nuclear weapons as the new face of war.

President Kennedy realised the new face of war was insane. He surmised, “Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind”.

War made no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange could be carried by wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn. It made no sense then and it makes no sense today.

Only peace makes sense. Now when President Kennedy delivered his speech, peace was challenged by the prejudiced attitude of leaders towards the Soviet Union. Many thought it was useless to speak of world peace or world law or world disarmament and that it would be useless until the leaders of the Soviet Union adopted a more enlightened attitude.

President Kennedy an exceptional and visionary leader that he was challenged this prejudiced attitude. His hope was that both the Soviet Union and United States would change by reexamining their attitudes.

George Bernard Shaw once said, “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

President Kennedy dreamed of America’s relationship with the Soviet Union that never were and asked why not? Accordingly, his peace speech signalled a major paradigm shift in cold war relationships.

His innovative thinking challenged Americans to reexamine their attitude towards the Soviet Union by proposing a path to genuine peace.

He eloquently said:

“…I … believe that we must reexamine our own attitude as individuals and as a nation for our attitude is as essential as theirs. ..every thoughtful citizen who despairs of war and wishes to bring peace, should begin by looking inward by examining his own attitude toward the possibilities of peace, toward the Soviet Union, toward the course of the cold war…”

President Kennedy understood that our problems were human created and therefore could be solved by people. There was no problem of human destiny which was beyond humanity’s capability to solve.

Human reasoning and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable and President Kennedy believed that the nuclear threat was solvable.

So he wisely counselled:

“And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

His vision was anchored in a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just. Inspired by hope he said, “Confident and unafraid, we labor on not toward a strategy of annihilation but toward a strategy of peace.”

“A strategy of peace”. President Kaunda would have concurred unequivocally with President Kennedy’s thinking.

In 2023 and beyond the “strategy of peace” not annihilation is what the world should strive for and to do this our world truly needs leaders of vision, wisdom, peacemakers, big men and women, in resolving the Ukraine war and other conflicts of our time, in Yemen, Cabo Delgado in Mozambique, and the Sudan.

President Kaunda would tell us that the reality of our world is that it’s multipolar not unipolar. The geopolitical and economic ambitions premised on a unipolar world and dominated by one super-power, ideology, creed, race, or hemisphere is long past.

The present and future is for a free and diverse world – and our leaders must create and shape policies that speed progress toward a more flexible world order.

The multipolar world will thrive by eradicating the vestiges of exploitation and dominance, them and us; and vigorously promoting reconciliation in mutual forgiveness and cooperation.

In his wisdom President Kaunda would tells that things do not happen in a vacuum. They are reasons and causes and hence the Ukraine war has its causes in the Cold War and collapse of the Soviet Union and subsequent expansion of NATO.

He would tell us to make an effort to consult all available sources of information and evaluate different perspectives on the war.

World peace to survive must be anchored always in truth not floating in an ocean of lies and propaganda.

The truth is the world needs peace, now and always, peace for all time. So President Kaunda would be calling for dialogue in the Ukraine war.

At the beginning of the war their was an attempt but the process was short-circuited. Now the refusal to dialogue has prolonged the war in which Ukraine is being devastated, to quote Professor Jeffery Sachs, “…ironically in the name of saving Ukraine.”

The prolongation of the war is a crime against peace; a crime against humanity, for the peace and security of the entire planet is at stake, in the growing danger of a nuclear confrontation.

Trust vital in diplomatic relations is lacking condemning us to an unstable, dangerous world, our security, our futures, our desire for a stable peaceable world order at risk.

President Kaunda would say the way to genuine peace in the Ukraine war and the recovery of trust calls for the United States, Nato, Russia, and Ukraine, to reexamine their attitudes to each other.

This is the only path to peace which the distinguished Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs of Columbia University has stated calling for a change of American foreign policy arguing, America and the world need economic recovery, diplomacy, and peace.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron as early as 2019, argued that it was time for Europe to reexamine its attitude to Russia, in his words to “rethink… our relationship with Russia” because “pushing Russia away from Europe is a profound strategic error.”

The rethinking calls for a paradigm shift which President Kennedy’s demonstrated in his Peace Speech sixty years ago. The context in Europe calls for reimagining the existing relationships towards creating a new Europe that embraces Russia.

Ultimately, all wars end in negotiations. In the 21st Century the madness of war should be a thing of the past. What should motivate us is the wisdom that puts primacy on dialogue and intelligent solutions to preserve peace and prevent wars.

President Kaunda as a peacemaker would have advocated we followed the path to genuine peace in resolving crises and wars through negotiations by a positive shift in relationships among the world’s most important decision-makers and intelligent leadership from big men and women not little men and women driven by fear and prejudice.

He would have encouraged us that we keep always in mind peace as collective, global and international.

He would have urged the citizens of the world, in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe; through, for example, international organisations like the African Union, European Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Organization of American States, and United Nations; to demand for immediate peace negotiations and condemn the enormous danger to the survival of the planet posed by the Ukraine war.

World Peace is ultimately about nations living in wholesome relationships.

As the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. succinctly said in a speech in 1964, “We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters or we will perish together as fools.”

The wisdom of President Kennedy’s Peace Speech is relational. It echoes what Martin Buber, a brilliant philosopher of the last century termed the  I -Thou relationship. We must not treat each other as objects to be used and discarded when and as we wish.

The I – Thou relationship is the spirit of what we call Ubuntu. Ubuntu is the reverence of our common humanity – I am because of you and you are because of me. And without each other we cannot be.

In Ubuntu listening to each other is very important in decision making to have healthy relationships.

President Mandela in his memoir Long Walk to Freedom elucidates this. He developed an enormous capacity to listen to others. He possessed the art of listening.

Great leaders have it they spent more time listening than talking. In prison he listened intently to the voices of the enemy. He chose to be interested in their lives. That interest is the spirit of Ubuntu, the I – Thou relationship.
It’s not to treat God, people, and nature, as things or objects to be used.

President Kaunda would have advocated for Ubuntuism in our pursuit for World peace and the end to the Ukraine war. Only when we see each other in the I – Thou relationship, as children of God, as brothers and sisters, shall peace flourish in our lives and world.

The peace we talk about, President Kaunda, would have emphasized is profoundly rooted in the Christmas Peace ancient yet new which ennobles and elevates humanity to the I – God relationship.

Its God’s own Peace on Earth we realize in World Peace. A message the world desperately needs to hear now more than ever.

So President Kaunda would have prayed for ourselves and the world to be enfolded by God’s peace and so strengthened to spread good will to others.

Now, you may wonder why President Kaunda waved that white handkerchief at people everywhere he went.

After he died I saw a distinguished journalist on TV being asked why he always had the handkerchief and the journalist said he sweated a lot and used the handkerchief to wipe himself!

That’s not why he carried the white handkerchief, the answer is very simple, it
was a representation of a dove which is a symbol of peace. So as President Kaunda waved that white handkerchief at people everywhere he went, he was wishing and blessing them with peace; spreading good will to others.

For peace is fragile which we must express in our live to live wholesome lives.

To preserve World Peace the badge of responsibility incumbent upon every nation is a willingness to seek peaceful solutions. It is never too early to try and never too late to come to the negotiating table.

The responsibility for peace is not just for the nations in conflict but the peoples of the whole world who are affected by such decisions; and to the next generation of humanity.

To conclude I have this poem by Maya Angelou which reflects a beautiful insight of human unity and our need of peace.

She wrote, as only she could, of a wonder that she likened to the great wonders of the world, the wonder of our capacity to acknowledge
the eternal unity of humanity’s needs and what she felt was our generation’s potential to respond to those needs.

She longed for the day when we would reach that point of fulfilment; that moment, as
she wrote, ‘when we come to it’.

Maya Angelou thought about humanity’s misused potential; she thought about ‘vision’ and leadership’ ….at the global level.

And as we reflecting on what President Kaunda would have said about World Peace in the context of Ukraine war as an example it is apt.

President Kaunda would recommend we embrace this moving poem about our human capacity to acknowledge the eternal unity of the needs of the world’s people and
our generations’ potential to respond to those needs:

“A Brave and Startling Truth”, Maya Angelou called it. Let us relate her thoughts
to all the world’s people but especially to ourselves to whom it is addressed.

“We, this people, on a small…planet
Traveling through.. space
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth.

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms.

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders…
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace.

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear.

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.”

When we come to it a world of peace. That’s what President Kaunda waving the white handkerchief wished for Zambia and Africa and the World. To come to it… to peace.

May we make this brave and startling truth a value in our lives. May we as citizens of the world rededicate ourselves to the values of love, of justice, and peace, to create a world that embraces diversity and mutual respect, among nations.

To fulfill the Prophet Isaiah’s ancient prophecy of World Peace amongst nations…

“…and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:4).

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