RELGIONS AS A CATALYST OF PEACE
By Dr. George Onsy-Egypt
As an Egyptian, I’m so proud being a citizen of this great content … Africa. Yes, I’m so happy to be an African coming to share my thoughts and hopes, among my bigger African family members gathering here in our dear Nigeria, to discuss this heated topic; Religion as a Catalyst of Peace and Human Unity:
In the beginning was God … and God was, God is and God will be always and forever ONE and only ONE. He, Glory to his Greatest Name, is the COMPASSIONATE … He is LOVE itself. And it happened that God created the human being … so, the countless human beings of free will … of different races, colors, characters, psychological natures, motives and value systems have inhabited the long history and the vast world. All that variety were meant to fit into a divinely planned unity, an integrated balanced harmony. However, that same variety has been viewed as differences and divisions igniting conflicts and wars everywhere on our planet and so, streams of blood have been incessantly flowing everywhere since the first son of Adam killed his very brother, the first known brother in the human history, to cover the face of the earth with inerasable shame.
So, our ONE God has never stop sending his message of love and peace through His RELIGIONS as RELIGIONS were meant to help restore that distorted harmony. Simply because harmony is the very catalyst of peace and peace is the very Name of God having its eminent position among the Holy Names of God as Islam teaches. Yes, it goes without saying that if God calls Himself the PEACE, not just the Peacemaker nor the Lord of Peace, rather the PEACE itself, so this means He wants us and command us to bear always in mind the great value of peace. Being the peace Himself, He wants to tell those who do not live by peace to ask themselves if they really know Him, believing in Him and in His Eternal Unity He keeps calling us all to.
Peace is godly … peace is heavenly … peace is beautiful … peace is how our life should flow in spite of all menaces of fear and death. However, the challenge to peace is how to make it … how to keep it when the other does not want to accept it as each party sees the other as an ‘ENEMY’. Here, comes the teaching of Christianity to face such a challenge with its teaching: ‘LOVE YOUR ENEMIES!’ A teaching that may sound bizarre to many of us and impossible to apply for more, much more. Yet, if we try to deeply understand the word ENEMY we may make it easier for us to understand.
The so-called enemy, as we may see him, is that who comes against us, threatening our dignity, welfare, even our very life, hence, destroying our very right to a good and secure living. But why does he that? That’s is the rub. For in that mind of enemy what thoughts may come. There’s the respect that makes an enemy of any human being we meet. For who would ignore the hardships of life, the cries of the needy, the bitterness of the marginalized, the injustice pains, the oppression piercing spear and the heavily pressing unemployment. All those, all those and more do shape the enemy’s fearful and harmful Ghost out of a peaceful fellow human being we could live and work with in harmony to build up a better future for our world.
So, ‘LOVE YOUR ENEMIES!’ should be read positively and victoriously as we try to fathom the real practical meaning of both words; ‘enemies’ and ‘love’. What does love really mean? Actually, in such context when we try desperately to love our enemies, the action of ‘loving’ here can never be possible nor applicable unless viewed and practiced as an ‘understanding’, understanding the other, that’s to say, loving others is simply trying to ‘understand’ them, understanding their attitudes, particularly, those unwanted and unexpected; as well as their reactions and behavior. Believe me it will make a big difference if we try to do that instead of locking them into the dark fearful category of ‘enemies’. Here, our eyes will open wide to see clearly how poor and wretched they are, in spite of the big money they may get … how weak and helpless they can be although they are armed with the deadliest weapons.
Starting from this crucial point of understanding, understanding through love, we can move further to deal with the unwanted aggressive attitudes as symptoms of an urging need, loss, or any sort of suffering that should be dealt with, stretching a healing, rather than a striking-back, hand.
However, in case of peace threatened by religious intolerance, our present issue should be viewed in more details. We all admit the fact that religions are God-given and can be an effective catalyst of peace, but to be really so, that depends to a large extent on the religion followers, the holy scriptures’ readers themselves; their psychological formation, tendencies, and reactions to any situation or challenge they would come across. Above all those factors, each one’s EGO, as the ego plays a major part in understanding their religions and, consequently, their actual practice of what their religions have taught them.
An egocentric person would find, through an apparent religiosity a way to gain more attention, to claim an exclusive possession of truth, to unjustly get superiority over others, to get vengeance from those he hates, to reject the other, anathematizing or even eliminating them, to reach his ambitions and fulfill his greedy dreams, all under the cover of religious enthusiasm if he manages to manipulate those twisted interpretations of the sacred scriptures. Such interpretations have been inspired by a hidden agenda of ungodly, earthly ideologies of people who have forgotten that we are all called to an eternal, not earthly, life and that the day will soon come when all that have been gathered and committed will never help any mortal.
We are now talking about that destructive effect of our ego on the good peace-making teaching of religions, hampering them from being a guiding Catalyst of Peace. We’ve already talked about those whose inflation of ego has made them manipulate religiosity. But what about us? Shouldn’t we watch ourselves to see if our egoism has caused the same problem of religious intolerance and all practices threatening peace? What about our indifference towards the needy, the hungry, the homeless and above all the unemployed who would likely to be the future fanatic, extremist or terrorist, using religious intolerance to get what he needs, and what he needs we have long failed to be kind enough to give, responding to his cries for help?
Both, they and ourselves are still away from the heart of religions that God meant them to be an effective Catalyst of Peace and Unity. Those who find ways to use religiosity to attain their ambitions and we who, being selfish and egocentric don’t care for others who need our help. We are both, blinded by our EGOISM, standing away from the ALTRUISM God always commands through our religions.
Now, the day has come to work together in order to STOP this infernal cycle of ‘need’ and ‘indifference’, a cycle that brings forth ever more intolerance, violence and terrorism, even in the name of religion. We will never be able to stop it unless we wake up to the emergence of positive actions, to an immediate healing of an ever-bleeding wound surging deep through our ailing humanity.
Yes, it is time now, before it will be too late, to work as ONE human body, and this is what religions have always commanded, because how come we go on ignoring those sufferings the other organs of our universal body continue to endure?! We should never forget that if we continue being indifferent or even slow to help others we will never be accepted by God as good fiddle to any of His religions, to any of his commandments, nor to His call to charity and love.
Moreover, on the other hand, that same indifference will bring forth generations following generations of angry and envious people who are determined to kill, burn and devastate, and they are also, they are also using their own understanding of religion as a ‘catalyst’ of what they find justice for them.
In fact, if we really care for peace we should together create a new World Order where those who have would give to those who haven’t, where those who can help those who cannot. That instead of being divided into two fighting camps, that of the needy who have become violent menacing peace, and those who let things go the way they are without any serious practical initiatives of change except repeating the refrain: “We should stop terrorism”.
To establish such self-sustaining World Order, I’m glad and honoured to be here to propose a series of TOT workshops on new conflict-resolution theories, approaches and applied mechanisms of solution. It is an urgently needed training that we shall work hard to make it fruitful together with my brother Lamina Kamiluldeen who works very devotedly for peacemaking in Nigeria, Africa and the whole world with his self-giving team members of The WORLD INSTITUTE FOR PEACE (WIP).
Glory be to Our ONE God, the ONE God of our religions. We are all here and everywhere for the Peace you always command and call all humanity for, so, help us Lord Almighty!
Thank you very much.
Researcher, Peace Writer/Poet, and Artist
Prof. of Art & Architecture History
At the Faculty of Engineering
Icon of Peace from WIP, Nigeria 2017
Laureate by the WIP with the award:
‘THE WORLD MOST OUTSTANDING PEACE POET FOR 2017’
George Onsy, an Egyptian thinker, poet and artist, born in Cairo, Dec 21, 1953, lives in Cairo where he’s serving as a prof. of Tech. Writing at The Egyptian-Russian University and teaches History of Art & Architecture at other academies.
His outstanding works of poetry and art have been published in many printed anthologies, magazines and websites worldwide, particularly in India, Italy, Sicily, USA, and China.
He has been awarded at many international cultural events in Italy, Ghana and India, invited by world leading literary organizations. As an active writer for peace, THE WORLD INSTITUTE FOR PEACE (WIP), Nigeria awarded him with ‘THE GLOBAL ICON OF PEACE’ Award, April 2017 and recently ‘THE MOST OUTSTANDING PEACE POET FOR 2017’ Award. Also the World Nations Writers Union (WNWU), Kazakhstan has awarded him THE BEST POET FOR 2017.
His paintings of mystical themes and spirit have been exhibited in USA, Canada, UK, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Ghana, India, Lebanon and Egypt.
George is one of the International Directors at the WORLD UNION OF POETS (WUP), and is their World Contest Jury Member as also for Galaktika Poetike (Atunis), Belgium-USA, the Italian International Cultural Organization, VERBUMLANDIART and the Mexican World Contest 2017 as well as for Kazakhstan’s Poetry Contest 2017 and an active admin for the international PENTASI B FRATERNITY OF POETS.
He’s also an honorary member/chief advisor for some leading international advisory boards of literature, like Kazakhstan’s WNWU, India’s SAHITA ANAND, TELANGATA POETRY FORUM and PHILOSPHIQUE D’ANAND.
“VOICES FROM ETERNITY”, a joint book of Onsy’s poems and artworks with the great Indian thinker and poet Dr. J. Anand’s poems, was published by the POETRY SOCIETY OF INDIA in 2014. His second book, “Let’s be one in The ONE” including 108 of his poems and artworks has been published in New Delhi, 2017 by the founder of the same society, Dr. Madan Gandhi, the great Indian Nobel-Prize Nominee thinker and poet. The latest was a uniquely creative work in a short story form, “WITH Oscar Wilde” published through the international BOOKEMON.
George diligently tries to establish new effective approaches to peacemaking, applying his unprecedented visual modelling system for analyzing Conflict-Resolution/Problem-Solving heated issues. The leading Facebook Page, AWAKENING-صحوة he founded years ago is an active Arab-International Forum to face such issues and other crucial world challenges.
With his pen and brush, he calls for a holistic awareness of our ‘Eternal existence in the Here and Now’. It is the ‘Poetry of Daily Living’ that has united audiences of different religions in Egypt and many countries round the world.
He extends this peacemaking mission through his ongoing work as a Board Member at THE MORAL REARMAMENT ASSOCIATION/INTIATIVES OF CHANGE (MRA/IofC)-Egypt of which the head office is a UN and EU Consultant.
Having worked for many years as a film/art critic as well as an Art Director for leading AD Agencies, he has professionally been serving as a Media Analyzer and Advisor for satellite TV. He currently analyzes and builds up media campaigns for peace awareness raising as well as designing needed creative educational systems.