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Selection - You Can Change the World

May Peace Prevail on Earth—A Call to Action by Masami Saionji
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As I look around this world, filled with tragedy and violence, my heart goes out to the young people of today. On behalf of my generation I wish to apologize to these young people, who must carry on in our place during the 21st century. It was our responsibility to pass on to you a peaceful world and a good: pure environment—a world in which all living things can exist in joy and harmony. However, we have not been able to carry out this responsibility. Instead, we created a world filled with violence, war, discrimination, poverty, disease, and environmental pollution.
Moreover our generation has used up an enormous part of the world’s natural resources, even reaching into your share. Having inherited this difficult situation from us, how hard it must be for you to guide this world to peace and happiness. With all my heart I most sincerely do apologize.
I was born in Japan, during the Second World War. Like so many others, I lost relatives and loved ones through the violence of war. As you know, Japan is the only country to have experienced the devastation of the atomic bomb. And when all is said and done, there is one thing I am proud of. After the war was over, I never heard any of my countrymen express a design for revenge.
After experiencing the tragedy of war, the Japanese people rejected war. Now we yearn more and more for peace. I would like to tell everyone how proud we are of our Peace Constitution, which says that Japan will not make or use weapons. We adopted this Constitution so that future generations might never experience war again, never experience hatred again, and never create enemies again, but build a better life for themselves and their children.
My parents and grandparents had their fill of war. They learned that war cannot create anything beautiful and new. War only kills and destroys. It only affirms suffering and misery. And so, on behalf of theirs and my generation, I would like to say: Do not copy our past mistakes! There is no need for you to imitate our errors. Create your own future, a future that is totally bright and new.
In past generations we produced many kinds of violence: the violence of war and oppression, the violence of rape and child abuse, discrimination, intimidation, and environmental destruction. Until now, society has tried to quell these various kinds of violence with more violence. We have even taken pride in these efforts using terms like “the fight against disease”, “the fight against poverty”, “the fight against discrimination”, “the war on crime”, and now, “the war on terrorism”.
Yet after pouring so much energy into fighting against violence, what has been the result? Even one look at today’s world situation should give us the answer. Violence cannot bring an end to violence. It may briefly suppress it at a particular time and place, but in the end, fighting against violence only adds fuel to violence. Sooner or later it erupts again, even more forcefully.
For many people, the threat of terrorism is the most fearful kind of violence. Do you know the cause of terrorism? Is it poverty? Is it religion? Is it a lack of education? The more we think about it, the more we see that there is no one, single cause of terrorism. Rather, it occurs through the complex interaction of numerous historical, cultural, economic, political, religious, and social factors. And when we look even more deeply into the source of terrorism and violence, we find that its motivation springs from violent emotions that are boiling in each person’s heart: anger, blame, resentment, humiliation, and self-hate. Yes, self-hate, self-blame and self-judgement, resulting from a loss of trust in the inner wisdom that speaks to us through the voice of our intuition.

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