Human Solidarity Day

Young people from across the world are invited to write about what they consider the challenges humankind faces in promoting the spirit of solidarity in the world.

What and how can the generation next contribute in this direction?

Through their writings young world citizens suggest ways and means to strengthen the spirit of solidarity for world peace.The word limit for the articles is 300 and the last date for receipt by thepeacegong@gmail.com is 17th December,2018.

Published below are articles, stories and poems received from the children as part of Human Solidarity Day competition:

International Human Solidarity Day

On the occasion of International human solidarity day. Today, December 20th Pen News in association with The Peace Gong bring views of young people from across the world.

Solidarity is identified in the Millennium Declaration as one of the fundamental values of international relations in the 21st Century, wherein those who either suffer or benefit least deserve help from those who benefit most. Consequently, in the context of globalization and the challenge of growing inequality, strengthening of international solidarity is indispensable.

Therefore, the UN General Assembly, convinced that the promotion of the culture of solidarity and the spirit of sharing is important for combating poverty, proclaimed 20 of December as International Human Solidarity Day.

Through initiatives such as the establishment of the World Solidarity Fund to eradicate poverty and the proclamation of International Human Solidarity Day, the concept of solidarity was promoted as crucial in the fight against poverty and in the involvement of all relevant stakeholders.

International Human Solidarity Day is:

• a day to celebrate our unity in diversity;

• a day to remind governments to respect their commitments to international agreements;

• a day to raise public awareness of the importance of solidarity;

• a day to encourage debate on the ways to promote solidarity for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals including poverty eradication;

• a day of action to encourage new initiatives for poverty eradication.

Nurturing virtues strengthens solidarity

Shazaf Masood Sidhu, Coordinator, The Peace Gong Pakistan

“He who once became aware of the power of solidarity and who breathed the air of freedom will not be crushed.” – Lech Walesa

To embody care and concern for each other is solidarity. Solidarity works best when we respect each other’s needs and circumstances, and co-ordinate our responses. However, there can be no solidarity if someone attempts to constrain, shame or inflict guilt upon others, even subtly.

It can be very difficult to be sure of what precisely is solidarity. Is it to be courteous or just, fair, helpful or honest? In general, we learn solidarity through education, environment or personal experiences. We all need it in today’s world at some point. But one has to initiate building solidarity before expecting it in return.

I believe solidarity does not requires our struggles and hopes to be similar. Nor does having suffered the same pain make one stand in solidarity with others. Solidarity simply requires commitment and willingness to continue working hard with full zeal above all.

Somehow, it is so simple and yet remains unrevealed to most in the world.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “The reason why the world lacks unity, and lies broken and in heaps, is, because man is disunited with himself” –

Emerson believed that the world lacked unity because we are not firm in our own choices and decisions as individuals.

As a team, The Peace Gong, Pakistan, feels the following to be important for solidarity:

  1. Learn the art of listening without getting defensive or offensive. Be open. Have no rigid positions.
  2. Challenge and critique others constructively. Respect others and do not demoralise anyone.
  3. Never make assumptions, predictions, or interpretations no matter what a person looks like or what groups they belong to.
  4. Never put others at a risk. Respect and value each other’s personal space and time.
  5. Respect the work of all.
  6. Believe in the religion of humanity.
  7. Work on your own strengths and do not play with other’s weakness.
  8. Promote a culture of sharing, love, concern, respect and positivity.
  9. Get rid of hatred.

Let us today promise to stand together in solidarity, not for any specific country, race or religion but for humanity.

By bringing together children and youth through nonviolent communication, The Peace Gong aims to promote solidarity amongst the upcoming generation. We at the Peace Gong believe that by nurturing virtues of kindness, compassion, gratitude and mutual respect and practicing nonviolence in our daily lives we can strengthen the spirit of solidarity. When young people stand up in solidarity, we can contribute towards peace.

Human Solidarity Day

By Children of Pakistan.

Promoting Solidarity for Global Peace

Mariya Shuaibu Suleiman,

Coordinator, The Peace Gong, Nigeria

Peoples of the world, together
Join to serve the common cause!
So it feeds us all for ever
See to it that it’s now yours.

Forward, without forgetting
Where our strength can be seen now to be!
When starving or when eating
Forward, not forgetting
Our solidarity!

Black or white or brown or yellow
Leave your old disputes behind.
Once start talking with your fellow
Men, you’ll soon be of one mind.

Forward, without forgetting
Where our strength can be seen now to be!
When starving or when eating
Forward, not forgetting
Our solidarity!

— Bertolt Brecht

The term solidarity originated from the French word “solidarite” around early 19th century. It means communion of interests and responsibilities.

Solidarity produces unity of interests, objectives, standards and sympathies. It refers to the social ties that bind people together as one. A particular group of people working towards a collective goal for a better society can also be termed solidarity. In brief, it is the union of common responsibilities and interests among people.

When it comes to exercising solidarity, both adults and children are equal. However, before promoting solidarity amongst children or youth, they should be educated and sensitised about it.

One can choose who, what and where to exercise solidarity but the focus should be on the deserving ones. Mahatma Gandhi once said: “If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”

So, we can promote the spirit of solidarity amongst children and youth by engaging them in global peace building process. It can be done through peace debates and competitions to stimulate them to contribute in their own ways.

Both children and youth should understand that peace building requires collective efforts. People from all classes of society should also work together towards ensuring peace at all levels and simultaneously create space for children and youth intervention in sustaining it.

By Children from Nigeria

Promoting solidarity towards differently-abled in Burkina Faso

Wendata Bertille Dorcas Yanogo , Burkina Faso

Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon once said, “When we empower persons with disabilities, we strengthen human solidarity for everyone…Imagine how much stronger the world would be if the rights of the more than 1 billion persons living with disabilities in the world would be respected, protected and fulfilled. Only when they have the opportunities they deserve, can they generate ideas, products and inspiration for millions of other people.”

People with disabilities are stereotyped and discriminated across the world. Due to misconceptions related to disability, they are excluded from the mainstream society and are unable to participate fully in different social activities. It is in this context that Ban’s call to empower the differently-abled persons by giving them due respect as anyone else holds relevance.

Burkina Faso is a landlocked West African nation with a French-speaking population of 19.19 million (2017), 1.2 per cent of whom are differently-abled (2009 Census), and almost half live below poverty line.

One of the poorest countries in the world, Burkina Faso became independent with the theme of “Good Governance and Social Equity for a Strong and Prosperous Union”. The government also ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008, and a year later adopted a National Strategy for the Protection and Promotion of Persons with Disabilities.

However, a lot remains to be done to mainstream the differently-abled. It is there that each individual in the country needs to express the spirit of solidarity with persons with the disabled and all other marginalised people. We can promote solidarity by promoting inclusive education to enhance camaraderie between students of all groups.

In Burkina Faso, a lot of emphasis is on the above thing with the consideration that there can be no union if the weakest sections of society, such as the disabled are left to fend for themselves.

Expressing solidarity in Burkina Faso?

1. Become aware that disability is not a choice. No one ever desires any disability. Nobody is safe from becoming disabled.

2. Disability is not a curse, nor a punishment. There is no divinity involved in disability.

3. Disability is not contagious. It is not transmitted from mother to child.

4. Disability is not always visible.

Demonstrating solidarity with differently-abled in Burkina Faso would mean:

1. Firstly, speak for them, advocate for them. Wherever they are marginalized, denigrated, soiled or rejected, restore truth and justice. So keep in mind that it is always a bad idea to carry a negative or discriminatory judgment on them.

2. Treat them as human beings.

Being disabled does not make a person less than human. It does not reduce the value and dignity of the person.

3. While some needs such as the desire for recognition is common, the differently-abled are unique people with special needs and desires.

4. Kindness is priceless.

People with Disability in Burkina Faso often experience adversity.

5. Make all the arrangements they need to make them feel welcomed, loved and appreciated.

6. Caring for someone with a disability is very difficult and expensive.

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Strengthening solidarity by enhancing nonviolent footprints

Asiya Baquar Naqvi, The Peace Gong India

The alarming rate at which sectarian or phobic violence is spewing venom of hatred and brutality around the world is a blot to our existence as civilized societies. If we are letting the venom of organised and deliberated violence sink deep in our societies, each one of us is to blame.

Each one of us can also make a difference by understanding the sheer strength behind Mahatma Gandhi’s idea of “be the change you want to see in the world”. The tiniest of drops can elevate water level in a pitcher. We need be that tiny drop to alter the course of violence that plagues our society.

The Peace Gong team in India has come up with the idea of NONVIOLENT FOOTPRINTS. It is a small idea about our own contribution towards our society and surroundings. Our team actually intends to take the message of nonviolent action and communication across every nation rigged with sectarian and civil war.

Everyone living in conflict zone is experiencing the brutality of violence. Every child suffering a bleak future due to violence is unfathomable.

Joan Baez has rightly said, “That’s all nonviolence is – organized love.” Through nonviolent action we can strengthen the spirit of solidarity.

The measures behind nonviolent footprints includes healthy & unbiased communication every day, absence of hatred and biases towards people around us, understanding each other and resolving conflicts through the principles of nonviolence.

Our team member, Syeda Rumana Mehdi says, “Humans cannot deny their role in global violence. They also cannot blame it on only some people – the spread of violence shows that we all have contributed to the gruesome state of the world today. The idea of Nonviolent Footprint is ingenious as it will enable us to see the impact we can make. Often, we think that an action has not much value and refrain from it but Nonviolent Footprint stresses on how even the smallest of actions can lead to a bigger action. It reminds us of our responsibility and accountability to Mother Earth and to other humans because we live in a shared space and each of us has equal ownership of resources. In our earnest journey in to search nonviolence, no one is more powerful than the other. As we think of Nonviolent Footprints, we think of the Earth as a a gigantic sheet of fabric laid out for children, adults and senior citizens to walk over and leave colorful footprints – so colourful that the black spots cannot be seen anymore”.

Going forward, we can use the idea of nonviolent footprints to promote solidarity among people of various cultures in our society. As we expand our nonviolent footprints through nonviolent communication; inculcating virtues of kindness, compassion; by managing our anger; by refraining from being judgmental and furthering mutual respect to strengthen the spirit of solidarity. So, let us all work incessantly to expand our nonviolent footprints and strengthen human solidarity. Let us be the tiniest of the drop that will lessen the spate of violence in our world.

Solidarity: A fundamental social virtue

Arunesh Pathak, The Peace Gong India

We are the believers of Vasudaiva Kutumbam: the whole earth is one family bound together in love, peace and solidarity.

The rich expression of that shared love and solidarity is expected from each family member. Yet, for participation to be meaningful, it must be practiced consciously and chosen wisely. As for our contribution towards society, the willingness to participate is what matters most.

Solidarity is, therefore, the acceptance of our social nature and the affirmation of the bonds we share with all our brothers and sisters. Solidarity creates an environment in which human rights can be respected and nurtured. The ability to recognize and accept the whole range of corresponding duties and obligations embedded in our social nature can occur only in an atmosphere of solidarity.

As a virtue, solidarity’s context is freedom and justice. Our solidarity with all the human family implies a special commitment to the most vulnerable and marginalized. The natural unity of the human family cannot be fully realized when people suffer the ills of poverty, discrimination, oppression, and social alienation.

Solidarity encourages striving for local, national, and international equality and people ought to be brought into the circle of productive and creative relationships, as fully as possible.

At the same time, genuine solidarity is not to be coerced. Historically, coerced solidarity denied responsible freedom and worked as an affront to human dignity. One cannot force the acceptance of our shared responsibilities. Nevertheless, no society can neglect the requirements of social and economic justice toward the poor. Society may appropriately direct the its members to fulfill their obligations towards the most vulnerable among us.

Ultimately, solidarity, like true humanism depends on love, faith and respect for each individual. Solidarity is thus a social virtue that bears many fruits and blessings, yields a healthy society, a thriving economy, care for those on the margins, and a structure that protects the family.

Human Solidarity Day

By children from Delhi.

The PEACE GONG – SPIRIT OF SOLIDARITY

By Simon R.W.Wachira, Nairobi, Kenya

Nothing worth having comes easy in the world.

There are several challenges one has to face to promote the spirit of solidarity in today’s world of technology. Other major challenges include nationalism, social status and no less critically, education.

The key to education includes setting up of schools, devising appropriate curriculum, teacher selection and training, and setting up an equitable mechanism regardless of race, religion or gender.

Solidarity also requires people to have proper food and drinkable water, and the right to housing, security, self-determination, family and independence. If we closely observe then we would come to know that solidarity exists not only between individuals but also within and between social institutions.

In brief, solidarity looks upon interdependence as something good, positive and a thing to be cherished socially since as humans, we are fundamentally social beings. Also, regardless of whether humans have a belief in god, people instinctively feel a deep bond between us all that goes beyond family and kinship. In brief, with solidarity as the ultimate goal, racial discrimination can not survive.

To put it differently, solidarity is an agreement among individuals with a common interest and helps them connect by respecting and understanding each other’s likes and dislikes better.

Peace is another key component in promoting solidarity – when one is at peace one is at ease with oneself, the god and the neighbours.

The challenges can be many including at the level of law and government policies in many countries. However, we must be determined to fight hatred with solidarity, no matter how tough the path is.

Imagine all the people Sharing all the world……

Fasika Alemayehu Weldeyohannes

MD Candidate, Addis Ababa University & The Peace Gong, Ethiopia Coordinator

Mariama Witfisseha

6th grade, Nazareth School

A Group of children in action from Ethiopia
A Group of children in action from Ethiopia

‘Imagine no possessions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,

A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world’ –John Lennon (Oct.9,1940 – Dec.8,1980)

The word solidarity derives from the noun solid – so would say my high school English teacher. Solidarity is unity, says the current prime minister of Ethiopia. To my father, solidarity is family and my friends say it is teamwork.

What would I say? The definition of solidarity is multidimensional. Everyone has his/her own perception but I remember the Ethiopian saying that difference is beauty. I, as a coordinator of The Peace Gong, also think that solidarity is team work.

Ethiopians believe that difference is beauty – a reason why their favorite food has lots of vegetables.

Solidarity to me is an agreement resulting from shared interests, feelings or opinions. It is a day like the International Human Solidarity day on 20 December to celebrate diversity.

As a child, I want peace to prevail not only in my community but in the whole world. I always pray that my country does not go to war like other nations. I hope that volunteering and solidarity with The Peace Gong would help bring peace to other nations.

Have you ever listened to classical music or Mozart’s symphony? Why classical composers are still popular? Because classic is culture, diversity, unity, social well-being and healthy relationships – in other words solidarity.

These days depression, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cancerous disease is becoming common including even in developed countries. Artificial laboratories are gaining popularity and yet the rate of suicide is on the rise.

The problem is we do not help each other and altruism is considered outdated. Friendship is old school and those who help are considered losers. I wonder how many have to suffer in our efforts to excel?

To me, ethics comes before science and respect before contemplation. Family is unity and unity is solidarity.

So, I call out to my coordinator friends. Let us teach our team humanity. Let us end suffering. Let us learn helping each other for it is more peaceful than self-success.

One of the major objectives of International human solidarity day is action to encourage new initiatives for poverty eradication.

Here is an example from Liberia.

Comforting the less privileged Children

Comfort M Baindah, Liberia

I am here whenever the less privileged need help. The only thing I can do is to comfort them. One Monday morning as I walked in my community, I met a kid who was sadly sitting by a house, I walked to her and began to ask her : why are you sitting so sadly? Why are you not in school? Where is your mommy? She sadly answered me with tears in her eyes ” Mommy don’t have money to sponsor me in school that’s why I am not in school. ” Sorrow overtook my heart for this child. Hence I drew her into my arms and told her it’s okay. After a while, I asked her to take me to her mother; and she did. Her mother told me her story — she struggles as a single mother to get food for herself and her child. What sadness and pain I could feel inside me for this woman and her child. All I could do at that moment was to get them some money for food first which I did. When I went home, I could not just be at peace, I was so worried about the child. With the fact that the child needs Comfort, I finally made my decision — registered the child and took care of her daily needs and today this child is happily in school which I am happy and proud of her. My feelings for less privileged children prompted me to start a non-for-profit organization in Liberia called Comfort the Children Initiative (CTCI) which aims at helping less privileged children overcome poverty, injustice and increase their awareness of their societal responsibilities.

I am at peace and very happy this year that we were able to fully sponsor 21 kids in school and donate to one hundred school going children pens, pencils, and copy books. Indeed, I am so excited to see children who were denied a smile now smiling, and who were unhappy, now happy. This give me reasons to live and be at peace.

An Interactive awareness program by Peace Gong Manipur on International Human Solidarity Day.

Drawn by Leitanthem Banti Student of XII Sc, Manipur
Drawn by Leitanthem Banti Student of XII Sc, Manipur

An initiative by Peacegong and Pennews.net

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