Fatima-Zohra,
 Morocco

Dear World,

I am Fatima-Zohra El Ferd and I am from Taza, Morocco.

I have a dream. My dream is to see peace painting the face of everyone around me. I believe in my dream. Please, do not tell me my dream as impossible and do not say that I am unrealistic. Possibilities are our reason for existing. Many songs, poems, articles, and speeches are flying around my mind embodying messages of peace. I just wish that every single word would land on the ground and turn into a fact or a real life situation.

I cannot escape the dark images of the bloody actions and violence, and I am overwhelmed with enormous feelings of pain and anger. Let us say every single moment that war, conflicts, poverty, death, injustice, racism, oppression, and egoism go hand in hand with depression, diseases, violence, abuse, discrimination and cruelty. I do not want to be heavy with all these words, but we cannot simply pass them by.

We can build peace. We can find our own peace. We can be giving trees. We can be helping hands. We can bring harmony back to our life and play the peace symphony to every individual around us. To quote John Lennon, “You might say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” My dream is common. It brings the world together and shows that our diversity embodies our unity. We must all have a hand in building peace and strongly believe that we can make change.

Every entity in this universe should enjoy peace. But we cannot talk about making peace without talking about women. Through the lines of this letter, I will try to be the voice of many women around the world. I wish my words to find their way to the hearts and minds of its readers, not just a moving script in front of their eyes.

Pictures of women in many situations keep raining over me. Images of moms singing and chanting to help their kids to sleep peacefully or forget about their hunger and fear, songs full of life and promises of a better tomorrow. Women making their bodies shields to protect their kids and families from danger. Women as mothers pretending they are full and cannot eat to share their part with their kids, husbands or other members. Women pretending they are happy and satisfied to bring stability to their homes. Women sharing the warmth of their bodies to protect their crying babies from rain and freezing weather. There are so many pictures that illustrate women’s sacrifice and self-denial. They are family and community centered.

Despite all their giving, most women are denied access to the process of creating peace. We cannot talk about achieving peace if half of the population is facing exclusion and discrimination.

Women and children are targets of armed conflicts, marginalization, poverty and psychological disorder. It is a very common image to see women in refugee camps. They are also vulnerable to violence, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, lack of education and lack of physical security. Women are imprisoned in a very traditional frame of roles and responsibilities. All these factors lead to disorder in their communities.

Women should move from victimization into leadership positions. Women need men and the whole community to support and collaborate to make a better life.

We must support women to act as peacemakers around the world, especially in conflict zones. It is high time to fight for our rights. We need respect for our life choices and more opportunities. Most women have been left out of the most important dialogues about peace. We need to listen to the peace building stories of women. Many women need to be recognized and celebrated for their hard work to create peace. We must establish space for women’s civil society and empower and protect the ones who bear the heavy burden of war. We should trust women’s ability in negotiations, in addition to institutionalizing gender equality and reinforcing their local capacity to support of women’s leadership. Women must be willing to take new directions and paths to generate power.

Some men are, and many more should be, partners with women. To reach peace, we have to find it among ourselves and build it between men and women. We should highlight the efforts of men who advocate in support of women. Still, too many people consider men’s violence and dominance against women as a normal act. Giving a new definition to men’s roles and duties will give a new shape to peace in a healthy community. They must take part in the solution since they took part in the problem. We call to men to create safe relationships and stand up against objectification and violence against women. Our community should support men who are willing to stop women’s exploitation. We cannot escape the fact that many decision makers and leaders are men and then they are invited to give hand to women around.

We have to shed light on the importance of empowering youth to work as agents for moral, social and financial support to prevent gender-based violence and establish peace. Youth can make change while adopting and adapting the healthy norms and decisions.

I hope every country will make use of its resources and its people’s power to create a great vision: Peace. Through love, we can make it!

Thank you, World.

I am looking forward to hearing from you Peace.

Best Regards,

Peace Dreamer and Maker,

Fatima-Zohra El Ferd,
Taza,Morocco

 

Wevly, Haiti

 

Dear World,

My name is Wevly Thibeaud. I am 19 years old and I am from Haiti.

Haiti is a small country where there is a lot of suffering. Children sleep on the street and some of them don’t go to school. The rights of women are not respected. There are many people who still live under tents since the earthquake of January 2010. I have never shared my feelings about the way I saw people trying to overcome misery in Haiti. And now I feel that it is time.

It is our turn to lift our voice the world, as women and men. I fear and worry about the future of this world, against the decadence of the today. We need to stop living in our past victory of heroes we all study at school, in museums and so on. We need to put what we have learned from our heroes into action, in the world that they created for us.

Imagine a peaceful future, without fighting and violence, without discrimination against each other, without a desire to fight a war for power. We all have a right to a peaceful future, in which we are happy, where all children are going to have a chance to have a family. We all have the right to a future in which we are educated, in which we help one another, where compassion, love, respect, and empathy guide us to a peaceful future.

To realize that vision, we must each have our own mission. Women need to be confident, engaged in society and within the government, because as women we have powerful things to say to the world. We need to participate in politics and social affairs.

Men need to stop giving orders to women. They need to initiate dialogue that ends in compromise. Men need to recognise women’s capacity in the social and political fabric of society and of this country. Men must be more integrated within their communities, instead of acting as individuals, only interested in advancing themselves.

Young people need to go to school and to believe in themselves. They need to have goals and believe in a better world. They need to understand that they play a crucial role in this world and that their knowledge and their active participation in social affairs of their communities will advance our country in the long run.

Personally, I think that in order to create this vision, I must participate in the education of my fellow citizens here in Haiti. I must raise awareness and encourage people to understand that we cannot use violence to advance life, because violence destroys people; violence destroys families, it destroys dreams. It is with peace that we can build our nation and make it stronger. We are all agents of change in this world. It is only after we all go against the evil that gnaws at the world, that we will come together and we will put our hands together to build a vision of the future that is one of peace.

Wevly Thibeaud,

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Sulaf, Gaza

sulaf-ghanim

Dear world,

My name is Sulaf Ghanim, and I am a 19-year-old girl. I was born and raised in the Gaza Strip, which is about 60 kilometers from the village of Hatta from which my grandparents were forced out and became refugees.

I see the world in colors and love people regardless of their faith, color, sexual orientation or political views. My biggest dream is to see the people of the world living in peace and harmony.

During my 19 years on this planet I have lived through three wars. I live under the constant treat of another one. It is exhausting! What makes me sad is to see my city turned into a big prison. My family and I are not allowed to travel outside of the Gaza Strip for any reason including medical treatment or higher education. I was accepted to the pre-medical school in Cairo but due to the siege on my city I could not travel and pursue my dream of becoming a doctor. I have always wanted to be a pediatrician and help the poor children of my city.

I have a dream of waking up one day to a free Palestine. A free Palestine in which I can travel to other cities and enjoy the mountains in the north on a hot summer day or travel to my holy city of Jerusalem and pray for world peace.

When I close my eyes, I dream of a day and a world where everyone reaches out to help others without having any ulterior motives. I dream of a place that has no wars, no killing, no bombing and definitely no suffering. But when I open my eyes I just see wars, smoke, darkness, poverty and ignorance everywhere.

Instead of losing hope I have decided to dedicate my life to improve the lives of my people. Therefore, I have always been active in my community doing community service since I was young. I have defied all the restrictions imposed by traditional social customs that would limit women’s growth and success. Women have to understand they can influence the world positively and their job is not only to raise kids and do housework. As women, we must take on the responsibility of changing our present way of living and thinking and be part of the changes we want to see in this world.

Dear men, what if we stopped fighting to belong and realized that we already belong? What if we acknowledged, in each interaction with ourselves and with others, the eternal, beautiful, interconnected energy that flows between us? What if we recognized our equality and celebrated our differences? Imagine how the world could be.

We need more peace, to stay in harmony with our brethren. We need more understanding to tackle our misunderstandings. We need more justice and less injustice. We need more peacemakers and fewer revolutionaries. Peace will come about in the world from the perfection of individuals. If you have peace, I have peace, he has peace, and she has peace. Then and just then, a world peace would become a reality.

Don’t wait for a better world. Start now to create a world of harmony and peace.

Thank you

Sulaf Ghanim

Sofia, Mexico

Dear World,

My name is Sofia; I have been living here since 1997. I was born and grew up in Mexico. Therefore I can relate what it is to live in a country with two realities. Mexico is a beautiful country. Nevertheless, is facing lot of pressing issues that are interconnected including violence and war.

You realize it in your daily life. Every day in the news you are able to see it, there are always crimes against journalist, teachers, indigenous students, women etc. Nevertheless violence is not only about living with insecurity about our lives, violence is also not having the right to express your opinion. Violence is not having something to eat that day. Violence is not having an appropriate environment. Violence is not having access to education. Violence implicates many aspects of the human life, especially our rights.

Our rights are not respected. The curious thing is that we are not respecting our own rights. It is an interesting phenomenon because it seems we are living as individuals and we are not taking into consideration every person around us. Humans are connected, we are not just a nationality or number, and there is something beyond that. Everybody has feelings and has a history. We should be more conscious of our dependence on each other.

For this reason, I truly believe education would make us conscious and free of violence. However we need an education without attachment. In every culture, people have beliefs and their own way of understanding the world, but sometimes these beliefs only cause more conflict. We should let these barriers go and start to spread an education with the objective to create humans who think critically.

I certainly have faith in women. We have an important role and we should take action to address the world’s problems, recognize our capacity for political and social issues and encourage other women to fight for access to education and believe in themselves.

Finally, peace is not going to happen like a miracle. It is a challenge for everybody but we have an opportunity to demonstrate that we are responsible for our destiny. We should not create an illusion of peace as a utopia, or something we cannot reach. We should be able to create a peace we can see every day, something that is part of our lives, something to fill our souls and motivate us to become the best version of ourselves.

Sofia Abundis Mendivil

19 years-old, Mexico

Sana, Afghanistan

sana-ahmadi

Dear world,

I am Sana Ahmadi and I am a 17-year-old from Afghanistan. I believe we are still living in an armed and warring planet; a place where humans experience systematic violation of their human rights and are, to an alarming degree, the targets and sufferers of carnage and belligerence. But these are the strikes and varied acts of nerve by humans, which have battled this aggression and injustice throughout history and the ongoing current battle. We dedicate ourselves to this battle to avert violence and to send forth ripples of hope for living in peaceful and secure world. Men and women are both victimized by the war and both want to bring about a world where the noble characteristics and aspirations of human rights are embodied.

So when both men and women are affected as a whole, both sexes should contribute to strengthening international peace and security. If we want to utterly destroy the foundation of war, there should be equality between men and women in the abolition of warfare in first place. We need unity and concord in the maintenance of order.

Women have the capacity to remedy the pervasive culture of violence and bring the world lasting peace. The key to this essential involvement of women is the realization of their capacity to manage conflicts. We need women to believe that they can be part of a dynamic positive change and can bring down the mightiest walls of tyranny and prejudice.

We need men to nourish women’s aptitude for bringing change and to have respect for the highest qualities of women. I need men to forge attitudes of tolerance and active concern towards women and have a cooperative approach to resolve violent conflicts.

We all together can create a peaceful world where it will be brotherhood and harmony instead of violence and bloodshed.

For bringing peace, we need to hold true to the great promises for lessening and ultimately eradicating disruptive injustices and we should take serious actions for making our promises come true.

Thank you!

Sana Ahmadi, Age 17, Afghanistan