The Aymara people, who for centuries have lived around Lake Titicaca in the
Andes, defend the principle of seven different types of peace. The first is
inner peace. Peace with yourself through the health of your body, the clarity of
your mind, the pleasure of your work, the reciprocity of your loves. Without
peace with yourself, you are not at peace.
The second is directed upward. Peace with the spirits of your ancestors, with the will of God. If you are not at peace with the supernatural, spiritual world, with the metaphysics of your existence, your peace is incomplete.
The third is directed forward: peace with your past. The arrogant Western culture puts the past behind it. The Aymara put the past in front of them because it is the known, the seen, the lived. If you are remorseful, have unpaid debts, guilt, regret, you are not totally at peace.
The fourth is directed backward: peace with your future. Anyone who is afraid of what is to come, is frightened of debts to pay, of uncertain employment, or is expecting bad news is not at peace.
The fifth is directed towards the left: peace with those nearby. Without peace in the family, there is no peace. Domestic quarrels, discontent with family members and close friends, take away the feeling of peace.
The sixth is directed towards the right: peace with your neighbors. Peace at home serves no purpose if, on the other side of the street, there is menace, malediction, discontent.
The final peace is directed downward: peace with the earth that you tread upon, the source of your sustenance. If a tempest comes, if the soil dries out or trembles, there will be no complete peace.
I wish each reader these seven types of peace based upon the wisdom of the Aymara. But I also hope that, besides the seven forms of peace, you have plans to make them. Of the seven, five depend only upon you and your family, your introspection, your spirituality, your friendships.
But two of them, those directed to the right and downward, depend upon your sociopolitical action. They depend upon struggle.
In today’s global word, all human beings are your neighbors, beginning with those of your own country. For us, the Brazilians of the 21st century, our neighbors are our 185 million fellow Brazilians.
The peace of each Brazilian depends upon every other Brazilian’s wellbeing, peace without hunger or violence. If we want complete peace, therefore, we have to act to achieve it. Your right-side peace will not be complete until all Brazilians have the same chance in life. The road for 2008 is the struggle to begin the Brazilian revolution for an equal school for all.
It is likewise necessary to include in your plans for 2008 the struggle to protect nature, the beginning of the revolution for sustainable development. Without this, you will not have the peace directed downward, with Mother Earth. Nor will you guarantee the same chance to all generations, leaving future Brazilians without access to the same legacy of nature.
These two plans of struggle for 2008 are needed to achieve peace with the Earth and with humanity. Without them, you will not have the other five forms of peace either. It is impossible to have peace with God while there are children without schooling or while there is destruction of the Amazon.
How can you not feel remorse while knowing that we have already lost five centuries of history? How can you have peace with the future while knowing that we are tearing our country and the world to pieces? And how can you have peace with the family when your children and grandchildren are asking what you did to prevent the tragedy?
I wish you the seven types of peace this Christmas and hope that, in 2008, you struggle for your right to them. Merry Christmas, Happy 2008, seven forms of peace to you. And much participation to make them. Because peace does not just happen, peace is made.
Cristovam Buarque has a Ph.D. in economics. He is a PDT senator for the Federal District and was Governor of the Federal District (1995-98) and Minister of Education (2003-04). He is the current president of the Senate Education Commission. Last year he was a presidential candidate. You can visit his homepage – www.cristovam.com.br – and write to him at email@example.com
Translated from the Portuguese by Linda Jerome – LinJerome@cs.com.