The lovely Tiny Owl Workshop is collating a number of Letters to Peace to sell, with the proceeds going to charity. Link to come when it’s complete and published. Here’s a beautifully written synopsis if you want to join in.

The world – your life – can turn on a dime. Whenever I hear this saying, I think of that game you play where you try to keep a coin spinning for as long as possible. There’s a childlike wonder that comes into play, even when you are supposed to be too old to be entranced by something so insignificant, when you watch that coin turn and turn. It’s a small miracle: an object with a curved edge, staying upright by the virtue of a flick of the wrist. But eventually, the coin falls. Its movements become slower, less uniform, until it comes to rest with a metallic clink.

Like everyone else, I have a lot of feelings about what’s happened recently in Paris, Beirut, and Syria. I have been shocked, upset, hopeful, and maybe most of all, angry. I am angry that people have taken this tragedy – all of these tragedies – and used it to pursue their own agendas, whether they be against immigration, the Islamic religion, or gun control. I am angry that so many people have effectively jumped on this pile of corpses to champion the continuation of hate and bigotry around the world. I am angry that while the majority of people have reacted with overflowing compassion, empathy, and love, it is the people who yell the loudest and the harshest who still manage to capture everyone’s attention.

But I also know anger can eat you up from the inside. Anger is a red hot ball of poison that destroys everything in its path. Nothing constructive can ever come from a place of pure anger. So we must look forward. We must grieve together, and then make sure these lives were not lost in vain. And by that I don’t mean we should engage in vengeful attacks, or blame others for something we don’t fully understand.

I mean that we should continue to tell their stories. I want to believe that good exists in everyone, even if it is a tiny speck of light in a deep, dark, dangerous hole. And in that light lies a story. A story of their life, of the hardships they have overcome, the people they have loved and maybe lost, people who have inspired them; a story of their hopes and dreams. That light is what they look like in the morning after they have just woken up, the way their eyes light up when they are excited, the creases that somehow seem etched in their forehead when they are trying to concentrate.

If we continue to tell these stories – to their children, their loved ones, their friends, their nieces and nephews – maybe this is the least we can do for these people who have had their lives needlessly and tragically taken away from them. Maybe if enough of these stories travel around the world, into people’s homes and hearts, if they are never forgotten, then maybe – just maybe – we can start to see that hate and violence and anger is not the answer.

I know this is easier said than done, and I know that nothing can be fixed by merely sitting around and telling stories. But I am just one simple 21 year old girl among billions of others who are older, wiser, and more intelligent. All of my power (little as it is) lies in my ability to write. To lay my words down in front of people, cross my fingers and toes, and to hope that someone will read them. I inhabit this tiny pocket of the world, and I’d like to be able to welcome people into it, even if it is just for a little while.

The world can turn on a dime – at any time, any place – and it is all, frighteningly, out of our control. So this is my letter to, and for peace. The world can turn on a dime, and we owe it to ourselves, all the people we love and those who love us, to try and create a world full of stories.  A world where everyone knows what it means to live in peace.

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