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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 September, 2004, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
How does violence affect your life?
People affected by violence
The United Nations called for a global ceasefire to mark International Peace Day, which took place on September 21.

The aim of the day of peace was to promote non-violence, not just in war zones but on the street and in people's homes.

Vigils were be held around the world, and a million voice choir sang in support of peace.

You put your questions to Mark Waddington, CEO, War Child in an interactive forum

There were 19 major armed conflicts underway in 2003, according to the International Peace Research Institute in Stockholm.

It is estimated that armed conflict claims two lives every minute.

Do conflict and violence affect your life? Have you experienced war, terrorism or domestic violence? How did it affect you? Did you be take part in International Peace Day? Can it make a difference?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

I grew up with war in Yugoslavia, and survived Nato air strikes on Serbia in 1999. I found myself in Kosovo and Metohija when my friends, family and all the people I knew were subjected to ethnic cleansing. I survived bomb attacks, beatings and fire in my house with me in it. I survived March 2004 and I know that it is not over. Yesterday, one of the people I knew was beaten by Albanians near Northern Mitrovica. I wonder if this is going to stop EVER! My life is destroyed, people I'm close to are missing, we lost our home, and when I find myself in countries that have freedom, I behave as I'm still in Kosovo. I had to seek professional help so I could at least partially move on with my life. It is so hard. I wish the most to be able to walk down the street of my home town, without being killed to express support for International Peace day. Unfortunately I can't, therefore through you I'm voicing my support.
Ivana Mitrovic, Pristina, Kosmet, SCG

Whether we're conscious of it or not, violence affects our lives. About 45% of the wealth produced worldwide goes into arms production. This is a stunning figure that should give us all reason to wonder how life on Earth could be different if we weren't caught up in this fear-induced madness. There is much to be gained by cultivating our potential to love each other, and leaving aside our struggle to gain and protect more material wealth.
Tom Hunsberger, Canadian in Mexico

Peace is first found in the individual
Mark Luther, Greensboro, USA
Yes, violence is my life. I along with all of the males of my family have been affected by violence. My father and brothers have been to war. I have been on both sides of the gun also. Once as a kidnap victim, taken across state lines held by a gun to my neck. As a public safety officer, I also held criminals at gun-point until back-up arrived. I am also the child of a mother whom found it easier to beat her children instead of instruct them. Peace is first found in the individual, and that person must find a peace in the heart as an individual. Then they can act as a group to change their town, country world. By personal responsibility we can help to reduce violence, but we can't do in by starting "Socialistic" programs which neither promote freedom, or the reduction of violence.
Mark Luther, Greensboro, USA

Having experienced the tragedies of 9/11 in downtown NYC, I can say that violence has impacted my life in a significant manner. I am now more determined than ever to fully understand the true causes of this kind of behaviour. And I am not simply referring to the terrorists that committed this atrocious act. America needs to address the ugly facts that its influence in certain parts of the world has NOT been a constructive one. Americans need to ask themselves why our government is making these decisions. Blanket responses such as "to promote freedom and democracy" sound hollow given the circumstances we are facing today. Americans, including myself, need to take responsibility for the government we support. There are no scapegoats for today's violence... this requires collective responsibility to ask difficult questions and face ugly facts... about our governments, religious leaders, and ourselves.
Chris, USA

It does not have to be physical violence to hurt. Being frozen out for no apparent reason by your peers hurts just as much.
Lars Backstrom, Fairbanks, USA

Until I read some of these comments, I'd never understood the phrase "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem". How can all these people complain about violence when they're not prepared to support a day of peace? Making comments that there is no point in supporting the day as humans are inherently violent makes them part of the problem. We are intelligent beings and have the power to choose to be non-violent.
Sarah, Shipley

What we desperately need right now is war
Mirek Kondracki, Katowice, Poland
We definitely should not march for peace and pacifism. What we desperately need right now is war. A global, comprehensive, well coordinated ruthless war on international terrorism. We have seen what has happened and is still happening to the citizens of the countries which have tried cowardly to appease terrorists (Spain, France, Philipines). No more Chamberlains, Daladiers, Schroeders and Chiracs. The time for appeasement is over!
Mirek Kondracki, Katowice, Poland

I grew up during the Vietnam War and had friends and relatives who fought there and have listened to many of their stories over the years. Later, I experienced racially motivated violence and anger first hand during the late 1960s at my mixed race middle school in Northeast Ohio - where I grew up. My daughter, Mona, is named for a 16 year old beautiful and special Iranian girl who taught "Sunday School" in Iran and was executed for this along with several other Iranian women in the early 1980s. My wife's Cousin was executed in Iran for his beliefs shortly after this. I witnessed the events of 9/11 first hand. An older close family friend from Iraq who obtained his engineering degree in the US years ago is now back in Iraq with his son working hard to try to set up the new infrastructure in Baghdad in spite of the dangers. Now I work for a major engineering company that does a lot of work in the Middle East and only recently several employees were killed in Saudi Arabia by terrorists. I know that all of this has affected me and sometimes I get very angry and want to lash out, but mostly it just makes me sad thinking how wonderful this world could be and how truly good, special, and kind most people are.
John, NJ, USA

I was born and reared in one of the most violent times under Apartheid. Now I'm based in Japan and the daily street violence is there but not on a major scale. The most frightening thing about violence in Japan is the increase in child abuse suicide. Here in Japan, we have as many as 40,000 suicides a year. We have one on one violence, we have gang violence, we have state violence and the list goes on. Violence will breed violence.
Thomas C Kantha, Osaka Japan

There is no feeling of peace among the average Nigerians
Joe, Lagos, Nigeria
We in Nigeria are not at war, but the amount of violence that goes on in the country is more than that of a war-torn country. At least 300 lives are lost to violence every two weeks. The people don't feel safe. There is either tribal unrest or religious killings or armed robbers attacking. There is no feeling of peace among the average Nigerians.
Joe, Lagos, Nigeria

Having immigrated from Zimbabwe to South Africa which must have the highest crime rate in the world, our house has been broken into three times, I have had an attempted hi-jacking with a revolver pointed at me, had my car window smashed in a "smash and grab" robbery. This is just me and not the other members of my family. We sleep with a burglar alarm in the house linked to an armed response security (as the police do not have enough vehicles). As a women I'm wary of going out at night by myself. It becomes part of your life and the saddest thing is that you become insensitive to violence and crime.
Gail, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Something has changed in the world. We have systematically been programmed into numbness and only a privileged few remain faithfully connected to their humanity... The violence that we are witnessing has become unbearable; yet we do not react anymore.. some write, others comment.. but there is no action.. hat the US did in Iraq is unforgivable, as is what Saddam did to his people, as is what the Iraqi so-called resistance is doing to those poor people... the list goes on. We don't need a global ceasefire, we need a change of heart.
Serene, Amman, Jordan

As an ex-soldier I suffer from PTSD, but the violence is not in wars. The violence is in individual peoples intentions. Community bullies and thugs who wreck communities families etc, surface in any conflict as active and eager participants in atrocities. International peace day is a waste of time, it is a pause in events at the very most (if anyone takes it seriously). The most important thing is that those interested in peace (pacifists etc) will take part. But those who need to (antagonists) will use the time as they usually do, seeking more easy victims. Even as children there are bullies and victims, as we get older nothing changes, sometimes the situation is punctuated with revenge.
William Hawkins, Caerphilly/ Wales

To many violence isn't just a means to an end, but a source of pleasure
Peter Van Belle, Antwerp, Belgium
Ever since I grew up, and grew taller than most people, I haven't been at the receiving end of violence. Though I've often been threatened with it by street gangs. Violence occurs in nature so it's not surprising it occurs in the human world as well. What is different is that to many violence isn't just a means to an end, but a source of pleasure. Many members of street gangs, terrorist organisations, police, army and individuals like bullies and thugs use secular or religious laws, grievances and frustrations as an excuse for inflicting suffering. A case in point are the camp guards in some concentration camps. Their orders were to exterminate people, but often they indulged in using people as target practice or making them shower and then stand to attention in the freezing cold. My point is that taking away grievances or seeking to eliminate violence as a means won't take away violence. We've already bitten the apple (biblically speaking).
Peter Van Belle, Antwerp, Belgium

I feel all of us experience violence daily, one way or another. Through the media, we see it and feel it at home and abroad. It's hard enough to keep our own back yard violence free, and often we fail. We fail because we mistake coercion as influence, argument as negotiation, the notion of winners and losers, that deploring something clears our conscience, that we are morally right and they are morally wrong, that my bullet is just and their bullet is evil, that my Dad is bigger than your Dad, that my prejudice is superior to their prejudice. We mistake a lot of things every day and that is why violence prevails, its nasty, hostile, degrading and spreads with the first slap, that shaming paralysis so short... before we slap back!
don gruntles, London UK

I live in a country where owning a firearm is illegal and I am very thankful for this. I do not feel violated, I feel much safer. There really is no reason to own a gun. Owning a gun only acts as a hazard if it gets in the wrong hands. You don't need a loaded gun for protection. What you need is a blunt or sharp object that can be used if you are being attacked - not a gun that can go off even as you are aiming. It's not worth the risk.
Katriona, Singapore, ex UK

Violence per se, does not affect my daily life. The fear of violence does. I think an International Peace Day is an excellent but admittedly difficult to achieve idea. Some conflicts have been raging so long that people have forgotten what living without fear of violence can be. Maybe they should be reminded and then people might start talking.
Shahid, London

Violence and conflict plagues my homeland Somalia, needlessly. I pray that everyone in the world will achieve peace and understanding, because none of us are winning through such destructive behaviour. I look forward to take part in International Peace Day at my University.
Hakim, Canada

Once I got shot at for a reason completely unknown to me
Jim, US
Once I got shot at for a reason completely unknown to me. Two women in a convertible turned onto the street and one of them had a gun. Lucky for me, I was right behind the stop light signal pole when she started shooting. I think the only reason they shot at me was because I was the only person on the street. Then they sped away. Don't assume that these two women were hags either. They both wore sunglasses and looked pretty young. It was frightening, but I thought of how ridiculous it was. I wonder how many people in the world feel the same way.
Jim, US

I have been the victim of domestic violence for years, as have my small children. When I recently did something about it, I learned that I am unfortunately the wrong sex and colour. Despite solid evidence and testimony, the 'system' has treated me more like the accused than the victim. Even though the other party was charged with a criminal offence, I have received no support whatsoever. And don't even ask about the situation regarding the children, it's more than I can bear to discuss.

Oh yes, I happen to be a white male, and the perpetrator a female from a visible minority. I am astounded at how many organizations and groups are available to her, and the protections she has been granted due to her status as an accused, and I have received nothing save the following advice: if you want your rights enforced, get a lawyer.
Paul, Ottawa, Canada

When talking about violence and conflict, we shouldn't only focus our attention on active, overt conflicts that rage in different parts of the world. Instead, we need to address the core causes of conflict and violence. The West, particularly America, needs to alter the ways in which it treats poorer countries and Muslim countries. Many conflicts around the world are either the direct or indirect result of interference by some Western countries. Other countries, especially those where overt conflicts exist among different groups of their societies, need to seek long-term resolutions through changing their social institutions to legitimize and accommodate the needs of all different segments of their societies.
Janan Mosazai, Kabul, Afghanistan

I live in a peaceful small town where folks still do not lock their doors
Sharon, USA
I worked in the worst drug infested neighbourhoods of a major US city as a teacher for 30 years. I never had so much as a pencil stolen and never was a victim of crime in any way. I now live in a peaceful small town where folks still do not lock their doors. Is my experience rare or is much of what we read and hear hype?
Sharon, USA

Sharon asks if her experience of living without crime in a "drug infested" neighbourhood is unique. I lived alone in the Bronx for 6 years, and was never the witness or victim of crime there. I moved to Portland Oregon, where I was assaulted 4 times in 6 years. In a place where a lot of people didn't lock their doors, I was held at gunpoint for four hours by a neighbour, and stalked by another. Weird? No. I think country counties maintain their reputation for being crime-free by ignoring crime - the sheriff doesn't come when you call, so there is no report, and thus low crime statistics. I feel safer in the city - someone might hear you if you cry for help.
Trish, Vancouver USA

When leaders of some of the wealthiest nations on earth stop bombing third world countries into submission, when those leaders stop exploiting countries in order to gain a stronger financial foothold in the world, when those leaders of the powerful countries stand together and rebuild country one at a time then surely we will have peace...but this is very unlikely in this selfish material obsessed world we live in.
Haseeb, Birmingham, England

I teach philosophy - morals and ethics. If someone offers you a gift, and you do not accept that gift, to whom does the gift belong? It's not easy to answer. So, if someone offers you a gift of anger or hostility and you do not accept it, then it still belongs to the giver. When you choose the non-violent approach your first impact will be on yourself. You become less inclined to accept the gift of ill-will that comes your way. You can simply "pass" when others try to seduce you into arguments or conflict of any kind. Your initial objective will not to be to change anyone, but rather to deliberately and lovingly work on being an instrument of grace and indulgence. The more peaceful you become within yourself, the less you will be affected by the enmity or disaffection of others.
Professor Georges Didier, Lidkoping, Sweden

No I'm not affected in any way by violence. My country, Denmark, is a peaceful, civilized country. I can only say that I feel sorry that so many people in this world suffer under meaningless and cruel oppression as well as random violence. I makes me sad, but also proud, because I realize that I live in one of the few places on earth where there is still some degree of disbelief when we hear and read about savage violence in other countries.
Erik G., Denmark

Reading these posts, it strikes me that people have one of two world views: those that have a distrust of life and those who trust that life can be different from what we usually experience. The former seem to hold beliefs that violence is inherent in our natures and will always be with us, so act accordingly. The latter group are the ones who will make a positive difference in the world beginning with their own lives. We all have a choice to accept and participate in violence or collectively put an end to it.
Marilyn, Canada

Some people did not want to accept the fact that I was different
Mohammed Amer, Dunedin, New Zealand
I am an Egyptian living in New Zealand. I was affected by violence due to racism. Some people did not want to accept the fact that I was different. I was physically attacked several times, however I know that I can always get support from those who are like me. We should all be able to live with each other despite our differences.
Mohammed Amer, Dunedin, New Zealand

Violence is innate in human beings and will never be stopped. God made man with violence in him. Violence must exist, it's stupid to believe in a world without violence, it just needs to be channelled in the right direction and not necessarily against other human beings. That said, you would need to ban boxing and other violent sports. So only God can solve this problem, not man, because God made man.
Nick, Paris, France

Yes, conflict and violence do affect my life. Yes, I have experienced war. I was intensely aware of misery and futility of armed conflict. I will be taking part in the Peace Day. I believe it can make a difference if pursued.
Andrej Klemencic, Ljubljana Slovenia

I have personally experienced domestic terrorism in the form of the Ku Klux Klan. When I first moved to North Carolina, I had no idea how behind the South still was in matters of racial equality and civil rights for all of its citizens. But I moved into a small town and after a while learned that the KKK was still very much alive and well, with members still actively pulling strings in the local municipalities, sometimes even running them. Their problem with me was simple. I am white and I developed friendships, naturally, in the white and black community. I also had Hispanic and Arabic friends. Because I was a local teacher, and popular with their white youth, my open mind was a threat. So, in the year 2002 the Klan reared its ugly head and death threats started coming in. I was assaulted, followed, threatened again. When I learned that I was reporting these crimes to a sheriff whose father was one of the grand dragons of North Carolina - and that the death threats were real - I moved.

There is much more to the story than that, but I just wanted to say that violence and oppression affect me and everyone else, and it will continue to until it is seriously addressed in a non-violent, Gandhi-like manner. Yes, I will be participating in the International Peace Day and only wish our administration and troops would do the same.
DeAnna Overmann, Hillsborough, NC, USA

One of my first memories is of burnt cars and the smell of tear gas
Vanessa Howson, UK/Italy
I grew up in Rome in the 1970s. Violence of political and terrorist nature was a daily constant. One of my first memories is of burnt cars and the smell of tear gas. In London I have been evacuated twice from the stations for bomb alerts, I know people beaten up for political and football reasons, I have been mugged by a man with a knife outside my front door. There is violence everywhere, and none of the people that inflicted it into my life is thinking of stopping for one minute, never mind a day. I think that the only way to survive is being peaceful and not justifying those that use violence; yes they need help, but far away from the peaceful population.
Vanessa Howson, UK/Italy

Violence and armed conflict affect my life only through the litany of carnage that I hear on the news, day in and day out, ever crueller and ever more barbarous, but the effect is powerful. I have become rather bitter in my assessment of human nature as a result, and unfortunately do not believe that International Peace Day will be anything more than a futile gesture, however good the intentions behind it.
Charles White, Krakow, Poland

Imagine yourself with a poor family. A child on the street calling you daddy. An old, poor, woman who is just surviving on God's mercy kneeling in front of you and asking for help. This is the life my family, my relatives and myself live in the small towns of Northern Uganda. The country has been ravaged by the Lords Resistance Army Rebels, who have brutalized even their own families. So it's important for the international peace day to be there to assure the innocent victims of these atrocities that one day they will be home again. This day should be translated in all the possible languages so that people everywhere can see the messages of peace.
Ayo Howard, Lira District, Uganda

Civil society must adopt a doctrine of non-violence
Bill Slater, Edmonton, KY USA
As a mental health professional, I routinely see the effect of violence on the people I serve. When governments engage in wholesale violence I believe that the message conveyed is that violence remains a legitimate course of action. I think that this bears a direct link to the incidence of domestic violence - including partner abuse and child abuse. Civil society must adopt a doctrine of non-violence if we are ever going to see the kind of world in which children can grow to achieve a realistic hope for relationships. International Peace Day is a step forward on the road to non-violence.
Bill Slater, Edmonton, KY USA

Violence is inherent within the human psyche and will be for centuries to come. How can anyone be so simple as to believe that Intentional peace day will make any difference what so ever?
Eric Naylor, Kuwait city , Kuwait

When I was younger I was very bad tempered but in later years I became a victim of domestic violence. Once I got out of the situation I was much calmer - to the point that I detest violence of any kind. I am not saying that everyone needs to experience violence to know it is wrong, but someone once said "a clever man learns from his own mistakes, it's a wise man who learns from the mistakes of others". What I mean by this is we all know the effects of violence and the suffering it causes, so let's stop it!
anon, Hamburg

Silence and inaction can cause more havoc and destruction than verbal or physical violence
J Maurice Roche, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Sometimes, silence and inaction can cause more havoc and destruction than verbal or physical violence. My entire childhood was destroyed by people who violated my body and mind on a daily, regular basis. Today, at the age of thirty-five, I have recovered to some extent from the damage inflicted on me during those years. When i look back, I no longer blame those who violated me, but those who chose to ignore what was happening. Their silence and inaction is what really caused the situation to go on and on. Conflict and violence is bad enough. Silence and inaction is much worse.
J Maurice Roche, Colombo, Sri Lanka

A question that I often ask is how much are we affected by the violence of world events conveyed by the media compared to the day to day reality of most people's existence. Yes, I think I am lucky to live in a fairly low violence environment - but I think in reality most of us do. The media just spurs our feelings of dread and threat, and makes the perception of danger probably bigger than what it is. I wonder sometimes if I would sleep better if I shut myself away from global events communicated through newspapers, the radio, TV and the internet. Ultimately the major problem with this, though, is that global public opinion would probably never reach situations where it could make a difference through political pressure or aid or even direct action. Peace to you all
Dick Sweeney, Sydney, Australia (ex-UK)

Violence has really affected my family life. My wife has been so violent towards me that I have decided to lead a separate life away from her and my kids. But I am on my way to plan a visit to my sons every weekend.
Bernard, Moshi, Tanzania, East Africa

It's a good idea, but it tends to ignore the central point I think. Humans are living creatures and such creatures will fight perceived threats to survive. That is the central genetic programming. To those who say they will not hold a gun and fight, I say they are fortunate to have never been forced to make the decision to kill or be killed. Most people will choose the former. Those who will not fight will perish at the hands of those who will. I suggest that the best way to control violence is to somehow influence how people and societies perceive threats; go after the head of the problem, not the hand.
Lee Stephens, USA

Next Tuesday in Israel, you can expect violence as usual
Dan, Israel
If you tell someone around here the phrase "International Peace Day", the most common response you will get is a burst of laughter. That's how it's regarded here. Terror has neither laws nor respect for anything. As you are reading this, there are people in Gaza or the West-Bank who are thinking about one thing only: How to kill as many Israelis as possible. That's what they live for, and an International Peace Day doesn't say anything to them. Even during the so-called cease-fire last year, they never stopped planning attacks on Israelis. There's no negotiating with terror, and a country must do whatever possible to protect its citizens, so next Tuesday in Israel, you can expect violence as usual. Unfortunately.
Dan, Israel

To Dan From Israel: My friend, I am a Palestinian and unfortunately you present a distorted view of the conflict. I do not want war, and I do not want you dead. Peace can be achieved the minute the occupation of Palestinian land comes to a halt. You talk as if the only victims in this bloody conflict are Israelis, but the truth is otherwise. The Number of Palestinian casualties is five times bigger than your victims but still any human being does not deserve to die.

I live in Bangladesh, and in Dhaka (the capital) for 10 years, but unfortunately I can't pass a day without violence like murder, hijack, etc. Now, the majority of people have become feeling-less. They think they are always insecure. The International Peace Day should be celebrated by all the people, all the nations and all over the world to take step against all kinds of violence.
Sumon, Dhaka

The principles and idea behind a global ceasefire on International Peace Day are noble but undermined by terrorists, world leaders and individuals closer to home. How can we expect the "bad guys" to abandon violence when the first response to an atrocity is for the leader of the country that suffered is to threaten ¿war on terror' and to ¿strike' where ever the perpetrators are? I'm not advocating that there's never a case for an armed response but it increasingly seems to be the first choice, not the last one and completely contradicts the aims of a global ceasefire and International Peace Day.

How many people understand that there cannot be peace without justice?
Paul, Bangkok, Thailand
When I hear about an International Peace Day, my first thought is: how many people understand that there cannot be peace without justice? There are different forms of violence. Many of them can be averted with mutual respects at individual level, community level and international level. My second thoughts are the warnings from Gandhi that non-violence is not cowardice, and that self-defence is legitimate.
Paul, Bangkok, Thailand

We think that violence stops you from doing what you want. We are victims of violence every day. Here in Argentina we are kidnapped, we are robbed and afraid of going out alone. This situation will destroy us if we cannot stop it.
Mariano Deluca, Bruschetti Diego, Buenos Aires, Argentina

I have lived through the Yugoslav wars. I was fortunate enough to watch most of it on TV but all the suffering still left a mark on me. I will never hold a gun in my hand and will never act violently towards another human being. That is why I shall always oppose any kind of war. There is no such thing as a just war. Enough was enough! I think International Peace Day is a good idea... I hope it makes at least some of the people think about their values, acts and way of thinking - either at home or in politics.
Damjan Franz, Ljubljana, Slovenia

I have lived in Bombay (Mumbai) since 1967. I have seen much violence since then, and almost all of this was political.
Vkvora, Sewree, Mumbai, India

More desperate measures are needed
Anya, London, UK
Violence is spiralling out of control. I made a comment to a guy I saw stealing last week and he has threatened that something is going to happen to me. Violence over a packet of sandwiches! A person that feels comfortable threatening a small, unarmed female is not going to hold off for an International Peace Day. Sad but true. More desperate measures are needed.
Anya, London, UK

You have to love violence. If some scumbag in the street attacks me, I'm expected to regard it as "one of those things" but if I hit them back then that's assault. As they say, one rule for the rich and another for the poor. A peace day is utterly pointless. It's effectively saying it's fine to kill each other as long as you don't do it on one specified day. How about focussing on humanitarian crises like Darfur instead of spouting even more hot air that achieves nothing?
John B, UK

John B, UK reads too many tabloid stories. No-one would be prosecuted for hitting back in such a case. I for one am getting tired of this ridiculous victim mentality that the middle classes spout day in, day out. Put down your Daily Mail, read stories like those of Sheila from Zimbabwe (below), realise how good you have it and stop whining on about urban myths and right wing propaganda.
Matt, Amsterdam, Netherlands (ex UK)

International Peace Day is a good idea - provided that the media bothers to cover it. Sadly, in a commercial world, violence sells papers and keeps people tuned in to TV - which is important for the ratings war.
Roop, UK

Myself and my partner moved into a first floor flat in May this year. The Data Protection act restricted the Housing Trust from telling us the former tenants dealt in drugs and owed money to the utility companies. They also failed to advise us of a convicted criminal below us! This person, not only threatened to kill us, he threatened our flat, our car, our families! Three days after we moved in, he set fire to his flat, knowing damn well we were in the house above! Yet until such deeds are done, British justice does not care to act? Now, tell me, do you really think you have justice?
Anon, Winsford, England

I live in a country where violence is something you learn to live with
Yesenia, Bogotá, Colombia
Violence is an issue hard to solve, is inside mankind. I live in a country where violence is something you learn to live with or just get used to. There's violence in the street, in the families, in the country, everywhere. Maybe a peace day would make a little difference and give us a little rest, but it is not the solution. Firstly we need to heal hearts, souls and minds, otherwise it is impossible to talk a terrorist into leaving his weapons or to teach a parent not to hurt his child.
Yesenia, Bogotá, Colombia

I have experienced all three - war, terrorism and domestic violence. It is terrifying - like a nightmare that you can't seem to shake off. So Yes, every little bit helps. Deciding to be kind and tolerant, even if one just begins with a day, is a giant step forward and having a day devoted to peace and knowing that on that day others are thinking about and celebrating the possibility of peace is a tremendous step towards a more conscious and responsible humanity.
Amari, Manhattan, USA

Every time we hear of yet more acts of barbarism & carnage, it makes us feel negatively about the world in which we live - and our negative thoughts then add to the chaos of the world. We need to try and be positive in the midst of all this bloodshed and destruction. Only with Love can we overcome all the Fear and the Hatred in this world.
Lisa Bezuidenhout, Johannesburg, South Africa

If it's that important and people feel that strongly about it, how comes it was so badly advertised? This is the first I've heard of it and I think we all know EXACTLY how much difference it'll make... None what-so-ever!
Mike, Croydon, Surrey.

The acceptance of violence by society affects everyone
David Derby, CT, USA
Violence, and the acceptance of violence by society, affects everyone in both outwardly visible and invisible ways. Even if you don't experience violence directly, your mood and your outlook can be profoundly affected by the knowledge of violence. We all see horribly violent acts on television every day. I'm not speaking of fictional violence, but of the real horror that we see in Iraq, Darfur and even our home towns on a daily basis. Seeing and thinking about these situations has a generally depressing effect. Even the daily knowledge that one's country is at war gnaws at the back of one's mind and people engage in conversation about this subject that is bothersome. Again, this leads to a generally more depressing mood and tone during the day.
David Derby, Windsor Locks, CT, USA

Lao Tze said, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." This is also true here, except this time it begins with the laying down of a single knife or gun or even a fist. Violence has no place in this world.
Ron, Sacramento, Ca, US

If one person lays down their weapon and does not commit the act of violence that would have taken place; just one person, then the day was a complete success.
Philip, Ottawa, Canada

Often we witness the violence of the mighty around us, validating the idea that "might is right". If we look at our ourselves, in our houses, amidst our friends, etc, even we might have strutted around mightily at some point in time. I admit I have been violent (verbally, not necessarily physically) with my wife and children. But that is not often, and I am learning to be non-violent even with my family. But, how do we correct/ stand up against the violence of the "mighty"? Is the "violence of the mighty" simply a fact of life that we should live with, wherever we are in the world ?
Peter K., Karnataka, India

Violence is worldwide, I'm starting to think that London is as bad as sub-Saharan Africa. I have had my mobile phone stolen during a Bible Study, my passports stolen out of my luggage locked in a church, and been attacked on the streets and at bus stations for refusing to break my Vows like I look like some sort of prostitute and not a Franciscan, even though I'm wearing my habit. I came to this country to teach Maths and Science, not to have to keep beating attackers off me with a hockey stick.
Sr. Pamela, London, England

A lot of violence in our lives begins in our homes and cities
Violence takes many forms. I grew up with a mother who was violent in not a physical sense but a psychological sense. I am lucky that I adjusted to my surroundings, and grew up to be a good citizen. I believe that a lot of violence in our lives begins in our homes and cities where we grow up. We see it on TV, Movies and other forms of entertainment. It is everywhere. International peace day is such a good thing. Lets hope that everyone takes the day to reflect, and appreciate life, and appreciate our neighbours and families. Put aside our differences, and celebrate our similarities.

Incredibly naive to think that this will in any way change things. I would guess that only a small minority of the world even know about it. I found out just now on this website. There's been nothing on the television or radio or newspapers that I've come across.
Gareth, Bermuda

I'm 51. I still remember sirens going off in grade six and being shuffled down to the school basement where we were told to sit on the floor for a period of about 10 minutes. It wasn't a fire drill, it was a nuclear fallout drill. And it was in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Every day for as long as I can remember, there has been some form of violence relayed to me describing an endless variety of atrocities by human beings through an ever growing number of media sources. I've become immune to violence. I was able to watch the carnage in Beslan without a flinch. It was on for several days. The same images over and over. Isn't that exactly how the powers that be want us to feel?
Bill, Canada

As a child, I would wake up in the middle of the night and find a Rhodesian soldier's gun pointing at my head
Shiela, Zimbabwe
I grew up in a war torn country. As a child, I would wake up at times in the middle of the night and find a Rhodesian soldier's long barrel of his gun pointing at my head. The long knife that was attached to the gun would be right by my forehead. On all occasions, I would just look up at him, turn around and fall asleep. He was free to blow my brains out if he wanted to. Later, in high school, we had this song, which was about how we had a dream that all men had decided to stop fighting and they had thrown their guns and uniforms on the streets and had promised never to fight again. After that song, there would always be a moment of silence, tears and an earnest wish for that dream to come true. Yes, I believe International Peace day is a very good thing. Just for one day, we will dream about giving peace a chance, and maybe one day, it will happen.
Sheila, Zimbabwe

I grew up with a very unpredictable, violent father, waking up in the morning not knowing if I was going to get smacked, punched or whatever, or if I would have a nice day with a loving father. A child can hardly say 'Please don't hit me today, it is International Peace Day' and expect to be spared. You have to be a rational person to understand the meaning of peace, and most instigators of domestic violence are exactly the opposite of that. Nice idea, not very practical though, sorry.
Anon, Wales

Violence affects everyone whether they realize it or not. It affects how we feel, how we behave and the decisions we make every day. We must use caution and we must avoid dangerous situations because there is indeed danger in the world to avoid. World peace is a childish ambition because there are too many cultures, history and violence between the peoples of the world to ever be completely forgotten. As long as there is hate, there will be violence.
Sarah, Coventry, UK

I cannot see how they expect anyone to stop fighting for their rights
Simon, UK
I am a pessimist, I don't think a "ceasefire day" will make any difference in this day and age. In the ancient days, a global ceasefire was agreed for every Olympic Games, but wars have changed drastically since those days. I cannot see how they expect anyone to stop fighting for their rights and for their loved ones, even for one day.
Simon, UK

I am a victim of violence in the sense that I live fearful of it, both in my homeland (Mexico) and in my host land (Germany), especially because I have a young child.
Eugenia Kothe, Idstein, Germany

This is naive and pointless. Is the UN seriously expecting terrorists to stop bombing and contemplate their navels for a day? Can you imagine an abusive husband waiting an extra day before hitting his wife? It's preaching to the converted in my opinion.
Alan Montague, Aylesbury, Bucks

In the 1980's I used to visit Belfast regularly on business. I was evacuated from the Europa Hotel on three occasions, saw a bomb detonate on one of those occasions, and heard gunshots and saw distant clouds of smoke on more occasions than I can remember. More recently, I had a gun pulled on me in a Texas bar when I expressed an opinion on the Northern Ireland situation that one of the regulars disagreed with. Nowadays I keep my opinions to myself unless I'm with people who I know, or contributing to an anonymous forum such as this.
John, England

I used to live with domestic violence, week in week out for 5 years
Allyson, UK
I used to live with domestic violence, week in week out for 5 years, neither party liked it, it was just one of those things that kept happening that we thought would never stop. We have both changed irrevocably due to it, but are now pulling through. Like an alcoholic you can never consider yourself to be in the clear, but 2 years later we're still going strong. It can be beaten, despite the fact that this is not mentioned anywhere.
Allyson, UK

Violence is just one of the negative things that affects my life. The millions of lives claimed by armed conflicts are not much compared with the people who die unnecessarily because of hunger, illness, fat food, cigarettes, guns, etc. I wonder what would happen if these got as much attention on the news every day as the armed conflicts do? However, being part of a solution is always better, so yes, joining will make a difference.
David, Riga, Latvia

Great! Just hide on the 22nd because everyone will be wanting to catch up!
Kevin, Liverpool, UK

We should not even be debating violence. It has come to a point where the country is under threat from so call terrorists threats and everyone should be looking out for each other to prevent conflict or violence.
S White, London

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