Arina Abu Bakir was awarded the Second Prize in 2020 for her essay:
Peace; freedom from disturbance. It is something were all working for, yet we can’t achieve it. Every day brings new challenges which we must face. These challenges cannot be battled by one single person. It needs a society: attentive, sympathetic, just, mature, and united.
It is the year 2020, the 21st century, and we are having problems which happened centuries ago. In 1945, there was the holocaust, a mass murder of millions of Jews by the Germans. 75 years later, Uyghur Muslims are being kept in concentration camps and are being tortured, killed, stripped of their own skin and religion. Yet, the world and media are so quiet. No attention has been given to this event and it is still occurring as we take every gulp of polluted air. It is happening all over again right in front of our eyes; a war because of differences, tearing nations apart.
In 1865, slavery supposedly came to an end. However, it’s 2020 and I am still questioning whether that is factual. We still have black slaves across the world and black lives are still at risk. The Black Lives Matter movement told me a lot. People can come together and unite to fight the daily battles many are going through. Black, innocent lives are being stolen by the people who are supposed to keep us safe.
Same-sex marriages are illegal in many countries around the world: can’t people just love who they want to love? Isn’t the world being stripped of human emotion? Abortions have become prohibited in many countries. Completely wrong in my opinion. Our body, our choice. So much is happening, however so little is being done to help fight these things.
The Declaration of Human Rights clearly states: we are all born free and equal, do not discriminate, no torture, no slavery, the right to marriage and family, freedom of expression, and most importantly no one can take away our human rights.
Peace is not just the lack of war. It is the presence of our human rights – we live in a world where we cannot even have that. Albert Einstein once stated, “Peace cannot be kept by force: it can only be achieved by understanding”. Stepping forward, we should all come together and try to understand one another as much as possible and try to remain serene and respectful. We should strive to live in a world where the colour of our skin, our gender, our religion, our race, our sexuality, and our background does not affect the way we live. With every breath we take, we should be able to feel safe and comforted by our surroundings. There is so much we can do — we possess more power than we think. We can make this place better for the next generation and be in the history books for the change we made: we can alter the future with our words and actions. We could be revolutionary.
Peace is not just a moment. It’s an everlasting movement.