Greeting the world in peace
If you think of culture
as an iceberg, only a small fraction of it is visible. Food, flags and
festivals, which are often talked about in schools, are the visible parts that
we rightly celebrate. However, only when we look deeper, under the water, are
we able to focus on the common values that connect us. In what seems to be an
increasingly troubled world, where social and political systems are being
stretched, conflict within and between
countries is at times heightened, while human rights
are being ignored, this desire for peace grows ever stronger.
Sometimes we see this
common value emerging above the surface and becoming visible. For example, it
is part of everyday language used when people greet one another and welcome the
new day. In many parts of the Arab world and parts of South Asia, such as
Bangladesh for example, the greeting of "as-salamu alaykum" can be
translated to "peace be with you."
The same is true as you
walk through markets or into schools each morning in India, Nepal, or Bhutan, where
greetings of "namaste," which has not only a strong message of peace –
"the spirit in me greets the spirit in you" – but also its physical
gesture, the palms brought together slowly at the heart, to honour a special
place in each of us.
In Myanmar, greetings of
"mingalarbar" are met by bowing monks as they internalise a message
where others add blessing to enhance the auspiciousness of the moment, or by
giggling children as they scurry off to school. After many hours of hiking
through the mountains of Lesotho, surrounded by the tranquillity and rugged terrain,
you are likely to meet a herdboy who has slept the night in a vacant rondoval
and bellows out greetings of "lumela" or "khotso", which
means "peace be with you."
If you took a moment to
research further the meanings behind "shalom," or the Korean greeting,
you would find that they too have deeply-seated connections to peace. However,
they have become quick comments made to welcome, greet, and say hello, and in
this overuse, have likely lost the focus that was originally intended when put
into practice hundreds or thousands of years ago. In highlighting this simple
evidence of ingrained behaviour, we can create the necessary shift in thinking needed
to incorporate flexibility and open-mindedness in us all when looking at the
globalisation of the world.
Source: TED Ed – By Jackie