THE audience filled the hall of the MexicanCulturalCenter in Los Yoses, including many young people, all committing to work for peace as part of the 7th Annual World Season for Peace.
The April 1 event marked the end of “The Season for Peace,” which is the period of 66 days starting Jan. 30 commemorating the births and deaths of notable peacemakers Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.
The peace gathering is observed around the world under the sponsorship of the United Nations, private associations and government agencies.
The Season for Peace is a time to promote the practices and principles of non-violence, respect for life, justice and tolerance and to find forms of building and strengthening a peace culture.
The closing program included songs by the Singing for Peace chorus (Cantando por la Paz) and piano selections by Jaques Sagot. Sagot also gave the main address about how violence generates more violence and war generates more war.
WARS have never ended war, he said, tracing history back to the Greeks and Trojans. Nor has war eliminated dictatorships or injustice.
Compare the deaths of Princess Diana of Wales to the massacres of 800,000 people in Rwanda at the same time, he asked of the audience. The indifference to violence is evident in the fact that so much attention was focused on the princess and so little on the deaths of the Rwandans.
He also noted that millions of people die of hunger and sickness every year and in Costa Rica, emergency services receive about 7,000 calls a month for domestic violence, all reasons to work for a culture of peace.
EACH year the World Season for Peace presents awards to individuals and organizations working for a culture of peace. This year’s honorees were:
– Cecilia Barrantes Barrantes of Talamanca for community work in the Limón area.
– Libia Díaz Artavia for her work with women against abuse and violence and the rights of older people.
– The staff of the AIDS/HIV clinic in Hospital México.
– The Singing for Peace choir.
VALERIANNE Bernard, of the Universidad Mundial Brahma Kumaris, closed the program with a meditation ceremony to reflect on a commitment to a peace culture.
Red ribbons were distributed as a symbol of commitment. In Costa Rica, the World Season for Peace is organized by the National Office for the Prevention of iolence and Crime of the Ministry of Justice, the Association Brahma Kumaris, the National Commission for the Rescue of Values, FriendsPeaceCenter and the Association for the Formation of Values.
Dulce Umanzor of the Ministry of Justice coordinated the event.