April 30, 1975 . At 4:03 a.m., two U.S. Marines are killed in a rocket attack at Saigon‘s Tan Son Nhut airport. They are the last Americans to die in the Vietnam War. At dawn, the last Marines of the force guarding the U.S. embassy lift off. Only hours later, looters ransack the embassy, and North Vietnamese tanks role into Saigon, ending the war. In 15 years, nearly a million North Vietnamese Army and Vietcong troops and a quarter of a million South Vietnamese soldiers have died. Hundreds of thousands of civilians had been killed. (http://www.pbs.org/battlefieldvietnam/timeline/index4.html)
Forty years since the end of the war in Vietnam. What have we learned?
We have learned that war is good for nothing. We have learned that violence doesn’t solve anything, it only begets more violence. We have learned that war wounds physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, and leaves permanent scars that never fade away.
We have learned that those who decide about waging war, and those who profit from it, don’t go to the battlefield; they stay in their safe, well protected, comfortable, luxurious environments, counting their monetary gains without regard for the destruction, devastation, pain and suffering they bring to the world. We have learned that those who decide to send others to fight wars do so because they are greedy, not because they are compassionate. We have learned that we fight because we are fearful, not because we are brave.
We have learned that we, human beings, are very much alike, that we all have the same dreams and that we all bleed and die. We have learned that we are all brothers and sisters, and, actually, don’t have anything against those we fight against. If you believe, as I do, that we are spiritual beings having human experiences, then you have learned, as I did, that killing people deprives human beings from having the experiences they are supposed to have, and learn the lessons they are supposed to learn during their passages on this earth.
We have learned that ideas divide us, but ideas are not worth killing for. We have learned that nations and borders, and things such as patriotic pride, are abstractions created by us, and that we can go beyond these concepts and look at Planet Earth as one indivisible whole, as one spaceship that is traveling through the Cosmos upon which we, all of us, are together.
We have learned that we have to strike the roots of evil, and put an end to this senseless system that we have created, this monstrous, voracious beast that oppresses, exploits, brings about poverty and despair, enhances inequalities, creates social tensions and violence, and wounds the planet. We have learned that we need to put an end to this system that actually doesn’t benefit anyone, not even those few who believe are benefiting from it.
The truth is that we can organize ourselves to live on this planet in much better ways. We live in a place of abundance where there is more than enough for everyone to have safe, dignified, joyous, and blissful existences. We can put an end to poverty. We have the resources, the intelligence, and the creativity to make life immensely better. We are capable of taking care of everyone, of all creation. The time has come to redirect all the resources we currently use to attack others and defend ourselves, and use these resources to create a better world for all.
These are some of the lessons we have learned.
Yes, we are still waging war, aren’t we? But we can do our part, however small, to change that, can’t we? We can stand up and speak up, can’t we? It’s time to join our voices again and say, “Enough! War no more! No more war!” Its time to put our heads together, join our hands, to bring about justice, peace, compassion, care for all sentient beings, and a thoughtful relationship with the environment
May this be the moral compass that will guide us in everything we do.
Go forth and do it. You can do it. Just do it!
Peace and Unity,
Piero Falci is one of the leaders of the Silent Peace Walk movement. Their Peace Walk was included in last year’s September 2014 Week of Actions. For more information and detailed instructions on how to initiate a Silent Peace Walk please visit the website www.SilentPeaceWalk.org
Campaign Nonviolence is a long-term movement to mainstream nonviolence and to build a culture of peace free from war, poverty, the climate crisis, and the epidemic of violence. In 2014, the year in which Campaign Nonviolence was launched, 239 local nonviolent actions were recorded. Join us to plan an action in 2015, September 20-27, learn more here. Get inspired, and take action.