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The documentary “Peace One Day” is the brainchild of British filmmaker Jeremy Gilley, a compelling film that has envisioned a world without war even for a day. In the process of conceiving the final output of his documentary, Gilley met with people from all walks of life—state leaders, students, religious figures and many others. Gilley’s encounters with the many different people from different cultural backgrounds indicate that the world is indeed a bastion of different.
But even though there is a plurality of cultures and political beliefs across the world, Gilley’s documentary is a testimony to the idea that we still have the same yearning for global peace. Part of the documentary is Gilley’s encounters with several leaders of democratic countries as well as the members of the United Nations. Given the fact that the United Nations seeks to protect the rule of law and the rights of individuals across different countries, it can be said that the liberal principles of the international organization fitted well with the vision of Gilley to have global peace at least for one day.
Indeed, it would be, as it has been, the least of all the challenges that lay ahead of him. The more pressing concern with the documentary was the fact that even though the rest of the world wants peace, there are many ways used in meeting that end. One of the compelling ways to achieve peace has been the waging of wars across different parts of the world, especially after the September 11 bombing attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. Several political insights can be gleaned from the documentary such as the issues of globalization, terrorism and peacekeeping within the different states.
Since one of the primary goals of Gilley through his documentary is to create an international day of peace through a declaration from the United Nations, doing so meant that the documentary had to transcend issues that have divided nations, issues such as national security and international relations. From within the countries themselves, both national security and foreign policies share a considerable role in maintaining peace within the nation.
More so, the challenge of maintaining international security perhaps weighs double as it requires efforts from the international community. But here you have a documentary film spearheaded by one man trying to augment those efforts to achieve world peace even for a brief moment. It says a lot especially because the United Nations has been established for several years already and that it took them quite a while to realize the need to formally initiate a declaration of an international peace day.
The fact that the United Nations listened to the message of the documentary and even supported the dissemination of the film in different parts of world suggests that the United Nations still maintains a significant consideration for individual rights in the context of the larger society. By fully supporting the message of the documentary—which is to imagine a day where the world is at peace and make that thought materialize in reality—it can be said that there is still hope in global politics.
No matter how severely divided nations may appear, the leaders from each of these nations can still arrive at an agreement that, indeed, there is that ultimate need for world peace. The move of the United Nations also indicates that no matter if you are a leader of a country that is financially torn or a leader of a nation that is struggling to maintain its wealth and its relations with other countries, not one leader can resist the need for world peace. The issues of peacekeeping and terrorism have strongly resounded more than before.
With that in mind, the documentary easily hits the nail hard—the post 9/11 world has never been the same again, and a documentary film highlighting the need to transcend political affiliations in order to grab the beacon of peace fits perfectly well into the mold. However, it can also be said that the same issues of peacekeeping and terrorism hinder the documentary from reaching the awareness of the public in a global scale. That is, only those individuals who have access to the mainstream media and have the “tools” of the media can be able to avail of the documentary and grasp its message.
And while the documentary simply serves the purpose of reawakening the hidden desire of humanity for a lasting peace and, consequently, a better life and that these things can be said are inherent to people regardless of age, gender and ethnicity, the limitation of the documentary from being spread all-over the world means much is needed to be done. The fact that there are many languages and cultural factors which largely influence the political thought of various individuals implies that the main medium of the message—the English language—may likewise limit the ‘reach’ of the documentary.
Some others may even stretch the argument that the documentary is just another form of Western expansion under the guise of the claim for a world peace day. That is, by allowing the documentary to penetrate the collective consciousness of non-Westerners, the documentary in effect influences the thinking of the ‘natives’ of foreign countries, thereby altering the ways in which they think about their respective countries.
For instance, an Iraqi who may have a deep resentment towards the presence of American soldiers in Iraq—which the Iraqi may tend to interpret as American occupation—may perceive the documentary as either another form of Western expansion in a different substance or an enlightening film that enriches his understanding of the nature of his country and the need for peace right in his own land.
Indeed, the efforts mounted by Jeremy Gilley along with the rest of the supporters of the film, from the United Nations to the private citizens across different countries, point to the many conflicts in the world, amplified in no small way by political differences. Realists may believe that the world is in a state of anarchy and that the need for military and economic security, but even realists cannot deny the need for world peace. Regardless of political background, “Peace One Day” reflects what all people share—the importance of peace on a global landscape.