I love to dance. For me dancing expresses the joy of life. Dancing brings people together. Dancing makes people happy. Many dances encourage people to hold one another, make contact, physically and emotionally. Share.
It’s hard, if not impossible to think of war or violence when you dance. Dancing makes you think about joy and love.
I particularly like to dance to swing music, Lindy Hop, Balboa and Shag are the dances I love, but I enjoy Rock and Roll too and I’ve tried Salsa, and ballroom dances like Tango, Fox Trot and Cha Cha Cha.
At school we did Country dancing, Scottish dancing, Morris dancing and I’ve even tried a traditional London dance called ‘Doing The Lambeth Walk’.
They’re all fun. Frankly if everybody danced nobody would go to war. The only logical argument against pacifism and disarmament is that it requires all countries in the world to do likewise. If you live in fear of your neighbour, you feel the need for some protection.
I dream of a mature, grown up world where no country is prepared to go to war. A world where every country cares about its neighbour’s well being, its neighbour’s economy, standard of living, health and safety as much as its own. And caring for our planet goes hand in hand with that.
For such a world to exist all people need to love their neighbour, despite religious or cultural differences.
Yesterday I had the idea for the concept ‘Dancers For Peace’. Today I am compelled to do something about it, to take action instead of just dreaming, on hearing the news that three school girls, on the way to school in Indonesia were beheaded, by a group of young men, on account of religious differences. They hadn’t even finished growing up and forming their beliefs about God, religion or nature.
Peace goes hand in hand with truth and reconciliation, three cheers for South Africa. We need to accept that others have their own way to God. That many people don’t believe in God and that is their right, debate the meaning of life, ways to find God, discuss whatever you wish with your neighbour, out of love, don’t kill him because he doesn’t agree. Whether life is a gift from God or an accident of nature, either way it is a tremendous gift. Dancing brings this truth home to people. If enough people danced, in every country in the world, if the majority in every nation danced and knew the joy and human contact, sharing and interaction it brings, if they openly declared and displayed their belief that war is wrong, then what politician or leader, religious or secular, would dare espouse war. Better still lets get the politicians dancing!
The idea behind Dancers For Peace is to take these thoughts out to the world and encourage millions more people to dance and to declare openly their opposition to conflict, their love for their neighbour. It doesn’t matter what the dance is. I would like to promote dances that bring people together, make contact, but in some countries there may be cultural or religious reasons not to, that’s fine, people can still dance and maybe we’ll help to keep some traditional dances from dying out.
To start things off, my friends and I have designed a Dancers For Peace T shirt and enclosed with every T shirt is this little leaflet explaining what it’s all about. Wear your T shirt until it’s worn out, when it is buy a new one, better still buy two, so you can wear your Dancers For Peace T shirt even when it’s in the wash!
Don’t just wear it to go dancing, although that helps too. Wear it to work, to the cinema, to parties, walking the dog and whenever someone asks you what it’s about you can tell them, or give them a leaflet, or keep a stock of T shirts and sell them one too. Then invite them to go dancing with you and don’t take no for an answer. At the dance or lesson, help them, introduce them around, demonstrate the fun to be had.
All the money from T shirt sales will get ploughed back to print more T shirts and leaflets, until we have enough money to launch Dance For Peace Day.
On Dance For Peace Day it’s hoped that dancers of all kinds, millions and millions of them will hold events in cities, towns and villages all over the world, ideally, in every country in the world, yes every country. It’s a high target. These events should be in public wherever possible, free lessons, free shows. Get on your local television channel if you can. Take the Dancers For Peace message out to more and more new people every year. When more than fifty percent of the population in every country, province, town and state in the world dance frequently, there just might be a world without war. A world of joy, friendship and love.
We may inspire others with other interests to form their own peace movements too, who knows, Athletes For Peace, Footballers for Peace, Skiers for Peace, Sailors for Peace, Motorcyclists for Peace, Chess Players For Peace, over generations we may help to change attitudes for ever.
In the words of veteran peace campaigner and musician Arlo Guthrie, they may call it a movement and friends that’s what it is.
Since writing this somewhat emotional piece I had the idea for a World Peace Foundation. The germ of which idea appears in the last but one paragraph above. It’s probably unrealistic to get the whole world to dance for peace, but it’s not unrealistic to attach the peace message to other peaceful pursuits and hobbies so that everyone can join in. Dancers For Peace though, is still, to my mind, a wonderful idea and a great starting point. A Dance For Peace Day, with at least one dance in every country of the world from North Korea and Iran to Greenland and South Africa is a tough but achievable goal and a terribly powerful media opportunity.
Please read this in conjunction with World Peace Foundation.