Please join me next Monday in the world-wide movement to commemorate Interdependence Day, September 12, the day after memorializing 9/11. I assume most of you have never heard of Interdependence Day, but if you are not familiar with it please welcome the opportunity to join with others throughout the world to celebrate the spirit and reality of our planetary interconnectedness. It is also an opportunity to recognize how war and the threat of war are so diametrically opposed to the integrity of our hallowed blue planet Earth and the longing, especially perhaps, among the young for a new world order of peace and justice.
The recognition for an annual celebration of Interdependence Day was launched in 2002 by We the World at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development to celebrate the interconnection and interdependence of all life on our planet. They also published the beautiful “Global Declaration of Interdependence” below, and you can still be a signatory of the declaration if you wish.
We, the people of planet Earth,
In recognition of the interconnectedness of all life
And the importance of the balance of nature,
Hereby acknowledge our interdependence
And affirm our dedication
To life-serving environmental stewardship,
The fulfillment of universal human needs worldwide,
Economic and social well-being,
And a culture of peace and nonviolence,
To insure a sustainable and harmonious world
For present and future generations.
The event in Johannesburg that launched Interdependence Day occurred before the beginning of the Iraq war when people throughout the world were joining huge anti-war demonstrations, and there was a palpable expectation that if there were a global cry against war we could stop it. We became One World. On one day, February 15 of 2003, in fact, 600 cities and estimates of between 8 and 30 million people on every continent engaged in what has been called the largest anti-war protest in world history. Sadly - very, very sadly - the U.S. ignored the worldwide stand against war and still launched its invasion of Iraq a month later in mid-March. Consequently the dream of a united and peaceful world envisioned by the founding of Interdependence Day was stifled, as was the vibrant hope to abolish war, and many of us in the U.S. have been numbed to accept “endless war” and the increasingly dangerous mentality of a world divided by religious, geographic, ideological, and wealth distribution which will only assure that war is more likely.
Therefore it’s even more important to reassert the vision on a peaceful, interdependent world. So I am suggesting we strengthen the recognition of a special Interdependence Day celebration on September 12. We are used to a July 4th Independence Day with its self-congratulatory nationalism, exceptionalism, and “bombs bursting in air” recognition of our militarism. Instead, what a thrill it is, really, to celebrate a vision of worldwide interdependence and to “affirm our dedication to life-serving environmental stewardship, the fulfillment of universal human needs worldwide and economic and social well-being and to further affirm a dedication to a culture of peace and nonviolence to assure a sustainable and harmonious world for future generations.”
I’m not sure how we might actually personally and publicly declare our commitment to creating an interdependent world of peace and justice, a blessed planetary community. Perhaps each of us can take a moment during September 12 to share with someone our reservations about war and our commitment to nonviolence. Perhaps each of us can find a way to “interconnect” with someone among our neighbors who probably doesn’t feel “connected" and safe. Perhaps each of us could send this posting to friends to remind and assure them that the sentiment for an interconnected world is shared by millions of others, and that we simply can’t accept the growing schisms in the world. Ask them to post the Global Declaration of Interdependence on a bulletin board.
But I have an even better suggestion: listen to voices of the young in their music and poetry as a means of embodying the spirit of creating world interdependence. I am moved every time I see a video where someone has created a single voice, singing a common song, out of an international ensemble of others around the world. Might their music and poetry become the means toward the political reality they cannot yet fully imagine? If you are interested I suggest you check out, for example, Playing for Change or I have selected one example out of the many ensembles of varied voices raised in songs and anthems of defiance, peace, justice and hope, this time in a fundraising effort for Haiti.