Thanks to Tyler’s second annual Art of Peace Festival, I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of peace. Friday was the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, calling for a cease fire around the world.
The two leaders agreed to attend, but the conversations got heated. At one point, Carter was personally delivering messages between the two leaders from other sides of the facility, the storyteller recounted.
The talks lasted almost two weeks and were highly volatile, with each leader threatening to leave. Carter used his friendship with Sadat to get him to stay, but when Begin threatened to leave, Carter took the advice of his secretary.
“Does he have any grandchildren?” she asked.
It turned out Begin had eight grandchildren.
Carter came to Begin with eight autographed photos, each signed “Peace, Jimmy Carter,” Ms. McCrady recalled.
As Begin looked at the photos, tears came to his eyes.
A key element to peace is a personal touch.
It’s easy to fight with people you don’t understand. When you don’t know what you have in common, it’s easy to dehumanize.
During Carter’s speech telling the world that a peace treaty had been reached, he was interrupted by applause 25 times. In the speech he quotes one of Jesus’ beatitudes, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the negotiations.
Peace doesn’t just happen. Like anything worth having, it takes work. It means searching for something we have in common, even when it’s not immediately obvious what those things are.
May we all be willing to make the effort every day.