Peace: A world without borders


Church of the Brethren Newsline
August 7, 2012

Visitors take pictures of the Peace Bell in Hiroshima, Japan
Photo by JoAnn and Larry Sims
Visitors take pictures of the Peace Bell in Hiroshima, Japan

Borders are everywhere. There are borders separating countries/nations, borders drawn between states or municipalities, and even borders that define factory areas or commerce areas within cities.

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Some say we have to have borders. It keeps areas economically and culturally sound. It is said that borders keep your home safe and protect your family from dangerous “others.” If jobs were available regardless of national origin or immigration status those willing to work for less and employers eager to pay less would corrupt our Social Security system. So...borders are necessary to keep economies functioning and homes safe.

What if borders between countries didn’t exist? What if people could travel from one area to another without hostility? If there were no borders, would countries need weapons to keep people out or in?

The Peace Bell in Hiroshima’s Peace Park in Japan imagines such a world. The bell is a permanent part of the Peace Park. It was crafted in 1964. The bell displays the continents of the earth carved around its surface with no national borders. This design represents Hiroshima’s earnest hope that the world will become one in peace. Every Aug. 15 there is a ceremony at the Peace Bell to remind the world that on that day peace began after World War II.

Is a world without borders a dream today?

There is a medical NGO called, “Doctors Without Borders.” The thrust of this group is to provide medical assistance to people who need help as a result of war, conflict, or natural disaster. These medical teams arrive in an area, set up a clinic--often in some sort of temporary tent, and work to provide medical help to people who come to them. Country of origin, location of home, religious preference, or political allegiance is not important. What is important is to tend to the medical needs of the patient.

At the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima, many guests from around the world gather for breakfast each morning. The conversations often include the sharing of vocations, hobbies, and travel experiences.
 
A French couple explained that she lived in France and worked in Germany. Her companion lives in France and builds buildings wherever the job is. He works in both France and Germany.

A couple from India currently living in London said he was a computer systems sales and installation manager. He lives in London and works part of each week in Brussels. The wife works in London and frequently visits him in Brussels.
 
Families living near the border of Canada and the US frequently shop in the country where their wages have more purchasing power. They often travel from border to border weekly.

One traveler from Pakistan shared his hope for a Peace Museum on the border of India and Pakistan. His hope is to bring peace-loving people from both countries together at a place that celebrates peace, where boundaries are not important. What would be important would be the common heart for peace. His dream is like Hiroshima’s Peace Bell.

Peace: A world without borders is maybe not a dream at all, maybe it is already beginning to happen.

-- JoAnn and Larry Sims are volunteer directors of the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima, Japan. The Sims are working in Hiroshima through Brethren Volunteer Service.

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