“Annual Pilgrimage an Enduring Plea for Peace”

“Annual Pilgrimage an Enduring Plea for Peace,”

By Mimi Lang, Dec. 7 2017 – Lehigh Valley Live and Express Times

“War is not the answer” is a moral statement and also a serious observation of what doesn’t work. In this season of light, we find the U.S. engaged in war for the last 15 years and we await with dread a conflagration on the Korean peninsula.

It is not an easy task in our world at war to create the hope that accompanies the celebrations of Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanza and winter solstice. We search for signs that peace may have a chance in a country that seems incapable of finding a way to peaceful dialogue within our borders and across them. This weekend of a local event and an international one give us a glimmer of light.

On Saturday walkers will embark on the 58th annual Peace Pilgrimage from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Begun during the war in Vietnam, it is a simple effort that asks us to spend a few hours away from headlines, holiday preparations and our busy lives, to step back and quietly make a statement of peace by just walking.

Pilgrims walk along Route 191 carrying stars and candles into the city of Bethlehem. Some walk to remember the biblical journey of Mary and Joseph. Others walk to be a witness for peace. There are several church/respite stops along the way. Rides are available for those who want to walk part of the 10 miles. Soup and sandwiches and our speaker, Roberta Meek, end the day at Christ United Church of Christ. Her topic will be, “We who believe in freedom cannot rest: Racism in the current era. For information call 610-865-5204 or go to www.peacewalk.org.

On Sunday in Oslo, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons will be awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. ICAN is a coalition of non-governmental organizations in 100 countries promoting adherence to and implementation of the United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty.

Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima survivor and ICAN campaigner, will accept the prize with ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn. ICAN was a major participant in the UN effort to establish the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons adopted by 122 countries on July 7 in New York. The treaty is an international agreement to eliminate weapons of mass destruction and suggests a pathway to their elimination. It awaits final ratification and signature.

Unfortunately, none of the nine countries that have nuclear weapons participated in the adoption of the treaty. ICAN’s motto is: The story of nuclear weapons will end in one of two ways: their destruction or ours. To learn more, go to www.icanw.org.

We are grateful for the brave walkers who include the Peace Pilgrimage in their seasonal celebration and the courageous ICAN participants who have spent years trying to convince us that a world without with nuclear weapons is essential for our survival.