Peace message for Beirut

When war blemishes a landscape year after pointless year, mankind begins to rebel. The individual citizen's deep yearning for peace begins to sprout, indomitable as a flower in a battlefield.

So it is in Beirut now, after nine years of almost continuous civil war in Lebanon. Little over two weeks ago Iman Khalife, a teacher, penned a brief, blank-verse poem of opposition to continued fighting. It suggests a peace march, and ends:

''Let us walk out of our silence and scream in one voice . . . No to the war . . . No to the 10th Year.''

The poem touched a common mood in Beirut: Many seek an end to the fighting. The peace march, set for May 6, is widely discussed in the city. It may attract thousands. It is not against any side, Miss Khalife stresses: it is for peace.

It is reminiscent of the 1976 peace marches in Northern Ireland, led by two Ulster women who, too, had had enough of killing. The two won the attention of the world, and the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize.

Turning the desire for peace into the achievement of it is exceptionally challenging. Yet it can be done. First, people have to prove that it is peace, above all, that they want.

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