Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, January 11, 2002

Awareness gives peace a chance

By Lee Cataluna
Advertiser Columnist

A friend told me about the public service announcement running on local television stations and I thought he was joking. I mean, who needs to be told not to throw things at the bus? But there it was, running on late-night TV somewhere between an old episode of Oprah and the re-broadcast of the local news: Three serious-looking representatives of the bus drivers' union staring gravely into the camera and saying, "Throwing things at the bus is a crime. Please . . . don't throw things at the bus."

What is this place coming to if we need to be told that throwing stuff at the bus is not a good idea?

So I'm thinking about this while waiting in line at Starbuck's Kahala Mall on a busy afternoon when all of a sudden the shopping center's security system goes off. Lights flashing, alarm blaring, an overly calm voice saying, "Attention. Attention." The whole business. I turn around to see if anyone's racing for the nearest exit. Nothing. No one. Folks hardly even looked up from their lattes.

We've come a long way since September. Maybe too far. It's like we've slipped from hyper-vigilance into some anesthetized state without spending much time in calm, rational consciousness.

We quickly went from global politics and national security to perseverating on speeding tickets and whether we can take an umbrella into Aloha Stadium.

This idea of staying in a state of responsible, proactive consciousness is at the heart of an effort called "A Season for Peace and Nonviolence." The organizing committee is still putting specifics together, but the overall picture is to set aside Jan. 30 through April 4 to focus on the principles of nonviolence. There will be lectures, seminars, concerts and workshops, all designed to impart real skills and practical ideas, as opposed to flowery talk and unrealistic preaching.

Committee members plan to cast a wide net and address issues from violence in the home to workplace safety to school-yard bullying. It's the idea of peace starting at the most personal level. Even pegging things at public transportation falls under a couple of topics.

Event organizers are the first to admit they're asking a lot. It's hard to stay conscious in this scary, frustrating world. It's so tempting to tune out. Living your life fully aware and personally responsible takes strength.

You're going to be hearing more about the Season for Peace. The events will start popping up on calendar listings. You might even want to check out the Web site at www.seasonforpeace.com.

The hope is that we'll use this time of turmoil as a catalyst for change. We got a big enough wake-up call. We have to resist the urge to hit the snooze button and slip back into unconsciousness.

Lee Cataluna's column runs Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Reach her at 535-8172 or lcataluna@honoluluadvertiser.com