by Hazel Krantz
“You talk a lot about peace,” the skeptic said, “but do you even know what that peace would look like?”
We wish we could answer in the affirmative, but we can’t. Our vision of peace starts from the world we know, one with far too little peace. Maybe we imagine the opposite – a world without war and cruelty and famine, an earth without polluted water and soil and air, a healthy economy that isn’t built upon a culture of consumption and exploitation. We might consider that a starting place and, from there, build to a world where libraries are celebrated, or where every child can look forward to a hopeful future.
On this Christmas Eve, we offer one member’s dream of a peaceful future. Hazel Krantz is the author of ten books, primarily young adult novels. As she put it, this might be a short vignette, or the beginning of a story. There is something particularly optimistic in contemplating a beginning when we are arriving at an end.
Our wish for you, in this season of celebration, is that you will join us in greeting the New Year with hope.
by Hazel Krantz
December 31st, 2099
The light appeared suddenly, streaking across the sky. It expanded until it covered the entire earth, night and day. It whispered, “Love one another.” Then it disappeared and the sky looked as it always had.
But something had entered the consciousness of all mankind. There had been a forgetting. No one could remember anger and hate and revenge.
A great sense of purpose surged through mankind. The earth must be nurtured, its waters kept pure, its air washed clean. Growing things must be tended, their fellow creatures protected. The humans stopped killing animals for food or hunting them for sport. They noticed strange objects, guns and bombs and cannons. What was their purpose? It was a mystery. The people took them apart and made useful things out of them.
The nations of the world discovered they had funds marked “Military.” That was a puzzle! The nations sent representatives to a conference and they decided to build a garden. It would be next to the Sahara Desert, miles of unused land. Desalinization plants brought water to the desert and it drank thirstily until its soil was rich and brown. It glistened with golden wheat and nourished a young forest of fruit trees, thriving in the warm sun. Warehouses were crammed with food, ready to be sent to wherever there was famine or disaster. Great water tank planes were ready to suck up floods or water parched fields.
In the center of a great plaza, rose a pure white obelisk, celebrating mankind. The plaza was ringed with white buildings. There was the Meeting Hall of the Nations, with all the languages of the earth inscribed in gold above the pillared portico, those precious words – “Love, Protect.” The huge hospital and research center, named for the Nigerian doctor who had discovered the cure for cancer, arched around the bend. Next to that was the green-roofed hotel for visitors and workers, and the Friends of Man playground, featuring a whimsical assembly of statues: led by a prancing dog, and followed by cats, chickens, horses, sheep, milk cows and a huge elephant, as squealing kids jumped and climbed all over their cheerful stone visages.
In the center of the Plaza, ringing the great obelisk, were the Gardens of the Nations, tended by young people who volunteered for three month periods. To the chatter of a dozen languages, they seeded, dug and fertilized. These were not just diggers, but medical professionals, engineers, and construction workers trained to aid in disasters anywhere in the world. Sara and AIi, representing the Israel-Palestine Federation, cultivated roses around their trees, orange for Israel and date for Palestine. Next to them, Annie and Jim from the United States planted petunias around their young oak tree. On the other side, Xiou and Myli planted golden Chinese poppies.
“What’s your gig?” Jimmy shouted to Ali.
“Orthopedics. Broken bones are us.”
“You’ve come to the right place.” Jimmy stuck a petunia into a hole.”
“Not so close to the tree. Petunias need light,” Annie scolded. “Horticulture,” she told Sara.
“Early childhood.” Sara poured water around a lily plant.
A siren sounded, and then a voice was heard over the loudspeaker, “Tsunami in Micronesia. All workers report to the planes.”
The gardeners dropped their tools and raced toward the transport planes, already stocked with emergency food and supplies.
“Love and protect!” Their kinsmen in Micronesia were waiting for them.
Hazel Krantz is the author of ten books, primarily young adult novels. Her soon to be released novel, IN THE GARDEN OF THE CALIPH, is set in the Golden Age of Cordoba, Spain, a time during the eleventh century when Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived together in peace.
To learn more about Hazel, click here.
We have received so many wonderful submissions for DoveTales, that our Board of Directors has made the decision to postpone the launch of our first issue to February 1st. Thank you for your support. We’ll keep you posted!
The Writing for Peace Young Writers Contest is in full swing, with entries coming in from all over the globe. The contest is open to writers of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, for ages 13 to 19. Contest deadline is March 1st, 2013. Spread the word to young writers everywhere! You’ll find contest guidelines here.
Copyright © 2012 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.