"The Things of Peace"
Write the World Team
Audio: "The Things of Peace" writing prompt
In the early morning of February 24th, the Russian military embarked on an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, setting off a European conflict of a magnitude that hasn’t been witnessed in the region since the final days of World War II. The developing war in Ukraine can feel both alarming and confusing. Moreover, it is a terribly sad moment in our shared history as human beings living on this sometimes wonderful, always delicate planet.
But where there are calls for war and orders for invasion, so too exist appeals for peace and acts of goodwill. On the afternoon following the invasion, the poet Amanda Gorman tweeted:
"There is no such thing as gentle war.
There is no peace
That can’t be flung aside.
Our only enemy is that which would
Make us enemies to each other."
Around the world, people are striving for peace. The Empire State Building, The Eiffel Tower, and the Roman Colosseum have been lit up with the gold and blue of the Ukrainian flag. Thousands of Romanians have driven their own cars to the border of Ukraine, intent on picking up refugees, strangers bound by an unwavering belief in human decency, and taking them to safety. Even in Russia, ordinary citizens are laying flowers at the steps of the Ukrainian embassy. And so there are other stories at play here, myriad tales of empathy, goodness, and abounding care for our neighbors, however near or distant.
These stories bring to mind a quote from Wings of Desire, a film set in a divided, post-war 1950s Berlin:
"My heroes are no longer the warriors and kings.. but the things of peace, one equal to the other. The drying onions equal to the tree trunk crossing the marsh. But no one has so far succeeded in singing an epic of peace. What is wrong with peace that its inspiration doesn't endure... and that its story is hardly told?"
In reference to, and in defiance of, the attack on Ukraine, consider that unsung epic of peace. How might we relay the abiding beauty of peace today, so that we may finally stop “making us enemies to each other” in the future? We must not forget the good that writing can do in solidifying relationships, calming our minds, and championing understanding across borders. Write the World is a global community, and you, its writers, are both engineers of our community’s power as well as symbols of the radiant compassion made real when we pick up the pen.
Consider this prompt as an open invitation to reflect (in any form or style, be it prose or poetry) on the invasion of Ukraine, on the care we can give to one another, and on “the things of peace” that rightfully animate our world.
We encourage young writers to respond to this prompt on the at www.writetheworld.com. If you are a young writer from Ukraine and would like to submit your own dispatch to this series, please reach out at email@example.com. If you’d like to know more about how you can use Write the World in the classroom, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2/3/23, 12:21 AM
Reading this story was realistic and relatble
2/2/23, 11:27 AM
"I collected little glimpses of the north to hoard away for the future, like treasure" is such a beautiful line!
2/2/23, 11:23 AM
What a fascinating piece!
2/2/23, 5:21 AM
One of my favorite pieces ever published on Write the World!
2/2/23, 4:41 AM
Well done Everett on this powerful piece. I hope you continue to write!
2/2/23, 4:40 AM
Well done Genevieve - what a beautiful and evocative piece of writing!
1/17/23, 2:15 AM
This is so beautiful
1/16/23, 3:52 PM
I love all of it. It’s so real and so many feelings are there.
1/5/23, 6:02 PM
This is amazing. Do not ever stop. That is really inspirational, the whole writing piece made me want to help.
1/3/23, 7:19 PM
This article was absolutely amazing! I am so thankful to live in a country where periods and sex are fairly normalized, but I will never forget to educate myself about the lack of education others have. It pains me to know that in countries like India, girls are still put down about what they where and how they act. It was very brave of you to share your voice, and I commend you endlessly for that.
12/8/22, 7:25 PM
I really love this! I, myself, am not black, but I know of a lot of good black people. Sadly, I will admit, at one time, I used to think of a black community filled with gangs and poverty. But I know now how perfectly capable it is to live together if only we got rid of the stereotype that is so, so wrong. I do hope you accomplish this. This will great for our country.
Sorry but can't share the name
12/7/22, 10:40 AM
Basically I don't know how to react.
All the conservatives should be reading this.........