April 18, 2024 12:04 pm

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Residents bring awareness to global conflicts in march for peace in Mukilteo

MUKILTEO, Wash., December 16, 2023—Residents from Mukilteo to Issaquah gathered to march for peace and to call for a ceasefire this holiday season to all global conflicts.

“We want to bring people together and pray for what’s happening around the world,” Mukilteo City Councilman Riaz Khan told attendees. “We are here only to pray, wherever they [victims of war] are, to make sure they are safe and everyone in the world is safe.”

From the criminal violence in Mexico to the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, there are currently 26 active global conflicts in five continents, according to the Council of Foreign Relations’ Global Conflict Tracker.

march for peace
Mukilteo Councilman Riaz Khan (backrow second left) with March for Peace supporters in Mukilteo on December 16, 2023. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

“We are all from planet earth…not just Gaza needs help, but Ukraine needs support and help,” Reza a resident of Mukilteo told the Lynnwood Times. “In my country, Iran, I haven’t been able to go home in 14 years and they [family] can’t come here.”

Reza shared an excerpt from a poem Bani Adam (“Sons of Adam” or “Human Beings”) by 13th century Persian poet Saadi Shiraz, to emphasize the importance of “people helping people.”

“Human beings are members of a whole, in creation of one essence and soul. If one member is afflicted with pain, other members uneasy will remain. If you have no sympathy for human pain, the name of human you cannot retain.”

The full poem is inscribed on a large hand-made carpet on the wall at the entrance of the United Nations building in New York.

Besides the more known active conflicts of Gaza and Ukraine, earlier this month Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced plans to authorize oil exploration in the Esequibo region of Guyana after voters in his country backed a referendum to make the Esequibo area a new Venezuelan state – a move rejected by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

In October, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, public comments that his landlock county must control a port on the Red Sea, risks sparking another conflict in the Horn of Africa – the world’s busiest shipping route. This week, four of the five busiest global container shipping companies (53% of global shipping) announced suspending travel through the Red Sea for the Suez Canal and to travel around the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa) to the Mediterranean Sea (an additional 5,500-mile journey) because of attacks by Yemeni Houthi rebels.

“150 million people cannot reside in a geographical prison,” Abiy said in his October 13 address, citing Ethiopia’s 2030 projected population figure. “Whether you’d like it or not, [the prison] will blast somewhere.”

Ethiopia lost its access to the Red Sea in 1991 after Eritrea’s independence. The two countries recently went to war between 1998 to 2000, but before that, engaged in a 30-year war that ended in 1991. Estimates are tens of thousands to 300,000 casualties during the conflicts.

“People keep their eyes closed, they don’t pay attention to what is going on,” Tera told the Lynnwood Times who attended from Issaquah. “They don’t open their hearts to see what’s going on, it’s devastating.  It just needs to change, people need to grow towards healing and caring about the collective…we are all one, we are all connected.”

Adel Khan, Councilman Khan’s brother, shared that because Mukilteo “is a very friendly city” he hopes the march is a first step in bringing “peace around the world.”

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