For the past few months, nearly every time of prayer on Epiphany has included prayers for peace in the many areas of conflict around the world. Some conflicts seem to have gone on for a very long time. Before they are resolved, new areas are added. So now we have North Korea and Myanmar to add to Syria, Iraq, Yemen, South Sudan, Nigeria, etc etc. Things may seem worse than usual currently but I think everyone is aware that conflict and war are a common part of human experience.
In an article in July 2003, Chris Hedges stated that: “Of the past 3,400 years, humans have been entirely at peace for 268 of them, or just 8 percent of recorded history.” He gave the total number of people killed in war as between 150 million and 1 billion and stated that at the beginning of 2003 there were 30 wars going on in the world including: Afghanistan, Algeria, Burundi, China, Colombia, the Congo, India, Indonesia, Israel, Iraq, Liberia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Sudan, and Uganda.
The Peace Pledge Union goes further with its figures, stating: “It has been calculated that between 3600 BC and today there have been only 292 years of peace; that there have been over 14,500 major wars in which close to 4 billion people have perished.” Continue reading