“Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.”  Ronald Reagan

While it may not have been specifically drawn off of the aforementioned quote from the former United States president, Wednesday’s X-Roads Peace Games, staged in recognition of United Nations Peace Day, yet emphasised the need for Bermuda to find equanimity in troubled times.

Sponsored by X-Roads Warriors Football Club and backed by the Bermuda Committee on Human Fraternity, religious leaders, community activists and the everyday person engaged in a circular walk-run from and to Warrior Park via Harrington Sound and South Shore, along with various other sporting, fun, festive activities.

Once back at the field attendees were feted with harmonic jazz tones from the dual saxophones of Miles Manders and Keith Lee.

In answer to questioning from event MC and long-time newsman Rick Richardson’s question, as to the significance of the gathering, Mr Manders expressed the need for greater communityinvolvement in the removal of the rising tide of anti-social behaviour, saying, “Our community is in dire need of some healing in certain areas, especially with our youth and this gun violence and all other types of violence..
“And we just need our community to come together, acknowledge it and then make plans to eradicate it.

“So, the only way to do this is to come together and this peace walk/rally is a beginning.”

While Mr Manders spoke to widespread concern regarding surging hostooties among local  particularly youth — factions, the theme being promoted this year by the intergovernmental organisation UN was one relative to racial discrimination and prejudice, entitled ‘End Racism. Build Peace’.

Also prominent among those at the gathering were Emir Saleem Talbot, Imam of the Bermuda Islamic Cultural Centre at Harrington Sound and Bishop Wes Spiewak of the Catholic Diocese of Hamilton, who swalked the route while sharing the colourful X-Roads Peace Games banner.

Upon returning from the walk each reflected upon the moment’s experience.

“The experience was wonderful,” began Mr Talbot. “We had the physical benefit, the exercise. We had the mental benefit, to clear the mind. And it was a spiritual walk, reflecting on the peace we so badly need in our own country, let alone overseas.

“So, this was a good walk. We talked the whole time. We looked at the ocean. We looked at the skies. We looked into the eyes of each other and we found that, yes, we’re brothers … brothers in humanity. No matter what race we’re all one race.”

Meanwhile a jovial Bishop Spiewak relayed his own joy at being drawn to take part in the community enrichment event.

“I am always recommended by my doctors to walk. My doctors were unable to put me on the road to walk, but Emir Saleem was able to do that, so you see the quality of persuasion he has on me,” said Spiewak before turning more serious.

“These are the little things, signs and symbols of something very important, which is what Saleem is always saying, we are able to live in peace with one another, religions, ethnicities, we can do that.

“As humanity, if we feel that, we can all do it as (equal) parts among the human fraternity.

“And, today, when the president of Russia called for another 300,000 men for the army to send to war, our little thing, which may not be 300,000, but our group is saying that we don’t want war, but peace and we want our kids to grow in peace and to be happy.”

In furtherance of the Games, a community football game is being planned for next month at Warrior Park.

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