Editorial – A Journey Begins

Editorial – A Journey Begins

This is the first issue of the magazine PAX LUMINA published by the Loyola Institute of Peace and International Relations (LIPI), Kochi, Kerala. LIPI has been publishing for the past five years a monthly magazine in Malayalam, the language of Kerala. Also as part of its peace-making and peace-building activities it has been conducting training programmes and workshops for teachers, students and others from all walks of life who seek peace. This magazine is an attempt at broadening the scope of these activities beyond the geographical limits of Kerala. But the objective remains the same. Peace. And the concerns too remain, viz. conflicts, reconciliation, non-violence, justice, hope and love. Of course, all these are desirables, but how to achieve them, how to even desire them are what we hope to discuss through this magazine. And we believe peace in itself is the moral imperative which should illuminate our thoughts, discussions and actions in this regard.

Today the context of our discussions for obvious reasons is COVID-19. Many things about this disease and the virus/viruses causing it are unkown. But certain pointers are unwavering in their direction. The disease is global. The virus hardly respects human barriers, categories and power structures. And the prevailing leadership models at various levels are floundering.

On the other hand, a desperate search has started. For a cure, a refuge, a home and finally a ventilator and some oxygen. Old certainties seem fuzzy. Linear equations of power and money have become chaotic and yield no solutions. The controllers do not control anything. The situation admittedly is grim. And panic is creeping
in. Solutions are not clear in sight. But the questions that come up with this pandemic are real and sharp.

For example: Is the corona virus a result of natural evolution or the product of human action?

In either of these cases, ramifications are grave. The former points to a possible scenario where the Planet Earth seeks retribution of the violence inflicted upon it. And the latter to the self-destructive need of those in authority to dominate, control and decimate who they consider to be the other. Actually the legion of others. Or: What is the role of globalization in this pandemic?

Global interconnectivity of the world today is a reality. Is undoing this the solution? Even if it is so, is it feasible? To what extent is this desirable?
Or: Who are the most affected in this pandemic and who cares for them?
There are some impressionistic images about this from around the world in this issue.
Or: Will COVID-19 teach humans how to live a less conflicted and more peaceful post-pandemic life?
We will have to wait and see. There are many such questions bordering on individual’s attitudes and behaviours in the face of human suffering and mortality to the collective anxieties of survival of not only sapiens but of every living and non-living being on this planet. And probably here lies the first lesson from COVID-19, a lesson in humility.

In this issue, our writers have raised some of these important questions, shared their experiences of peace and hope in these COVID times as well as during other struggles they have encountered and are worth remembering now and have also indicated some tentative approaches to solutions. We place them before you admitting that we do not possess a panacea either for the ruthless damage being caused by COVID-19 or for the structural malaises of the present world order it has graphically exposed.

But this magazine starts its journey with a belief that hope is a choice and thoughtful choices can lead to meaningful actions. We invite all of you to be our partners in this journey of dialogue and action. We also hope that you will enrich us with your suggestions and feedback for this magazine as well as provide us with actionable opportunities for making peace a reality for everyone and everything on this planet.

Jacob Thomas
Editor



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