2004 — International Winner:

Hamid Raza , Pakistan



Human beings have always shown an intrinsic inclination for power, greed and aggression. Often to achieve these selfish desires and to be accepted by others, one ignores the cumbersome but enlightened path leading to piety, tolerance and benevolence, and gets indulged in the cosmos of antagonism, violence and hegemony. Yet, he is only a human and also possesses a human heart - a heart that is filled with hidden sentiments, with unexplored territories of love and affection - a heart that longs for peace.

            I am a pacifist and I believe in peace but for me peace does not only symbolize a sense of serenity and calmness, of tranquility and sedateness, but a lot more. I believe that peace is not to relish the splendor of an uninhabited island, but rather it is to live in harmony with people of all creeds, colours and religions, to share their sorrows and joys and to create with them a perpetual bond of brotherhood and friendship. For me, peace is not an elusion from the harsh realities of life like death and disease, but rather from those traumatic news of terrorism, violence and prejudices that we hear round the clock. It is an elusion not only from the ghostly calamities of war but from war itself.

            Growing up near the war-torn country of Afghanistan has not been a pleasant experience for me. I have seen little Afghan boys begging for food, girls as young as seven working as maids in houses and their parents too fatigued with constant endurance and endeavor for survival. The constant civil war has taken their everything - home, prestige and family. Yet they are hopeful, and are ready to forgive and forget to return one day to their homeland - their paradise. This is human nature!

            Of course, as humans we are all liable to make mistakes and have certain shortcomings, but inside the oyster shell there is always the sublime inner self present. We all possess the sense of differentiation between good and bad, between noble and evil. We all have sentiments and feelings and even the most atrocious of us would feel the sensation of a finger being pricked, the sorrow of loosing a loved one or the intensity of the cry of a soul in anguish. The most integral yet subtle part of human nature is the feeling of love and the desire of being loved - which can soften even the core of diamonds.

            In short, I believe that human nature will pave the way for peace, not for war, which will eventually prevail and like a ravishing flower will enlighten our souls. I believe that one day serenity will at last succeed. I believe in human renaissance and evolution - I believe in peace.

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