Twenty Fifth Anniversary for Peace by Stuart Rees
To celebrate a precious goal
all need to carry and to know
a vision for a life-time high
from pole to pole, from land to sky
prescriptions for a world to run
a marathon in sight and mind
so, no-one ever falls behind
in contest for humanity
where human rights in poems rhyme
and music sounds a long-lost chord,
for peace with justice, now’s the time.
To first peace prize of noble rank
creator of the Grameen Bank,
then joyful Tutu raised the bar,
with humour heard from Africa,
and one small country showed us how
East Timor thrived on brave Gusmao,
while dignity from lawyer came,
inspired Bill Deane of Mabo fame,
as Mary Robinson switched on lights
for universal human rights,
unique Hanan saw life as fine
if freedom came to Palestine,
then Arundhati’s beauty sings
for life, for love, ‘God of Small Things’,
for children manacled to wars,
UN’s Otunnu opened doors.
Amnesty’s Khan saw life as rough
‘the choice of peace is always tough’,
Hans Blix confirmed: inspector sent,
witness Iraq’s disarmament.
Indigenous Patrick spelt the range
for citizens in search of change,
of Pilger’s stands all should be proud,
‘expose abuse but speak out loud’,
to warn of earth’s survival plight
Vandana gave the planet rights.
The Peace Foundation’s next contrive,
Renaissance Man would soon arrive,
in crammed Town Hall for all to see
the revolutionary Noam Chomsky.
The last few years maintained a high
Zimbabwe’s heroine Sekai,
though populists were hard to please
when Burnside spoke for refugees.
Thai’s Cynthia lived her doctor stance
‘gainst Burmese generals’ violence,
for peace through art his skills laid bare
we recognized George Gittoes flair.
To save the planet’s rights and thine
repeated sage Naomi Klein,
then market profits knocked for six
by Nobel winner Joe Stiglitz,
all women’s lives took to the stage
as Me Too Movement came of age,
campaigners next with no more patter,
‘Demand to show that Black Lives Matter’,
so too creators of The Voice
for peace with justice one more choice,
a weighty task no light touch feather
Uluru asks we walk together,
this fitting milestone within reach
for more peace years, much more to teach.
Stuart Rees AM
Sydney, Australia. May 9th 2023.