Peace, by Chocolate and Other Means

What does the word “Peace” mean to you? An absence of War is what springs to my mind most readily, but peace is more far-reaching, I know.

I grew up in an environment where language around War and Peace was very cut and dry. That famous book’s title exemplifies this, and possibly perpetuates it too. You are in a state of one, or else the other. If the shooting stops, surely you are experiencing Peace, as though Peace is simply a break from our natural state of killing and harming each other.

Peace of course is much more than this, to a great many people.

Let’s Internet something…

Consulting Wikipedia :

Peace is the concept of harmony and the absence of hostility. In a behavioral sense, peace is a lack of conflict and freedom from fear of violence between individuals and heterogeneous social groups.

The etymology section traces this word back through different cultures to additional root meanings, including, but not limited to: tranquility, harmony, equity, absence of hostility, justice, good health, agreement, and so on. All the Good Things.

It seems as though two entities of any size, given this sort of definition, could be in neither a state of War nor a state of Peace, much of the time. Sometimes we call a state of not-shooting-but-not-getting-along-very-well-either a Cold War. How much of the world is locked in something like that, these days? Do you need tanks or guns to be at Cold War with a neighbour?

Is it fair to say we’ve always been in a kind of World War that has never really ended, but only gone through Hot and Cold spells in different places at different times?

What would real Peace look like? Would we recognize it, if we lived it every day?

I won’t drag you through my own discovery of what Wikipedia has to say about Peace, that’s what hyperlinks are for. Let’s switch gears.

In Canada, we have an ongoing Peace problem, and it has to do with our historical and ongoing relationship with this land’s indigenous people. What can I say about that? I barely understand the issue still, which is itself a great part of the problem: many Canadians like myself – ostensibly good people who would call themselves proponents for Peace, on paper – have little notion of what the indigenous people living here encountered, as we began to arrive in numbers, with a clear intention to stay (many no doubt fleeing harsh circumstances elsewhere – refugees of a different sort). We don’t know the anatomy of the problem, or the timeline of how things went from good-or-bad to worse-and-worse, or how much or little things have changed in recent years. We get inklings, some of us educate ourselves on the matters, and many carry on with only fuzzy understandings at best, which don’t amount to much change. Not quickly enough, anyhow.

I can speak for myself only, and my ignorance on this issue is, to this day, severe and unjustifiable.ย  I believe our school systems are doing a better job teaching our kids some of the realities, but things for many, many people living in Canada are still not good, because of our inability up to this point to acknowledge and repair all that has happened, if full “reparation” is even a possibility. I believe many Canadians would object to my characterization of the issue, others would agree, still others would say I’m not wording things strongly enough.

We are not at Peace here, though we sometimes like to play Peacekeeper on the global stage.

More Things Happen Everywhere, and then, One Day…

The Hadhad family fled their home country of Syria, because Peace was not happening there either. It was bad, and still is. They eventually settled in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, in 2016. They brought their family’s chocolatier business with them. They became an important part of the community, and inspiring examples of hope and fellowship.

Leave it to some folks who haven’t yet forgotten what it’s like to be in dire circumstances to see more clearly the dire circumstances experienced by the people they found when they came here.

The Hadhad family’s chocolate factory (who doesn’t like saying the words, chocolate factory?), called Peace By Chocolate, has recently released a chocolate bar named after the Mi’kmaq word for Peace.


Chocolate bar image from Peace by Chocolate website. Mmmmm Chocolate…

I think this is a pretty cool thing, don’t you? A family flees war in their home country, lives in a refugee camp for a few years, eventually settles in a new community, and gets back to the business of their lives. In the process, they see both the opportunities here, as well as the problems. They do something about it. They do it with imagination, hope, and chocolate.

Here is an article about it:

I love this story, and who wouldn’t? Our world has been politically, religiously, ideologically, culturally, and geographically divided for as long as we’ve been keeping track. It still is. However, we move around more now, and communicate more now, and, in some places, spend more time trying to move forward than we do clinging to our old problems which hold us back. Newcomers to places can maybe see established problems with a fresh perspective, and when they are coming from one place where Peace has been lost for a time, they are perhaps more likely to get down to the business of helping their new home heal a little from its own problems with it.

I don’t know, I get a good feeling when I see people doing what they can do. It makes me want to jump on board, and be a part of that, in some way. Our differences and troubles are our great strength too.


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