I think the Danes and Swedes are onto something; how to achieve world peace by giving it a name that doesn’t sound remotely like peace. *
Peace is one of those words that tends to elicit strong passions and convictions – or the unmistakable eye-roll. A victim of overuse; undervalued, bandied about by politicians, activists, spiritual folk and (ahem) peacekeepers. In light of its ad nauseum use in circles large and small, maybe the time has come to assign it a more personal dimension. A familiar word – or name – that people can relate to, that has meaning beyond a universal logo or message.
Here’s what got me thinking about the word. I was out walking on the mountain earlier this week, on a particularly brilliant sunny day, among fallen leaves, brooks of running water, joggers, cyclists, strollers and tourists, when I came across the peace garden. There on the ground, among all the other vaguely familiar-sounding linguistic translations chiseled out of stone; paix, Pace, םולש, Мир, I caught sight of this phrase:
What if even those of us living in English-speaking countries started calling it Fred? Why not give Fred a chance? And Lucy…and Karim… and Maya… and Hiroto… and Magdalena too? We just might have more long-lasting success if we give Reem, Nikita and Uxue a stab at it too.
* Just go along with me here; I mean it in a humorous, albeit respectful, sense. I know: it’s similar to the German frieden.