Dr. Avnish Jolly :British actor and Peace One Day ambassador Jude Law and Jeremy Gilley, film director and founder of Peace One Day campaign, travelled to Afghanistan for a two-day mission this week. While there, they screened a new documentary, ‘The Day After Peace’, about the efforts of ordinary Afghans in support of peace. Mr. Law and Mr. Gilley also asked all parties involved in the conflict to observe Peace Day again this year. It is scheduled to take place on 21 September as part of the Peace One Day global campaign for ceasefires and non-violence.
The documentary features activities that took place throughout Afghanistan in September 2007. It also highlights support from UNICEF, World Health Organization and other organizations for the peaceful immunization of 1.4 million children against polio in insecure areas. More than 10,000 vaccinators visited insecure areas in the southern and eastern regions of the country. The visit was part of ‘a National Immunization Days polio immunization campaign, which aimed to reach children who were missed in previous rounds due to conflict.
The latest Afghanistan mission forms an important backdrop to this, Mr. Gilley’s second film, produced in association with the BBC. The film was recently screened at the Cannes film festival and is due to be shown in major film festivals this year and next.
While on their visit, Mr. Law and Mr. Gilley met with the people and President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, who praised their efforts to promote peace. Mr. Law said the film is “a tool that enables us to show the world that this country is more than a war-torn country and a country of violence, but instead, a country of great pride and great hope.”
This year, UNICEF and the Youth Information Contact Centres in Afghanistan, as well as youth volunteers from the Afghan Red Crescent Society and other key partners, have organized many activities during the countdown to Peace Day. The lead-up activities include poetry, drawing and drama contests, sports, peace marches and radio public service announcements, along with presentations in women’s literacy centres.
In addition, UNICEF, WHO and other organizations in coordination with the Ministry of Public Health, will provide polio vaccinations for 1.85 million children under we age of five. The immunizations will take place in seven Afghan provinces where insecurity has previously limited access.
Peace One Day supporters will celebrate 21 September with a special concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London featuring Annie Lennox and other well known musicians. The concert will feature videos and appearances by Mr. Law, UNICEF UK Goodwill Ambassador for Emergencies Martin Bell and other activists and celebrities.