There is no greater gift than peace. But having a mind free from worry is a rare thing these days. Just as the world starts to recover from the damage caused by COVID, we’re now bracing ourselves for the consequences of a war in Ukraine. And there are other areas and people in the world experiencing war, persecution, violence, and uncertainty.
While many of us feel like helpless onlookers, there is something we can do as we strive for peace. Not only can we pray, but we can also reach out a hand of peace to neighbors far and wide, just as we do at Mass each week. And this can be done with a simple greeting of “peace.”
Interestingly, a lot of words in the Middle East and North Africa, such as shalom in Hebrew, selam in Amharic, and salam in many Arabic dialects, come from the root “shalam” that comes directly from the Bible and has a number of meanings related to peace. However, there are many other ways to say peace around the world, with some more complex than others.
Here’s a selection of words of peace from various other countries, some of which are in dire need of serenity…
India, Bangladesh – shanti
Ireland – síocháin (she-ukh-awn)
Russia – мир (mir)
Ukraine – мир (myr)
Chinese Mandarin –
Holland, South Africa – Vrede
Philippines – kapayapaan
Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Uganda – amani