I always thought it was interesting that in the Hunger Games universe the governmental police are called Peacekeepers.
Have you ever thought much about what that means? Peacekeeping? At its simplest, peacekeeping is maintaining the status quo. At its worst – as in The Hunger Games – maintaining the status quo at any cost.
Peacekeeping is also as simple as following the rules. The Peacekeepers who publicly execute rebels are simply following rules. The Peacekeepers who herd laborers into the forest and mow down those who try to run away, simply good soldiers. Peacekeepers keep their hands clean, doing their work from a distance. Peacekeepers do their violence and sweep the results away, so that nothing ever changes.
Those content to live under those rules live in peace. Of a sort.
But what about those who chafe under injustice? Yes. They could chose to live in peace. They could even chose to live in relative safety. For example, once any resident of Panem passes the age of 18 they are “safe” from The Reaping.
But would you be willing to live peacefully and safely under the terms of The Reaping?
Nations have been born from lesser reasons that that.
There is a scene in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 where President Snow is preparing to address the nation and discusses semantics with his speechwriter. The nation is in turmoil and open rebellion against his tyrannical rule is erupting in various districts.
“I won’t call them ‘rebels’,” Snow says. “I won’t legitimize them.”
What if, instead of his choice of “radicals”, we substitute “peacemakers”.
Calling rebels peacemakers seems a little backwards at first – but think about it this way. What happens when we make stuff? Before we can make bread we must destroy the grains of wheat. Before we can sew a garment we must destroy a bolt of cloth. Before we can build a house, we must first cut down trees. Creating anything is a messy, painful, exhausting process.
Being a Peacemaker? Now there is the challenge. Peacemakers go where the problem is. The Mockingjay example is the camera crew that follows Katniss out into the field. Katniss asks the director, Cressida, if she and the crew were forced out of the capitol. Cressida shakes her head no, “We all fled on our own. For this. For you.”
Peacemakers roll up their sleeves and feed the hungry. They teach people who have lived for generations in poverty how to make the pennies they have grow into dimes, and quarters, and eventually dollars. Peacemakers wade into the muck of the places where the homeless find shelter and give out toilet paper, wet wipes, and sleeping bags that turn into warm winter coats. Peacemakers design sleeping bags that turn into coats. Then they hire those homeless people to make more of them for others.
Peacemakers chose to inconvenience themselves for the betterment of others.
Is it any wonder then, that Jesus himself said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”