STOP THE WAR
Thursday, April 10
-- Forum for high schools against the war. 7 pm. OISE, 252 Bloor West.
Saturday, April 12
-- One Big No peace concert, with Sarah Harmer, Cowboy Junkies and a mess of other bands and theatre groups. 1-11 pm. Nathan Phillips Square.
Tuesday, April 15
-- Waging peace through peaceful means forum. 7:30 pm. Friends House, 60 Lowther.
Since I was a kid I have diligently made wishes on birthday candles, four-leaf clovers, falling stars and lucky pennies. I have always wished for the same thing -- peace on earth. I have sacrificed years of wishing for ponies, bicycles, holidays in Hawaii and candy to focus on this one goal. I'm sure my efforts have made the remarkable improvement in the world that you see before you now.
But I have concluded, in my 36th year of life, that perhaps wishing is not the best method of changing the world.
Since I work in computers, I wasn't sure what other contribution I could make to world peace. Could I play Pacman until he sat down with the ghosts and talked it through?
I was finally taught the secret of world peace by a viral attack on the computer systems at my work.
It was 2000, the year of the I Love You virus. It wasn't that different technically from other worms with names like Funny Joke For You, but it spread like no other virus before it.
It originated in Asia one Thursday. As the day wore on and people began their workday by checking their e-mail, it circled the globe.
The Parliaments of Britain and Denmark fell victim, and in Italy the outbreak spread over the entire country but seemed worst in the central north. The United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organization was badly hit, and in Lithuania they found a more restrained variation that said in Lithuanian, "Let's meet for coffee."
By the time the day was over, 45 million computers had this virus, a very large chunk of the computing world.
This all happened despite the fact that everyone knows about e-mail viruses and that suspicious attachments should not be opened. But everyone did.
People opened it with unprecedented willingness and exposed themselves to the virus in droves.
Why? Because the message said "I love you," and everyone around the globe wanted to read it.
They wanted love, even when it came from distant places. They were pleased to read "I love you" even when it was mistyped. They were eager to hear about love even when it must have been a bit of a surprise considering that fight they had at the last project meeting.
The conservative fundamentalist who shared an e-mail list with a socialist lesbian met in a moment of common humanity and expressed their mutual admiration. People threw caution to the winds to risk a coffee with the Lithuanian accountant from the fifth floor. In most cases they opened the virus first, before doing anything else, because they wanted to start their day on a good note.
What would have happened if the e-mail had been real?
What if people all over the world just decided to tell their friends they were loved? Would those good wishes be carried from one person to the next, until they circled the globe in a single, wonderful day?
If you have a message of love to share, my friends, I tell you this from the bottom of my heart: the whole world is ready to hear it.