No matter whatever world we are presented with – be it the real or the fiction, there is always that one end goal put forward: peace. This concept varies on the individual and we all want a little bit of peace. Every person would go to any length they deem necessary to find “peace,” whatever it is. Because of this desire, we join groups, movements, filled with people who believe in the same things as we do. But it’s not all black and white as we would like to believe.
The inherent spice and painful factor in our humanity is that nobody sees that same thing like the other. We might echo the same terms of “democracy,” “freedom,” “liberty,” and whatnot but in the end, each individual has their own take of these ideals. It’s the same diverse outlook we have, as people, that make us feel conflicted on stuff like how communism neglects individual endeavor, how America’s democracy is not as true as it can be, how nationalism can be a double-edged sword and the list goes on.
But despite not seeing the same things in a similar light, we all congregate ourselves into “like-minded” groups who “operate” the same way as we do in the effort of achieving “peace.” Essentially, this is what the Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect (OWLS) is: a group of bloggers who believe in the concepts of liberty and the value of self-respect among all people.
Prior to joining OWLS, each member latched on to the idea and respected the way each of us had their own way of doing it (so long as it did not compromise our ideals as a collective group).
With the onset of the recent summit talks between the North and South Koreas, I think that May topic of “movement” comes at a good time. These two countries, formerly bitter rivals, have grown tired of fighting and renewed their commitment to creating a region in which the similar peoples of their two nations can co-exist in peace. I can’t help but think about the world of Avatar when it comes to the word “movement,” as this entire universe gave its audience a general idea of how movements vary in size and in name.
Let us talk about the world briefly.
The world in which The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra revolves around, is divided into four nations: the Fire Nation, Air Nomads, Earth Kingdom and Water Tribes.
Each nation viewed their positions in the world very differently. The Air Nomads believe that spirituality and detachment from worldly desires was their way of creating peace, the Earth Kingdom found that balancing the scales created a stable form of peace for their people, the Water Tribes went on fortifying their culture in order to create peace and lastly, the Fire Nation believed that strength and sharing their greatness through destruction was a means of peace.
In this world, there is also the presence of an individual named the Avatar whose sole purpose was to master all four elements and achieve deeper spiritual linkages to keep the peace in both the spiritual and human worlds. The idea of passing on the “Avatar” title on to the next as their predecessor died got me thinking that the concept of “peace” varied differently for each Avatar. With that, it could create a great effect on how the world would view “peace” as.
In the Last Airbender, Aang was a young boy who woke up in the middle of a great war between the Fire Nation and the entire world. As common sense would say, peace would have to be achieved by eliminating the leader of the Fire Nation and ending the great war. However, as I mentioned earlier, movements are not exactly a black and white situation.
If you read the comics for the Avatar series, Fire Lord Zuko’s ascension to the throne was met with considerable resistance from a movement known as the New Ozai Society which yearned for their deposed Fire Lord Ozai to return to the throne and restore the Fire Nation to greatness. The people in this movement saw that the Fire Nation was brought to its knees after the Avatar defeated them in the great war. This embarrassing surrender hurt the pride of most Fire Nation citizens and would see the return of the colonized Earth Kingdom villages a complete dishonor for their nation.
This was further highlighted when a new war was about to erupt when Fire Lord Zuko had to assume the duties of a Fire Lord and protect the interests of his people. Fire Nation citizens lived in these colonized Earth Kingdom towns and some of them actually learned to co-exist in peace – this is something that the new Fire Lord Zuko would want to protect, as depicted in the comics.
However, there would also be the issue of sovereignty – that peace was to be kept by the rightful authority of these lands which would be the Earth Kingdom. This desire to see the colonies returned was further intensed by the Harmony Restoration Movement which sought peace through re-integrating these colonies back to the mother nation.
The compromise? These colonies turned into a unified state known as the United Republic of Nations – much to the displeasure of some citizens from both nations. But the fight for peace lives on in events not depicted from the comics.
With all of this re-reading, re-watching and re-analyzing the events which happened in the Last Airbender, I realized that these people yearn for things that would benefit their version of “peace,” no matter how bad it might mean for the other parties. It is not inherently right nor wrong for individuals to band together in movements in support of changing the status quo in their own favor.
But the bad thing about seeking change in the pursuit for “peace” is that, in the end, other people will remain affected and there is nothing we can do but create compromises in which we will never be satisfied. This is what’s so interesting and great about us as a species – our individual ideals when converged into one can create great things at the cost of other’s lives and comfort.
Too bad, we don’t have an Avatar figure who has been trained to see both sides of this multi-colored spectrum of movements and ideologies while at the same be equipped with the tools necessary in keeping the world at a compromise. Our “peace” remains at the hands of the majority, as unfair as it may sound.
But you know what we do have that is might compare to an Avatar figure? Leaders – individuals who are not perfect yet open to improvement. People who don’t necessarily see the wide multi-colored spectrum of movements but would spend a great deal of time understanding where they are coming from. This might not be the end-all solution to our misgivings and conflicts within movements but it is the best we got at keeping this world a better place.
Don’t be as short-sighted as politicians who seek to only satisfy their constituents in hopes of a better result in the re-election. Think big and wide. Even in our normal lives, we can be all be leaders who are willing to serve and learn with people in serving more folks. With a strong will and conviction to preserve the peace in which all peoples concerned are generally satisfied, we can become Avatars in our own accord.
The movements may vary in names and numbers but in the end, there is only one real movement to end all and that would be a movement of peace.
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Thanks for reading!