Sit Down for Peace

There once was a time when there was peace. I remember it because I was there. I was only a kid at the time, and it only lasted a few years, but boy do I remember.

There were no more wars between nations, no fights between brothers, and no injustices to protest. The news outlets all closed down since they had nothing to report about.

No one knows how it happened. It wasn’t the work of any one messiah, and the diplomats and peace-seekers were just as confused as everyone else; doubly so because they were out of a job.

Then a rumor started to spread:

At some point in the next month, a demonstration would be held at the Federal Building. No one could understand what anyone would want to demonstrate about, but that wasn’t explained in the rumor.

Some people started to gather at the Federal Building. They would stand around and look at the entrance of the building, waiting for someone to come out and announce something terrible that happened, and then they’d be right there and ready to start the demonstration. They needed to be there first.

They held empty signs in their hands and kept markers in their pockets, ready to write whatever needed to be written.

Other people would pass by the Federal Building and confuse the crowd for demonstrators. Only after they joined would they realize their mistake, but by then it was too late.

The first month passed, and nothing changed.

A few people gave up and went home, but most people stayed. They were sure that something was going to happen soon, they just didn’t know when.

I wasn’t interested in demonstrating, let alone waiting for a demonstration to start, but my parents dragged me along. I found it all very boring.

One day we were standing around, the same as always, and I just got so fed up with it all, and I was also feeling tired, so I sat down.

My dad got mad at me and tried to get me to stand up, but I really didn’t want to, so I just stayed sitting. Someone else in the crowd saw me sitting and must have been tired too, because he sat down as well.

For the next few days, more and more people started sitting. Some people would come to the Federal Building and sit down right away, before even getting tired from standing around. Eventually almost half the crowd was sitting, and that’s when the trouble started.

The problem with sitting is that if people are standing in front of you then they block your view. And everyone wanted to be able to see the doors of the Federal Building. So if everyone was going to be able to see the doors, then everyone would have to be either sitting or standing.

Some of the people who were sitting started shouting at the people standing in front of them to sit down. But those people refused, and yelled back that they didn’t have to do anything they didn’t want to do.

They started writing on their blank poster-signs, too. The people sitting would write: “Sit Down for Equality!” and “Standers: Stop blocking our view.” The people standing would write: “Stand Up for Freedom!” and “Sitters: Stop telling others what to do.”

Some people started recording the fights with their cameras, and these videos were watched all across the world.

It started only with shouting and signs. But all it took was one person with a gun to really get things going.

Sometimes I feel bad for having caused the fighting to start again, but I was just a kid who was tired and wanted to sit down. And I’m sure the peace would have ended anyway, for one reason or another. We just don’t seem to know how to live any other way.