“Too many young folks have addiction to superficial things and not enough conviction for substantial things like justice, truth, and love.”
Checking the news after two weeks without internet did not wield many surprises. The conflict between Israel and Palestine has intensified, Nigeria has seen many more deaths from the Boko Haram, Syria’s situation has become more dire than ever, and Ukraine is still trying to reclaim its territory from Russia. Oh, and someone just shot down a plane killing 300 innocent people in the process. In other words, it’s war after war after war, a never ending cycle of violence our world seems to deem necessary. Because of this, I have decided to dedicate this post to peaceful protesters, people like Gandhi and Mandela who have managed to influence our world without the use of violence.
Gene Sharp, founder of the Albert Einstein Institution (a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the study of non-violence) has influenced numerous anti-government resistances around the world in his effort to obtain political peace. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania used Sharp’s writings on “Civilian-Based Defense” during their struggle for independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and the Lithuanian defense minister declared that “he would rather have this book than the nuclear bomb.” Dozens of other movements have used his writings as well including resistant movements in Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Georgia, and Ukraine. His ideas were also put into place to topple the Egyptian president. With our world in the sad state of constant war it seems to be in today, peaceful disobedience instead of violent uprisings would certainly save a whole lot of innocent lives.
On August 29th 1914, 1500 women marched silently down the streets of New York waving a sole white banner engraved with a dove in a peace march which would mark the beginning of the Women’s Peace Party. Besides standing for the demilitarization of America and the democratizing of foreign policies, this group also stood for the women’s right to vote as they understood that the caring nature of women would have a direct effect on their country if only the less violent half of their population could obtain the right to be herd. Their name was then changed to the Women’s National League for a Peace and Freedom in 1919 when it became a non-profit organization “working to bring together women of different political and philosophical and religious backgrounds determined to study and make known the causes of war and work for a permanent peace.” And how right they are! Why, in a world where we have created weapons which can destroy thousands of people in an instant and where we have access to more information than our brains can comprehend have we still not found a way to ensure peace.
Jane Addams is probably my person of the year. Elected as the first president of the WLIPF in 1915 and then awarded the first noble peace prize for an American women in 1931, Addams worked her whole life for peace, women’s rights, and equality and justice for all. As a wealthy women she did not take what was the typical approach of the day while helping the poor, but rather opted for a model of social reform which has since provided the base for all modern day social work. Addams worked to end child labor and establish workers compensation, advocated for immigrants and blacks, and supported the women’s suffrage movement. She also advocated the need for research on poverty and crime in order to better help those in need. Her life work, the hull-house, began in 1889 and housed twenty-five women, though often two thousand people would visit a week. The hull-house offered a communal kitchen, night school for adults, a girls club, and music, drama, and art facilities along with dozens of other educational programs for children and adults alike in Addams successful attempt to create a safe and conducive learning environment in a multicultural immigration neighborhood. Jane Addams is an amazing example of a peace activist who has embraced the idea of equality in order to create a safer and happier planet.
Last but not least, the Christmas truce, a series of unofficial ceasefires which took place around Christmas time in 1914 during World War One along the Western Front. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day soldiers from both sides ventured into no-mans land in order to celebrate the holidays together. They shared drinks, swapped stories, and even gave gifts to the soldiers they were suppose to be shooting. A game of football supposedly commenced, and the two sides teamed up together to burry the dead. Throughout one of the most violent times in history these soldiers came together in the realization that no matter where they came from, they were all still human. These weren’t the only truces either. Throughout the war there were occasional “live and let live” agreements upon which troops would indeed let their “enemies” live, or times where both sides would agree to an unofficial ceasefires in order to collect the dead. But what makes this truce special is the shear amount of participants, thought to be 100,000 British and German soldiers, who were brought together for a few memorable days of peace until their commanders found out and ordered them to restart the war. Though these ceasefires may have been short lived, a mere two days in some areas (though in others this “truce” extended until New Years), to me it proves that us humans want peace more than we want war if greed, power, and money are taken out of the equation.
I have never understood people who think we need more guns, more wars, and more brutal killings in order to ameliorate society or prove a point. War, as we have seen by now, does not make peace. Until people begin thinking more like Gene Sharp and Jane Addams, and until people begin using peaceful protests and non-violence to settle disputes instead of war, our world will continue to be a unequal and divided place.
“Fear”, is the answer to your question as to why we still cannot ensure peace. Fear, that is brought about by religious and political, scaremongers, through media propaganda and generations of indoctrination with subtle and not so subtle messages of difference and intolerance of those differences. By division of unity and by breaking down the individual resistance, through mental incarceration and physical in many cases.
The reason for all this I am still trying to nail down but it has to do with absolute power and the control of it, this may be because of the controller’s fear or sheer malevolence or possibly a reason or reasons that are entirely out of the realms of our understanding.
Basically the majority hand over their own power to a small number who then use it against them, this happens through the democratic voting system which is not fair or equal at all. How can it be when it works through majority rule. The individual or individuals that have a differing opinion or wants or needs can never be truly satisfied.
Democracy is in fact Fascism in disguise and I think you will find that Ghandi said words to this effect, although don’t quote me on that.
Yes I agree, I always look at it in terms of inequality as the root, but fear being a deeper root rings true as well!
It seems it could be fear that motivates peoples greed, fear, of not having enough. that and the competitive environment in which we have been raised.
I guess it’s a bit like squirrels storing nuts. I do have a theory that it all began with the need to store food for harder times and maybe some people didn’t do so well or were lazy and maybe clever at manipulating others. I can imagine that somewhere in the dawn of human history, it all kicked off in this way.
But hey, who knows and what is important is what we do with it all now.
I would just like to add, that there is a simple solution and you are leading the way at this very moment with that solution and that is to live your life on your terms through your thoughts, emotions and your actions and by promoting your outlook and lifestyle through your blog’s, your communication’s and your example’s. This is sterling work and the most effective way to make change for the better in this world. If you manage to enlighten, even just one other person by your example of a good way to live, then you have done a massive good on the planet and if we can all follow your example then we have a chance to change for the better.
I know this is difficult for many and seemingly impossible for many more but we all have the freedom to choose now matter how difficult that choice may be and options may be very limited for some, particularly the poor but we always have the choice of how to respond to any situation.
I just thought of “Slumdog Millionaire” as a good example of this statement.
And on that note……
That’s what I think too, the best way to change the world is to live your own life in the way you want others to live.
This is Nikita from delhi 🙂
been reading your blog and would definitely love to see you. where are you right now? any plans for delhi, again?
Hello! We are indeed coming to Delhi today but just to catch our flight tomorrow morning.
Where would you be today ? And what time will you reach? Let me try and see if we can meet up 🙂