Nonviolence and Peace – Part 1 of 6

Nonviolence and Peace

Author’s Note: these are personal reflections; the views here reflect only my own views and opinions and not necessarily those of Art With Impact.

Since I started actively learning about the Israeli / Palestinian relationship in late 2007, the international nonviolence movement has been a great source of inspiration and creativity for me.

I think what moves me the most about the philosophy behind the movement is the brilliant combination of idealism and pragmatism. Nonviolence basically says, “I am human, you are human. I need to communicate to you that you are not being your best self. Words aren’t working, so I will show you that you can be better.”

Nonviolence is a lot like art and nothing like war. Rather than forcing another person into action through fear, violence or revenge, the idea is to demonstrate through extremely personal actions (even to the point of putting your physical safety on the line) the level of your convictions in a way that will require – because of our shared humanity – the “other” to reconsider your position and their own.

This is an important time for Nonviolence. (Something I’ve learned along the way is that the movement is not called Non-Violence. In this movement, “Non” is not a modifier of Violence, rather, the “Non” is key: Nonviolence.)

May 4th 2011 was the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders’ first bus ride. Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, has called the Freedom Flotilla the Freedom Rides of our generation (you can see the video, here). And I have to say, of all the analogies I’ve heard, this really is the best one. As I see it, there are five main similarities between the Freedom Rides and the Freedom Flotilla. Over the next few days I intent to touch briefly on each of the following points:

1.     The Law is On Their Side

2.     …But Public Opinion is Not

3.     Freedom Flotilla Riders Are Improbably Diverse

4.     Freedom Flotilla Riders Are Adamantly Nonviolent

5.     We Shall Overcome

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