According to Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan in Why Civil Resistance Works, people avoid using violence if they do not have to, only resorting to it if they feel that they don’t have any options. When people learn about another way to fight against violence, with the added benefit of it being more effective as these researchers also maintain quantitatively, they will be more likely to choose that option. Now why is it that we hear so little accurate information about nonviolence in our corporate media?
Well, there was one time when we heard it “straight from the horse’s mouth” so to say. Mahatma Gandhi, while in London for the Second Roundtable Conference was invited to Kingsley Hall to give a talk via radio to the United States, his first broadcast, too (way before the day of podcasts). He came into the studio with 30 seconds to spare. His colleague pushed the microphone his way and he looked at it and said, “Do I talk into this thing?” which was heard throughout the US! And then became silent and serious and spoke slowly, deliberately, and passionately for half an hour. Each word won him many more well-wishers, (not to mention putting well-wishers of the colonial system in a state of alarm). He stood by his principles. He said, “I feel in the innermost recess of my heart, after a political experience extending over an unbroken period of close upon thirty-five years, that the world is sick to death of blood-spilling. It is seeking a way out, and I flatter myself with the belief that perhaps it will be the privilege of the ancient land of India to show that way out to the hungering world.”
What’s priceless about Gandhi is that he has the eye of faith to see past the surface of things, and this is something that we desperately need today. When the media and politicians are constantly beating the drums of war, we need not lose faith in one another. We are sick and tired of bloodshed in our names. And the more accurate information we have about nonviolence, the more likely we are to choose it. We have an alternative! And Gandhi showed us how to use it.
Share a story about how nonviolence works today. The more people know about its power, the more likely they are to use it.
The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299 firstname.lastname@example.org