Chain of Violence

I don’t often write political pieces (or comment on them) because I’m painfully aware of my ignorance in this arena.  However, this month on “Artists For Peace” the topic is “Against Violence” and I felt compelled to write.

I keep reading blog posts about how we should fight against injustice and violence, etc.  They seem to think that “turning the other cheek” is about ignoring the problem or about cowardice.  However, as far as I am concerned, there is nothing braver than to meet violence with nonviolent resistance.  You cannot fight fire with fire.  That just leads to escalation, and builds up more hatred, resentment and desire for revenge: a chain of violence.  There is nothing braver than to risk it all to stand up for your belief in peace; fight with the flames of your heart.  I can’t say whether I would be brave enough to do it myself because I haven’t been tested.  Maybe I would be brave enough if my children were fully grown and independent, I don’t know.

chainsmall

You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.

Indira Gandhi

I know that if a nation were to give up its arms in today’s world it would be a suicidal and irresponsible thing to do.  If you live surrounded by people who bear arms then to practice non-violence is very risky.  However, I still believe that the right to not bear arms is something that we should work towards for nations and for individuals.

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Posted on October 5, 2014, in Art and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 48 Comments.

  1. Beautiful post Sarah! Thank you. Have a nice Sunday!

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  2. I’ve never had arms, so I completely agree with you, Sarah. 😉
    Happy Sunday, and may peace stay near you always. Luvz, UT

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  3. Sorry, Sarah! Can’t agree with you! Your statement “You cannot fight fire with fire” is wrong. Firefighters very often with great effect fight fire with fire. I believe that best way to PREVENT VIOLENCE is to show that it will be immediately effectively stopped.

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    • That’s okay, I didn’t expect everybody to agree with me. Pacifists are probably a minority in this world today.

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      • Pacifists are being killed by terrorists all over the world.
        Terrorists don’t ask anyone if they are against violence.

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      • I know that pacifism is dangerous but that doesn’t make it wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t you need police and military to protect you from people who are violent? Are you going to convince bad guys to stop being bad guys?

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      • Yes, we need protection as things stand now. If we work on a solution maybe some day in the (probably far distant) future we can figure out how to deal with bad guys without violence. Maybe if we work on it hard enough we can stop bad guys from ever becoming bad in the first place. Poverty is a good place to start. Making sure everyone has everything they need so that they don’t need to take it from someone else. I could go on but better people than I have already written reams on this topic.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Very NICE, Sarah – hugs, INa

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  5. I’m all for not fighting but…in order to do that…you have to be the toughest dog on the block. It you have the might/strength you don’t have to use it but you definitely have to have it. If attacked, retaliation has to be immediate. It can’t work any other way…not today. Fanatics and delusional people are everywhere. When those two men set off bombs in Boston, on a bright sunny day, while innocent, nice, non-violent people with their kids, were watching a marathon…well, you can’t let people get away with that. If you set off bombs and just randomly kill and maim innocent people…then death for the bombers is the only logical answer. The dead people don’t get a second chance. The kids don’t get to grow up and live another day. The people who lost limbs don’t get them back. Seems only fair…you do something like that and the death penalty is the only answer. I realize that that is not always the politically correct answer but I believe that if you do something like that, you automatically forfeit your life, in order to pay for the innocent lives you destroyed.

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    • I agree that violent people need to be punished and prevented from re-offending. I don’t agree that you should employ someone to take their lives. Killing is wrong. Torture is wrong. The ends do not justify the means. I’m not being PC here, I’m standing up for what I feel is right even though plenty of people disagree with me.
      I agree that in today’s world there is too much danger in not having authorities that can protect their citizens. But can we, all of us (the citizens of an ever-shrinking world), just start thinking about how to deal with the problem without resorting to more violence?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. If only we could ALL just want to live a happy existence in safety and at peace…..

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I with you on this. Gonna fight for the right to be peaceful. I’ve been successful in that I’ve managed to have manoeuvred the violent people in my life into the elsewhere category and live surrounded by gentle people (and dog and cats). (The dog isn’t always gentle, but she had a bad start in life.)

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    • That’s lovely. Thanks Simon. To be surrounded by gentle people – sounds like heaven.
      Your dog is lucky to have you then. Other people might respond in kind.
      I try to remember that some people aren’t gentle because they’ve had a bad start too.

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  8. Good for you Sara. The world needs pacifists they are less harmful humans~

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  9. Congrats Sarah on accepting the heroes journey. It is amazing the we often have to go through conflict even a battle to get to peace — our own inner peace and the peace of the world. Do we have to have a military — it is my understanding that Costa Rica is the “happiest country” and they do not have one. I am not a pacifist because if I was attacked or someone else was attacked I would defend myself/them. However in a self-defense course the first thing I was taught was: to be aware so I was not in a position to have to fight, set my boundaries and act from a place of confidence so that I didn’t take the victims role so that I didn’t have to fight, if possible give a warning that I would defend myself so that I didn’t have to fight and then only as the LAST RESORT would I resort to violence to defend myself. If we as a species adopt a get them before they get us mentality — we will never have peace. Thanks for starting the conversation. ❤

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    • Thanks Colleen.
      I think that as long as a country has resources that another more powerful country wants, it will have to have a military or powerful allies. That is unless humankind figure out a different way of being.
      I don’t know how I would react if I, or someone dear to me, was attacked. My first impulse would be to fight, I think. I read a book a while back written by two guys I’ve had the privilege to spend time with. One is a Buddhist monk and the other is a layperson heavily involved with Buddhism. The book (actually it’s 2 books) is about a pilgrimage they did in India. Towards the end of the trip they were attacked by bandits. I will try to find the passage in the book and quote it for you. How the two different men reacted was interesting. I’ve got to go now though, sorry.

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  10. The Gandhi quote pretty much says it all. Good post! And I agree with your perspectives on the matter.

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  11. Beautiful Post Sarah – The quote is Great too!!

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  12. Well said, Sarah and exactly right.

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  13. Looking forward to the two stories. I agree about the disparity of goods/services creating hostilities. We were given everything we need on this planet not just to survive but to thrive. There is a Native American belief that what ever action is taken on this planet needs to be of benefit to at least the next seven generations. If we all did this — we wouldn’t have poverty or pollution or violence. Or at least we would have significantly less of these. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I think sometimes it takes more courage to walk away. The challenge is to walk away and let it go – not let it keep eating at you and not stir others up – just walk away and let it go. Sometimes action needs to be taken but many times that action can be taken in a way that doesn’t stir the pot of anger. Sometimes I think the violence results because the “offended” involved others who didn’t need to be involved and those others were the ones who stirred the pot of anger/violence.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely Stephanie, walking away is way braver than letting our emotions carry us somewhere nasty. Some people think that nonviolence means passivity and inaction but violence isn’t the only response we can make to violence.
      Your point about third parties stirring things up is very interesting. Colleen provided an example somewhere (I forget where, sorry) of preventing a fight between two students. The two students were taken to a quiet place to talk things out. Maybe if the teachers had tried to do that with all the other students hanging around it wouldn’t have worked. Good point. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I just want to leave off politics for a moment and tell you how amazing your drawing is! I am with Colleen in that I prefer the nonviolent route except in extreme cases. I was once the victim of a crime, and the person had attacked many others … I think sociopaths should be kept away from the general public, as I don’t think people without empathy can be rehabilitated. I prefer the pacifist approach, but the other side needs to be capable of it.

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    • Oh, thank you so much, I’m glad you like the picture. 🙂
      I’m sorry to hear that you were attacked. 😦
      I definitely think that society should be protected from sociopaths and criminals. However, I don’t agree with the death penalty.

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  16. Great post! Whether people agree with you or not… it will still get people thinking!

    Maybe just maybe we can come up with some solutions!

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  17. Great post. Not sure what the answer is in today’s world but how lovely it would be if there was no war or violence anywhere.

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  18. In the case of a direct threat or attack, we would be wise to defend ourselves. Occasionally, fighting fire with fire can work. But water is pretty effective too. If used with care, water is less damaging. My hope is that we can evolve and become more creative in resolving conflicts. You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist, because a clenched fist is limited. Think of all the other things an unclenched fist can do. Wave, offer food, write a love letter….Love can be a powerful force, especially over time. What we focus on gets bigger.

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  19. “There is nothing braver than to meet violence with nonviolent resistance.”

    So true. During the civil rights movement in the United States nonviolent resistance was much more effective. Violent resistance backfired.

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  20. OH wow this is wonderful! I love this!

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  1. Pingback: Day 279 In the Pursuit of Love (Against Violence — Part 2) | Life in the City with a Future

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