Today is both the International Day of Nonviolence and the birthday of the Indian freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi.


Mahatma Gandhi was a supporter of nonviolence

Gandhi’s birthday was chosen to mark the International Day of Nonviolence because his role as a promoter of freedom and civil rights movements around the world has been enormous. The day was established by the United Nations in 2007.

Gandhi was one of the first to distinguish between pacifism and nonviolence. Both pacifism and nonviolence oppose war and violence, but nonviolence accepts and embraces the necessity of struggle in achieving social change. Unlike some cases of pacifism, nonviolence never ignores conflict. Nonviolence has many activist elements, whereas pacifism is usually an personal, individual viewpoint and not necessarily connected to politics.

Since Gandhi’s times, nonviolence has developed into a widely accepted political philosophy. The three main categories of nonviolent action are:

1)   Protest and persuasion, i.e. street marches

2)   Non-cooperation

3)   Nonviolent interventions such as blockades and occupations

Unfortunately, most world powers still see violence as the superior technique for resolving conflicts. Scholar Theodore Roszak once said, “People try nonviolence for a week, and when it ‘doesn’t work’ they go back to violence, which hasn’t worked for centuries.”

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012 at 10:00 am and is filed under about cross-culture, conflict & resolution, cultural intelligence, days of significance, General . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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