Today, October 2, I honour International Day of Non-Violence.
Today is not only a day to think about ways we can bring about change within our societies peacefully, but it is also a day to honour Mahatma Gandhi, and the example he gave us of how a person can use non-violent resistance to change the world.
Non-violence is fundamentally an ideology that rejects physical violence in order to achieve social or political change. As Professor Gene Sharp, a leading expert on nonviolence, defines it:
“Nonviolent action is a technique by which people who reject passivity and submission, and who see struggle as essential, can wage their conflict without violence. Nonviolent action is not an attempt to avoid or ignore conflict. It is one response to the problem of how to act effectively in politics, especially how to wield powers effectively.”
As I look around the world today, I see the ways in which our society is being torn apart: discrimination, hatred, human trafficking, cyberbullying, violence against women, and so many others. I see these problems, and I say that violence is not the solution. Violence only breeds more anger, despair, and brokenness.
Instead, we must choose to take the other path. Gandhi gave us an example of this other way out, one that allows us to respect the inherent value of each human and their ability to choose positive transformation over negative.
So let us honour Gandhi and his philosophy of non-violence today.
Let us reflect on ways that we can use non-violence in our lives to bring about the change we want to see.
And let us support those who choose to resist non-violently. For they are the ones who are breaking the cycle of pain and who are refusing to allow negative energy to be the driver of change.