By: Yolanda Weima
Beginning with Ghandi’s salt marches in India, and covering a wide variety of non-violent movements from around the world over the past 100 years, this short video by MCC Ontario ends with a challenge to viewers: what will the next 100 years of non-violence look like?:
“Committed to the Promise of Peace”
Of course, this is a far from exhaustive list, but it does fit a lot into just over 3 minutes, meant to cover 100 years! Did you learn about any of these non-violent movements in elementary or high school history class? (I only remember learning about one of these movements in school.) Many histories justify wars and military actions by echoing those who say “there were no alternatives.” Learning about non-violent movements, whether large or small, illustrates that alternatives to violence are possible, even when facing seemingly powerful enemies. It can be an inspirational aspect of peace education and can help us to think critically when we are told “there were (or are) no alternatives” and to imagine other responses to violence.
“Grieving the Tragedy of War”
While focusing on non-violence might seem like a rosy view of the past compared with grieving wars, if you pay close attention, all of these non-violent movements were in response to systemic injustices perpetrated by powerful and violent institutions. Learning about non-violent movements can also help us to think strategically about confronting injustices and organizing for social change. Just as PeaceQuest draws attention to the way we remember war, there are also things to grieve in remembering non-violent movements and the injustices and violence they confronted—particularly that many of the same injustices remain today, though perhaps in different forms.