The Beginning of a Nonviolent Heart
As I read the news, I am reminded of a conversation I had with a friend a few weeks ago. We were talking about the impact of nonviolence on our society. He asked me what would happen if we didn't have nonviolence. More violence in our streets? I disagreed. The opposite of nonviolence is not more violence; rather it is apathy, inaction, and utter indifference.
Nonviolence is an active resistance to injustice and requires great courage to oppose systems of oppression without running away or fighting back with weapons. Imagine the courage of the young Freedom Riders, on buses they knew were destined to meet their attackers. Nonviolent resistance cannot be possible until one is able to live nonviolently. Living with the spiritual, emotional and mental awareness of daily resisting oppression requires courage, discipline, and a great deal of love.
The opposite of nonviolence is complete apathy, or inaction. Apathy requires no courage, no engagement, no action. In fact, apathy and indifference is another form of violence because it tolerates the existence of violence and the possibility of extermination of other people. Most of all, apathy is the lack of love and the sign of a deserted heart.
Violence will likely happen if we provide no resistance. Violence will absolutely happen if we add to the chaos with our indifference and keep our voices silent.
"Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, that ennobles the man who wields it.
It is a sword that heals." --Dr. King
Friends, let us resist. Nonviolence in our lives is the key.
Rev. Doris K. Dalton
Executive Director, MLK Institute for Nonviolence