Stories of Creative Nonviolence

2592509250_f5f4b0eae1 Most people I talk to about pacifism and non-violence lack any knowledge of true stories of creative non-violence. We’ve seen literally hundreds of movies and tv shows of redemptive violence (good guy kills bad guy, everyone lives happily ever after) by the time we are adults, but we’ve seen little if any examples of nonviolence. We know it took a World War to stop the holocaust, but we know little more then the name Gandhi when it comes to nation-wide nonviolent movements.

I’m going to begin collecting and telling true stories of nonviolence that I have read or come across online, and share them here. The idea is to create a central collection of evidence that nonviolence “works.” Stories and examples that you can point others to so they are at least exposed to this idea.

I’ve talked about doing this in the past, but just hadn’t gotten around to it. This weekend though, while celebrating a wedding and gathering with old college friends, the pacifism conversation came up yet again, and I found that many of the guys I’d had these same conversations with years ago still didn’t really know of many examples of creative nonviolence. So, I want to put them together here.

I’ll post stories for the next couple weeks on Thursdays. I’ll probably start by reposting one’s I’ve gathered before, and then start posting new things. The stories will be tagged Stories of Nonviolence.

This post here is basically a call for submissions and tips on stories you’ve heard, either personally or read online somewhere. If you want to share your own story comment below or send me a post. Otherwise, if you’ve heard a story and can send me the link or a brief description so I can search for the story, I’ll be happy to give you credit.

Let the story telling begin.

25 thoughts on “Stories of Creative Nonviolence”

  1. Not a true story, but the film Shotgun Stories has a very moving scene in which a character uses a non-violent and potentially suicidal act to try and end a string of violence between two feuding sets of brothers.

    I'll have to think some more about true stories.

  2. Excellent! One of my favorite stories of nonviolence is that of Te Whiti…I first learned of him in Mark Kurlansky's book: Nonviolence, the History of a Dangerous Idea. Definitely worth a look.

  3. I definitely look forward to this. I love the theory of non violence, and it's effectiveness in civil rights is well documented, but I'd like to see some stories and thoughts on how it can be effective against threats of terrorism and the like.

  4. Michael, thanks for stopping by! You seem to be an authoritative source on the subject, so I'll take your word for it. I tried googling around and figuring out what was the proper way, but couldn't decide. nonviolence it is!

  5. No, Ariah. Satyagraha is often capitalized, but nonviolence needn't be. While we're talking, though, would you consider changing that photo of the twisted gun? The hardest misconception to overcome is that nonviolence is just the absence of violence, so it doesn't help to use a violent image, even blocked in some way. Gandhi, the spinning wheel, a recent photo of the marching monks in Burma — there are lots of positive alternatives.
    All best, Michael

  6. Good call on the image too. I'll see if I can find something. I had just looked on Flickr for creative commons images and was surprised to see a statue like that, don't even know where it's from.

  7. In the 3rd century, the Carthaginian Christians were heavily persecuted for almost a year, but they chose not to defend themselves through the use of violence. Soon afterward the city was hit with a severe outbreak of disease, but the Bishop Cyprian said in a sermon, "there is nothing remarkable in cherishing merely our own people… we should do something more than heathens, overcoming evil with good, and practicing merciful kindness like that of God, we should love our enemies as well." While many people fled the city, the Christians stayed to care for the people who were previously persecuting them. As a result, the church in Carthage began to grow rapidly.

    I found this story in a book I started reading. I hope it's helpful.

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