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Quotes for Nonviolence

* It takes four generations to recover from every act of violence.
-- Rebecca Adamson

The Season For Nonviolence has grown into an important educational and media opportunity to bring communities together, empowering them to envision and help create a nonviolent world, one heart and one day at a time. Throughout the 64-day campaign, events and activities for peace and nonviolence take place all around the world, highlighting existing peacebuilding initiatives and inspiring new year-round activities for a more peaceful, nonviolent, just and sustainable world.
-- Robert Alan Silverstein

Conflicts are fueled by the tendency of the powerful to exploit the power and the anger and frustration of the powerless, which turns into violence. International Solidarity Movement activists are attempting to confront the exploitation of power and to bring back hope to the powerless.
-- Ghassan Andoni

"It may seem sometimes as if a culture of peace does not stand a chance against the culture of war, the culture of violence and the cultures of impunity and intolerance. Peace may indeed be a complex challenge, dependent on action in many fields and even a bit of luck from time to time. It may be a painfully slow process, and fragile and imperfect when it is achieved. But peace is in our hands. We can do it."
-- Kofi Annan

* What my experience has taught me is that regardless of how complicated the problems might appear, it is possible to work through them and find solutions that are mutually satisfactory to every stakeholder in the problem… most of our problems on this earth are created by us and therefore we have the capacity and the obligation to unmake them.
-- Hizkias Assefa

* That's all nonviolence is - organized love.
-- Joan Baez

I would say that I'm a nonviolent soldier. In place of weapons of violence, you have to use your mind, your heart, your sense of humor, every faculty available to you...because no one has the right to take the life of another human being.
-- Joan Baez

* The world censures those who take up arms to defend their causes and calls on them to use nonviolent means in voicing their grievances. But when a people chooses the nonviolent path, it is all too often the case that hardly anyone pays attention. It is tragic that people have to suffer and die and the television cameras have to deliver the pictures to people's homes every day before the world at large admits there is a problem.
-- Bishop Carlos Belo

* One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the US around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better.
-- Daniel Berrigan

* We must look towards societies that set a high value on nonaggression and noncompetitive ness, and therefore handle conflicts by nonviolent means. We can see how child rearing patterns produce nurturing adult behaviors.”
-- Elise Boulding

 

* "Non-violence is not inaction. It is not discussion. It is not for the timid or weak … Non-violence is hard work. It is the willingness to sacrifice. It is the patience to win."
-- Cesar Chavez

"There is no such thing as defeat in nonviolence."
-- Cesar Chavez

"The first principle of non-violent action is that of non-cooperation with everything humiliating."
-- Cesar Chavez

* Non-violence can truly flourish when the world is free of poverty, hunger, discrimination, exclusion, intolerance and hatred - when women and men can realize their highest potential and live a secure and fulfilling life. Until then, each and every one of us would have to contribute - collectively and individually - to build peace through non-violence.
-- Anwarul Chowdhury

* I think the only choice that will enable us to hold to our vision. . . is one that abandons the concept of naming enemies and adopts a concept familiar to the nonviolent tradition: naming behavior that is oppressive
-- Barbara Deming

Gandhi once declared that it was his wife who unwittingly taught him the effectiveness of nonviolence. Who better than women should know that battles can be won without resorting to physical strength.
-- Barbara Deming

A liberation movement that is nonviolent sets the oppressor free as well as the oppressed.
-- Barbara Deming

* Nonviolent Peaceforce ...is building a large-scale professional force of well-trained unarmed peacekeepers ... This nonviolent peacekeeping provides an alternative to which we may say YES when we say NO to war.
-- Mel Duncan

* "We demand a non-violent world where human security is the basis of our common global security. People have the right to live in a world where the basic needs of all peoples are addressed. No more military attacks. No more war.”
-- Shirin Ebadi

"Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming ALL other living beings, we are still savages."
-- Thomas Edison

* "Violence sometimes may have cleared away obstructions quickly, but it never has proved itself creative."
-- Albert Einstein

* If the Gandhian moment is to be realized, then it must encompass both concerns with the violence of weapons and the violence of inequitable structures of domination and exploitation. Perhaps, unwittingly, the visibility of this violence due to the globalization of media coverage, especially TV, will hasten the process by which the peoples of the world sick from violence and the suffering entailed, will hasten the awakening of conscience and commitment needed to carry forward the struggle for a nonviolent world order. This is as much as we can hope for at present, but such a hope will certainly prove vain if we do not also act to the fullness of our individual and collective capacities to rid the world of war and violence.
-- Richard Falk

* Nonviolence is something very powerful, and the power behind it is not weapons, but the support of the people.
-- Arun Gandhi

So many people around the world have used nonviolence as a way to resolve a conflict that they faced in their lives. And they continue to use it everywhere all over the world there. And I think, in a way, nonviolence is our nature. Violence is not really our nature. If violence was our nature, we wouldn’t need military academies and martial arts institutes to teach us how to kill and destroy people. We ought to have been born with those instincts. But the fact that we have to learn the art of killing means that it’s a learned experience. And we can always unlearn it.
-- Arun Gandhi

Nonviolence, therefore, can be described as an honest and diligent pursuit of truth. It could also mean the search for the meaning of life or the purpose of life, questions that have tormented humankind for centuries. The fact that we have not been able to find satisfactory answers to these questions does not mean there is no answer. It only means we have not searched with any degree of honesty. The search has to be both external and internal. We seek to ignore this crucial search because the sacrifices it demands are revolutionary. It means moving away from greed, selfishness, possessiveness, and dominance to love, compassion, understanding, and respect.
-- Arun Gandhi

* "There is no hope for the aching world except through the narrow and straight path of nonviolence."
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi

"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi

[He] alone is truly nonviolent who remains nonviolent even though he has the ability to strike.
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi

"Victory attained by violence is tantamount to defeat for it is only momentary."
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi

"Nonviolence is not to be used ever as the shield of the coward. It is the weapon of the brave."
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi

"Things undreamt of are daily being seen, the impossible is ever becoming possible. We are constantly being astonished these days at the amazing discoveries in the field of violence. But I maintain that far more undreamt of and seemingly impossible discoveries will be made in the field of nonviolence."
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi

In the application of the method of non-violence, one must believe in the possibility of every person, however depraved, being reformed under humane and skilled treatment.
--
Mohandas K. Gandhi

"Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man."
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi

Courtesy towards opponents and eagerness to understand their view-point is the ABC of non-violence.
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi

"Generally speaking, the first nonviolent act is not fasting, but dialogue. The other side, the adversary, is recognized as a person, he is taken out of his anonymity and exists in his own right, for what he really is, a person. To engage someone in dialogue is to recognize him, have faith in him. At every step in the nonviolent struggle, at every level we try tirelessly to establish a dialogue, or reestablish it if it has broken down. When I say 'the other side,' that could be a group of persons or a government."
-- Hildegard Goos-Mayr

"All ideologies end up killing people. If you separate love from nonviolence you turn nonviolence into an ideology, a gimmick. Structures that are not inhabited by justice and love have no liberating or reconciling force, and are never sources of life."
-- Jean Goss

* "The essence of nonviolence is love. Out of love and the willingness to act selflessly, strategies, tactics, and techniques for a nonviolent struggle arise naturally. Nonviolence is not a dogma; it is a process."
-- Thich Nhat Hanh

 

* In the next 30 years we can destroy our world. With the very same powers — spiritual, social, scientific — we can evolve our world. Our mission is to serve as catalysts for a planetary awakening in our lifetime, to take a non-violent path to the next stage of our evolution.
-- Barbara Marx Hubbard

* I think we brought to the world, the United States anyway, the whole idea of boycotting as a nonviolent tactic. I think we showed the world that nonviolence can work to make social change.
-- Dolores Huerta

* Peace is the alternative to war, and nonviolence should be seen as the antidote to violence, not simply as its opposite. Nonviolence is more concerned with saving life than with saving face.
-- Jesse Jackson

I preach nonviolence because it's the better alternative.
-- Jesse Jackson

The trouble is that nonviolence is so often defined as refusal to fight, and that is the American definition of cowardice. In fact, marching unarmed against the guns and dogs of the police requires more courage than does aggression. The perverted idea of manhood coming from the barrel of a gun is what keeps people from understanding nonviolence.
-- Jesse Jackson

if whites would vote their economic interests, not their racial fears, we the people who have the most need for change have the power to bring about that change nonviolently.
-- Jesse Jackson

The trouble is that nonviolence is so often defined as refusal to fight, and that is the American definition of cowardice. In fact, marching unarmed against the guns and dogs of the police requires more courage than does aggression. The perverted idea of manhood coming from the barrel of a gun is what keeps people from understanding nonviolence.
-- Jesse Jackson

"The vision I see is not only a movement of direct democracy, of self- and co-determination and non-violence, but a movement in which politics means the power to love and the power to feel united on the spaceship Earth...
-- Petra Kelly

* In a world struggling in violence and dishonesty, the further development of non-violence - not only as a philosophy but as a way of life, as a force on the streets, in the market squares, outside the missile bases, inside the chemical plants and inside the war industry - becomes one of the most urgent priorities."
-- Petra Kelly

* Today’s world is traveling in some strange direction. You see that the world is going toward destruction and violence. And the specialty of violence is to create hatred among people and to create fear. I am a believer in nonviolence and I say that no peace or tranquility will descend upon the people of the world until nonviolence is practiced, because nonviolence is love and it stirs courage in people.
-- Badshah Khan

* "...We have an historic opportunity for a great global healing and renewal. If we will accept the challenge of nonviolent activism with faith, courage, and determination, we can bring this great vision of a world united in peace and harmony from a distant ideal into glowing reality."
-- Coretta Scott King

* "At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love."
--Martin Luther King, Jr.

* Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political moral questions of our time.
--Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage that they did not know they had. Finally it reaches the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconciliation becomes a reality."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation.
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

[nonviolence] seeks to secure moral ends through moral means.
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. Indeed it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it.
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

"In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self-purification; and direct action."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The principle of nonviolent resistance seeks to reconcile the truths of two opposites - acquiescence and violence - while avoiding the extremes and immoralities of both. The nonviolent resister agress with the person who acquisces that one should not be physically agressive toward his opponent; but he balances the equation by agreeing with the person of violence that evil must be resisted. He avoids the nonresistance of the former and the violent resistance of the latter. With nonviolent resistance, no invidual or group need to submit to any wrong, nor need anyone resort to violence in order to right a wrong."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

* Citizens across the United States are now uniting in a great cause to establish a Department of Peace, seeking nothing less than the transformation of our society, to make non-violence an organizing principle, to make war archaic through creating a paradigm shift in our culture for human development, for economic and political justice and for violence control.
-- Dennis Kucinich

* Emotional intelligence in the work that we do in the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program, is about equipping young people with the kinds of skills they need to both identify and manage their emotions, to communicate those emotions effectively, and to resolve conflict nonviolently. So it's a whole set of skills and competencies that, for us, fall under the umbrella of emotional intelligence.
~ Linda Lantieri

* "I believe in nonviolence as a way of life, as a way of living."
-- John R. Lewis

We have come a long way in America because of Martin Luther King, Jr. He led a disciplined, nonviolent revolution under the rule of law, a revolution of values, a revolution of ideas. We’ve come a long way, but we still have a distance to go before all of our citizens embrace the idea of a truly interracial democracy, what I like to call the Beloved Community, a nation at peace with itself.
-- John R. Lewis

* "We are all invited to work together for peace. We shall join hands and minds to work for peace through active nonviolence. We shall help one another, encourage one another and learn from one another how to bring peace to our children and to all."
-- Mairead Corrigan Maguire

"If we want to reap the harvest of peace and justice in the future, we will have to sow seeds of nonviolence, here and now, in the present."
-- Mairead Corrigan Maguire

I believe that hope for the future depends on each of us taking nonviolence into our hearts and minds and developing new and imaginative structures which are nonviolent and life-giving for all. Some people will argue that this is too idealistic. I believe it is very realistic. I am convinced that humanity is fast evolving to this higher consciousness. For those who say it cannot be done, let us remember that humanity learned to abolish slavery. Our task now is no less than the abolition of violence and war .... We can rejoice and celebrate today because we are living in a miraculous time. Everything is changing and everything is possible.
-- Mairead Corrigan Maguire

We need now to build a culture of geniune nonviolence and real democracy.
-- Mairead Corrigan Maguire

"...I believe, with Gandhi, that we need to take an imaginative leap forward toward fresh and generous idealism for the sake of all humanity -- that we neeed to renew this ancient wisdom of nonviolence, to strive for a disarmed world, and to create a culture of nonviolence."
-- Mairead Corrigan Maguire

* A universal renunciation of violence requires the commitment of the whole of society. These are not matters of government but matters of State; not only matters for the authoirities, but for society in its entirety, including civilian, military, and religious bodies. The mobilization which is urgently needed to effect the transition within two or three years from a culture of war to a culture of peace demands co-operation from everyone. In order to change, the world needs everyone. 
-- Federico Mayor

The students I've been with these twenty years are looking for a world where it becomes a little easier to love and a lot harder to hate, where learning nonviolence means that we dedicate our hearts, minds, time, and money to a commitment that the force of love, the force of truth, the force of justice, and the force of organized resistance to corrupt power are seen as sane and the force of fists, guns, armies, and bombs insane.
-- Colman McCarthy

* "Wars aren't stopped by fighting wars, any more than you can fight fire with fire. You fight fire with water. You fight violence with nonviolence."
-- Colman McCarthy

* I think that nonviolence is one way of saying that there are other ways to solve problems, not only through weapons and war. Nonviolence also means the recognition that the person on one side of the trench and the person on the other side of the trench are both human beings, with the same faculties. At some point they have to begin to understand one another.
-- Rigoberta Menchu

Nonviolence doesn't always work - but violence never does.
-- Madge Michaels-Cyrus

 

* The survival of democracy depends on renunciation of violence and the development of nonviolent means to combat evil and advance the good.
-- A. J. Muste

* "The essence of nonviolence is love. Out of love and the willingness to act selflessly, strategies, tactics, and techniques for a nonviolent struggle arise naturally. Nonviolence is not a dogma; it is a process."
-- Thich Nhat Hanh

 

This is a time that calls for extreme restraint. In a world of outright aggression and violence there can be no winners. To respond to violence with counter-violence only throws oil on the fire."
-- Tenzin Palmo

* When we hear the other person's feelings and needs, we recognize our common humanity.
-- Marshall Rosenberg

* What shall we choose? Violence or non violence? …We have to choose knowing that when we are violent to our enemies, we do violence to ourselves. When we brutalize others, we brutalize ourselves. And eventually we run the risk of becoming our oppressors.
-- Arundhati Roy
"The tradition of nonviolence, optimism, concern for the individual, and unconditional compassion that developed in Tibet is the culmination of a slow inner revolution, a cool one, hard to see, that began 2,500 years ago with the Buddha's insight about the end of suffering. What I have learned from these people has forever changed my life, and I believe their culture contains an inner science particularly relevant to the difficult time in which we live."
-- Robert Thurman

"All who affirm the use of violence admit it is only a means to achieve justice and peace. But peace and justice are nonviolence...the final end of history. Those who abandon nonviolence have no sense of history. Rathy they are bypassing history, freezing history, betraying history."
-- André Trocmé

 

* "Nonviolence is the answer for the questions of our time. Love will conquer evil every time."
-- James Twyman

Nonviolent revolution does not seek the liberation simply of a class or race or nation. It seeks the liberation of mankind…
-- Council of the War Resisters' International

 

We desire peace - and that is why we have never resorted to physical force. We crave for justice - and that is why we are so persistent in the struggle for our rights. We seek freedom of convictions - and that is why we have never attempted to enslave man's conscience, nor shall we ever attempt to do so. We are fighting for the right of the working people to association and for the dignity of human labor. We respect the dignity and the rights of every man and every nation. The path to a brighter future of the world leads through honest reconciliation of the conflicting interests and not through hatred and bloodshed. To follow that path means to enhance the moral power of the all-embracing idea of human solidarity.
-- Lech Walesa

* "The power of nonviolence is not circumstance-specific. It is as applicable to the problems that confront us now, as to problems that confronted generations in the past. It is not a medicine or a solution so much as a healing process. It is the active spiritual immune system of humanity."
-- Marianne Williamson

The Department of Peace would take a more human approach to healing our society, looking not merely for ways we can destroy an enemy, but for more powerful ways to create new friends. While the State Department engages in international diplomacy, there is no domestic parallel. There is no department seeking to harness the power of a nonviolent heart.
-- Marianne Williamson

* "In a world where change is inevitable and continuous, the need to achieve that change without violence is essential for survival."
-- Andrew Young

* Our planet is dying - both spiritually and physically. Fear, aggression and greed, narrow-minded national interests and immature dominance and control over others is a common theme in most countries. However, there are more and more people who define themselves as global citizens, who know that life is intimately interconnected, and that we can never be fully human whilst others continue to suffer, and who know that love, justice and nonviolence is the very essence of life. And what gives me hope is the very many different ways in which ordinary people are taking responsibility. They are creating the changes needed to pass beyond war and injustice, control and dominance and towards a free, just, loving, and diverse world.
-- Angie Zelter

 

* The strike, the boycott, the refusal to serve, the ability to paralyze the functioning of a complex social structure-these remain potent weapons against the most fearsome state or corporate power.
-- Howard Zinn


Season For Nonviolence - January 30-April 4

 

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