Nonviolence Should Not Be Seen as Exception to Rule

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), February 2, 2008 | Go to article overview

Nonviolence Should Not Be Seen as Exception to Rule


Byline: FROM HEART TO HEART By Shevach Lambert For The Register-Guard

It is our hope that this "Season for Nonviolence," held in our area and around the world between Jan. 30 and April 4, will deepen our respect for others and for the interconnectedness of life, help us understand the cause and the hurt that lies behind hurtful behavior, and lead us to acceptance and appreciation of who we are when we live, not in opposition to, but in connection with each other.

We often tend to define nonviolence more in terms of what is missing than of what is happening.

We think nonviolence is only a lack of conflict, a suspension of hostility, or a temporary abeyance of hate. Peace from this perspective may be an exception to the rule of violence, but violence still defines the parameters of peace.

Other languages than English suggest a more comprehensive understanding of peace.

Both the Arabic "salaam" and the Hebrew "shalom" derive from root words meaning wholeness, completeness, a harmony of opposites. Peace so defined means more than an absence of violence; it embraces a higher hope for humanity. It defines us in terms of our highest potential instead of our lowest common denominator. What does it really mean to be whole, complete and in harmony? We think it requires us to expand our definition of self to include others. It means we must think outside our isolation and accept our shared humanity as fundamental to our sense of self.

Nonviolence is also rooted in the recognition that those who seek to hurt us are themselves hurting. It is a realization that all parties to a conflict possess a share of the truth, and that the goal is not to have one truth triumph over another, but rather that each truth help illuminate another. …

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Nonviolence Should Not Be Seen as Exception to Rule
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