Thursday, September 24, 2015

         Pacifism is opposition to war and violence as a means of settling disputes. The UN was created to ‘save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.’ UN charter signees pledged to ‘practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours.’ They further pledged 'to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest.’
         Leo Tolstoy's ideas on nonviolent resistance, expressed in The Kingdom of God Is Within You, influenced the social activism of Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Tolstoy, Gandhi and King interpreted Jesus’s 'turn the other cheek' to mean powerful passive resistance, and used it as a form of protest against oppressive attitudes and government policy. King was encouraged by Gandhi’s success in winning opponents to friendship, rather than humiliating or defeating them. King stated, ‘The chain reaction of evil — wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.’ Burmese political leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s philosophy of non-violence, love, and compassion is influenced by Gandhi's strategies of passive resistance, and by quietistic Buddhist concepts. The Buddha said, ‘One who conquers himself is greater than another who conquers a thousand times a thousand on the battlefield.’ In his Notes on Pacifism, Albert Einstein wrote, ‘Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.’
         An individual’s conscience or nation’s law may
prohibit participation in any act of war or perhaps any act of violence. Sadly, twentieth-century history is evidence that nonviolent tactics usually failed to disarm a violent enemy, or even to preserve communities practicing pacifism. Despite their knowledge of conflict and aggression, governments continue to react with violence to perceived threats. (See also Defense.)

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