Friday, October 2, 2009

International Day of Non-Violence

Today is October 2nd, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.
(If you don't know who Ghandi is, then I will probably die a little inside)
Also, in honor of the man who made the world mindful of non-violence, today is the International Day of Non-Violence, as declared by the UN in 2007.

I hope this young holiday will gain recognition over time, now more then ever as global cultures merge and different ways of living are brought to light.

I also wish I could think of way to say this in a way that would inspire. But on 3 hours of sleep, this is the best I can do. The message is simple: At all times, there is an alternative to violence. At all times, kindness is possible. And often the best way to diffuse an a situation of escalating violence, whether it be violence of words or violence of action, is to step back and respond with non-violence.

I suppose we could go into debate whether violent self-defense is justified. The truth is, I don't know, and every situation is unique. I am certainly not going to condemn the farmer's daughter in India who disarmed and killed a terrorist with his own gun as he and his buddies attacked her family. Her village, and nearby villages are constantly bullied by such militas, who use violence to get what they want. To incorporate non-violence in such a situation would be very difficult.

But I am not a farmer's daughter living in an area plagued by such horrors. I am an Alaskan college student, who lives a very fortunate life. I think most of us live fortunate lives. While I do try everyday to be mindful of my actions and speech, this is not an easy thing to do. But today, in honor of a man who captured the world's attention with his non-violence, I will focus on violence in my life, and how it can be met or remedied. Violence of action has never been a problem of mine, but violence of words can be, mostly in venting frustration. Words can hurt more then fists.

So today, on Ghandi's birthday, and the International Day of Non-Violence, what do you plan to do?

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