Non-Violence is Victory

They say that prompts are just that: prompts designed to inspire a post. What you do with a prompt is ultimately up to you.  In an ironic way, this week’s Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: ‘Victory’  has led me to muse about topics such as nonviolence, international peace, and nonviolent responses to terror.

The Friday prompt was ‘Victory’–‘Forget about the sad times. This week it’s all about revelling in a win.’   When the prompt was posted, no one knew that later, on the same day, Paris would be rocked by a brutal massacre in one of its entertainment districts, where locals and tourists would be out enjoying a meal, listening to a concert, and attending a sports event. I knew when I read the prompt, my heart could not feel victorious. The world is filled with violence, but for personal and cultural reasons, this one hit home.

On Saturday morning I woke up from a troubled sleep. As I browsed the photo challenge responses, I clicked on a few titles that seemed to mention Paris.  There were two photo posts that I would like to share:

Victory of Good, by The Modern Gentleman’s Blog–features reflections,  a  beautiful photo of a passion flower with a description of its Christian symbolism, along with this quote:

We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Using C.S.  Lewis’s metaphor:  it is my hope that world leaders will not heed shouts of anger and revenge,  and that God’s megaphone will call for an intensification of non-violent strategies to resolve conflicts  and prevent future  acts of terror and war.

The second post that captured my attention was Angel of Peace by Mittelpol Photography showing a picture of the Angel of Peace monument in Munich  with a thoughtful caption about Peace and Victory.

I also discovered this poem shared yesterday by Tribrach:  To a Terrorist by Stephen Dunn, published on the Writer’s Almanac. I found it interesting as an expression of honest emotion and an attempt to ‘understand’.  The opening lines:

For the historical ache, the ache passed down
which finds its circumstance and becomes
the present ache, I offer this poem

Finally, I offer a quote as inspiration. Although international problems are complex, it gives me solace to know what general principles I support.  It is so easy in these dangerous times to allow beliefs in non-violence to be swayed.  However, it is precisely in these times of crisis that we should question the ultimate effectiveness of violence. These are the words of a gentleman who has spent many years studying human conflict and how to obtain peace:

By peace we mean the capacity to transform conflicts with empathy, without violence, and creatively — a never-ending process.

∼Johan Galtung: principal founder of the discipline of peace and conflict studies, referred to as the “father of peace studies”.

9 thoughts on “Non-Violence is Victory

  1. Thank you for the wonderful post. Sustaining a non-violent approach to those people and their actions that generate an inner rage and impulse toward violence is one the most difficult and necessary quality to cultivate within ourselves.

    There is much i could ramble on about Non-Violent Direct Action, but here is a link to an essay by Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh ” What Would I Say to Osama bin Laden”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Firstly, thank you for writing this Janice. It is a wonderful piece and somehow it brought me a bit of peace as I am still in shock after recent events. And secondly, thanks for sharing my post. I am glad it caught your attention.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the post and all the links. Feeling powerless in the face of these recent events is really overwhelming and sometimes I think action is taken for the sake of responding, and being seen to respond. It is reassuring to be reminded of the importance of deeply listening, and being deeply heard for healing to occur.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very welcome–looking at the photo posts and reading about non-violence was ‘therapy’ for me. I believe you’re right–the enormous feelings promote a desire to react vengefully.


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