Friday, May 22, 2009

It Makes Me Curious

“It makes me curious; the way the Mennonites live,”said one participant in the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute (MPI) Active Nonviolence (ANV) class. The models and principles presented in the class were peppered with stories, especially from my own Mennonite faith tradition. The realization that the use of violence to achieve change or reach some social goal at first looks very rational but quickly moves to irrationality. This is abundantly clear enough if one examines the US’s wars of the past 50 years. Embracing nonviolence as a social change agent looks crazy and irrational at first but as change comes, the rationality of intact social systems and infrastructure makes the ANV movement look sane indeed. There are numerous examples we use in the class to demonstrate this point. Starting with Gandhi’s experiment with Satiyagraha (truth force) in India to oust the British and Badja Khan his contemporary in Pakistan to the Ogoni People in the Niger Delta, the nonviolent movements are as innovative and creative as the human species is resilient. Check some of these movements out by reading the book “A Force More Powerful.” Amazon has it. My library has it too.

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