Sunday, July 31, 2005

Ode to Non-Violent Revolution OPUS II

"An armed soldier relies on his weapons for his strength.
Take away from him his weapons--his gun or his sword, and he generally becomes helpless.
But a person who has truly realized the principle of nonviolence has the God-given strength for his weapon
and the world has not known anything that can match it."
Mahatma Gandhi

The Singing Revolution
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

In 1988, as the Soviet empire showed signs of cracking and the all-pervasive sovietisation was coming to an end, Estonia's bloodless Singing Revolution made history. Night after night, a cycle of singing mass demonstrations eventually collected 300,000 Estonians (more than one-fifth of the population) in Tallinn to sing the forbidden national songs as rock musicians played. The Singing Revolution lasted over four years with various protests and acts of defiance.

On August 23, 1989 about two million people from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania stood on the Vilnius-Tallinn road, holding hands across the three countries, protesting Soviet policies. The unprecedented living chain measured nearly 600 km in length.

In 1991, as Soviet tanks were rolling throughout the countryside in an attempt to quell The Singing Revolution, the Estonian Soviet parliament together with the Congress of Estonia proclaimed the restoration of the independent State of Estonia. Estonians stood as human shields to protect radio and TV stations from the tanks.

As a result of the revolution, Estonia won their independence without bloodshed. This, along with the other Baltic states gaining independency, started the disintegration of the USSR.


Constantine said...

You're the real deal Angevoix.

voixdange said...

Thanks C.That is my goal, and what I strive for. One of the things I dislike the least in people is insincerity.

Dan Trabue said...

I love this line of education here. We need to hear more about how often Peace works.

Dan Trabue said...

Along these lines, one of my favorite "small" peacemaking stories of the last few years concerns Ohio peacemaker, Art Gish.

Art and his wife Peggy have been traveling to Hot Spots these last few years as peacemakers. A couple of years ago, Art was in Israel.

One cold evening, an Israeli soldier stopped a Palestinian youth for being out past curfew. The soldier demanded that the youth take off his coat and stand there in the cold.

Art happened along and tried to intervene on behalf of the youth, saying he'd escort him home. The soldier would have none of it.

And so, Art (who is probably in his 70's) took off his coat...and shirt, and tshirt and pants...

"What are you doing?!" the soldier asked. Art explained he was going to stand in solidarity with the youth and continued to strip.

The soldier sent them home!

"And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy shirt also..." My sort of biblical literalist.

voixdange said...

Amen, Amen Amen! Thank you for sharing this story, and please take all of the time and room you want to share more!

" I love this line of education here. We need to hear more about how often Peace works."

That is exactly why I am doing this. And trust me, I'm not finished singing yet!

madcapmum said...

That's incredibly inspiring.

olympiada said...

Hi Ange, what has prompted your desire for non-violent revolution?

voixdange said...

I am a pacifist, and my post are a response to those who feel that non-violence is pie - in - the sky heady idealism that is unrealistic as a means for social and politcal change.

Dan Trabue said...

One thought my pacifist friends and I have been kicking around is the idea of creating a website that would give pretty detailed peaceful alternatives to war-making. To my surprise and dismay, there is not such a site in existence.

I think one legitimate criticism that has been levelled towards peacemakers is that we haven't been forthcoming with answers to the question: If not war, then what?

As in, there is genocide happening in Sudan. If we don't send it troops, then what?

This website would address that and then some. Now to just find the time to do it...

voixdange said...

Great idea Dan!!!! You should do it! I have been kicking around the idea of a book along the lines of these post. People need to know that NON - VIOLENCE WORKS!

Dan Trabue said...

I'll add a realistic caveat: Just peacemaking/pacifism works, and yet sometimes it fails. Sometimes, the soldier shoots.

The thing is, I'd say that it works at least as often and in a more morally-consistent manner than war.

By choosing a pacifistic response, we may get slapped in the cheek or the offender may repent. BUT either way, we've maintained our moral authority and that's a great difference.

voixdange said...

I wouldn't neccessarily consider the soldier shooting a sign of failure. Yes, people sometimes do get hurt and even killed in non-violent protest. But you go into it fully aware that there could be consequences. Part of the beauty of it is people willing to make the ultimate sacrifice with no guarantee of success. What was it Gandhi said? “100,000 English cannot control 35 million Indians who choose to disobey.”

Dan Trabue said...

You're right of course. Dying in the process of peacemaking is not a failure, except a failure on the part of those doing the shooting. But it is often perceived and described as such by those who doubt peacemaking's power.

I embraced their mindset for a minute and probably shouldn't have. Thanks.