Africa, People, Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Peace & Partnership

Five peaceful leaders to celebrate International Day of Non-Violence

Responsible Business | Oct 02, 2018

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“Non-violence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him” – Martin Luther King Jr

The International Day of Non-Violence is marked on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. The principle of non-violence rejects the use of physical violence in order to achieve social or political change. This form of social struggle has been adopted by mass populations all over the world in campaigns for social justice. There are people in this world who have gone about making the changes they thought necessary without violence or pure brute force, and these are the people that the International Day of Non-Violence celebrates.

5 facts about the impact of violence globally:

Here we have listed 5-non violent leaders who can inspire us:

1. Martin Luther King Jr

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Martin Luther King Jr used non-violent civil disobedience to fight against the segregation policy of America against blacks. He proposed equality of both the races and used peaceful marches and speeches to raise awareness and build pressure on the government to change the way things were. Through the practical experience of leading non-violent protests, King came to understand how nonviolence could become a way of life, applicable to all situations. In the autobiographical chapter of his first book, King wrote, “the conviction that nonviolent resistance was one of the most potent weapons available to oppressed people in their quest for social justice.”

2. Mahatma Gandhi

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Mahatma Gandhi is perhaps one of the most revered nonviolent leaders in the world. He led the movement for the independence of India from Great Britain and his peaceful protests have since become the framework for nonviolent civil disobedience around the world. He led nationwide peaceful movements and campaigns for the eradication of poverty, expanding women’s rights, ending untouchability and establishing Swaraj. The memory of Gandhi and his form of peaceful civil disobedience lives on, inspiring and giving hope to marginalized communities around the globe.

3. Bob Marley

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Bob Marley stood for universal peace and non-violence as he looked to unite people all over the world through his music. He tried to break racial barriers and violence by the use of love and music. He earned this distinction for his courageous work appealing for justice and peace during a time of great political unrest and unprecedented violence in the streets of Kingston, Jamaica. He once performed a show after having been shot the day before saying that when the people he sings against don’t take a break then how could he.

4. Mairead Maguire

Photo credit: Nobel Peace Submit

She co-founded the Community for Peace People, which is an organization that encouraged a peaceful resolution to the troubles in Northern Ireland. Peace rallies were attended by many thousands of people – mostly women, and during this time there was a 70% decrease in the rate of violence. She was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her work. She has spent her life since then to bearing witness to oppression and standing in solidarity with people living in conflict, including most in Syria.

5. Nelson Mandela

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Nelson Mandela’s actions, specifically his speeches and nonviolent protests during his lifetime, were impressive and had profound changes all over the world. His whole life he was fighting against apartheid, the white minority in South Africa, and equal rights for all citizens. Mandela spent 28 years in prison for fighting white rule before leading South Africa to multi-racial democracy as the country’s first black president in 1994. Mandela’s peaceful tactics were responsible not only to bring ANC into power but to unite the two races of the country during his rule as president.

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