Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Banner

From left to right, top to bottom

M.K. Gandhi, "Father" of modern nonviolence. Coined the term 'satyagrahi' variously translated as soul force, or truth force and is a way of applying ahimsa (sanskrit for nonviolence) to an individual and her attempt to engage with her context

Maha Ghosananda, the "Gandhi of Cambodia" inaugaurated the dhammayietras in Cambodia. These peace walks initially went through the most violent parts of Khmer Rouge controlled Cambodia as a statement that Cambodia was no longer under the control of violence and fear.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese democratic champion, leader of the National League for Democracy, and nonviolent proponent. Her father led the nation to indepence but the country fell into the hands of the military. In 1988 a nonviolent student 'uprising' led to a nation-wide strike and led to the agreement to hold elections. In 1990, those elections were resoundingly won by the NLD, but the military reneged on it's promise to hand over power if they lost. Burma continue to struggle for a nonviolent society where peace and justice reign.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the spiritual leader of South Africa through decades of apartheid oppression. He was devoted to seeing practical and political peace, and equal race relations a reality in his country.

Marching Monks of Myanmar, the Saffron Revolution. This abortive movement rose over the increasing costs of living such as fuel in Myanmar in 2007. Thousands took to the streets. Tragically, the military junta used brutality to quash this people movement. Many monks were tortured and killed.

Martin Luther King, Jr, recognised as the spokesperson for the American Civil Rights Movement. Dr King and thousands of black and white Americans used nonviolent means to bring equality amongst the two races. Well known tactics of the Civil Rights Movement included the Freedom Rides and Lunch Room Sit-ins.

Obviously these are just the highlights, people who are symbols of a far greater movement that cannot be simply reduced to the greatness of any one person. But their stories, and the stories behind them inspire us to a beautiful world where nonviolence is the norm, peace our expectation and justice a reality.

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