Monday, November 3, 2008

Mike: Reply to Rami's 10/21 Posting

Your post put me to thinking about guidelines for those who embrace a "nonviolent way to resist an unjust system of oppression." I think, as you might imagine, that one resists not only systems but individuals. Here's a first draft of my list.

1. That which dehumanizes you or others is evil. No so-called necessity, philosophical or political difference, or vision of society can justify dehumanization.

2. Do not flirt with such evil or pretend it can be accommodated or tamed. Many have tried such approaches and failed. Inevitably, those who do so wind up supporting or ignoring evil for the sake of some supposed long-term good.

3. Never take up the weapons of evil to resist evil. Do no violence. Remember that the weapons we use may ultimately define or redefine us.

4. Accept the necessity of personal suffering. You may be hit, arrested, imprisoned, exiled, or killed. Suffering is the price you pay for nonviolent resistance to evil.

5. Embrace humility. Nothing is stranger than a pride-filled nonviolent prophet.

6. Do not presume to judge how others respond to evil; be content to live out your vision.

7. Do not, in your mind or deeds or words, dehumanize your oppressors--treat them as you wish they treated others.

8. Make nonviolent resistance to evil a life's work--occasional nonviolence accomplishes little.

Well, it's a start. Do you have a list?

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