Ever since the first human civilization was established, the imperfections of humanity are prone to give birth to injustices amongst ourselves. With the inveterate inclination for humans to take the best of everything for themselves, throughout history, stories of oppression from one party to another are common. However, when the exploited party becomes aware of the inequality, people begin to stand up and voice their opinions. Protests, the public demonstration of strong objection and disapproval, would be carried out by the members who feel that something must be fixed. These public declarations for change can be executed through two distinct methods— violently or peacefully. While armed protesting is argued to be faster and more glorious, peaceful protesting is the superior alternative to violent protesting because it has a higher chance to succeed, it is a lot easier to organize as participants are in a calmer state of mind, and it elevates the cause in the light of the public and media, attracting far more public participation than armed protest.
With history being filled with all kinds of coups, rebellions and civil wars. Many political scientists used to think that the most successful method to overthrow a dictator was through violence. Yet, in the book, ‘The Strategic Logic of Non-violent Conflict’, an American political scientist, Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, Erica Chenoweth, discusses the statistics of violent versus nonviolent campaigns and how the success rate of nonviolent protests double-armed protests. In the quote, “It seems to be the case that once protesters pick up guns, it legitimizes the state’s use of overwhelming violence in response’, Chenoweth tries to reason with the high success rate of non-violent protest. Chenoweth explains that upon the usage of firearms in rebelling against the state, it justifies the government to permit soldiers or policemen to fire back (Fisher, Max). The more violent an uprising becomes, the more likely it would be squashed because it becomes an urgent matter for the government to deal with. It is important to keep in mind that governments always have the option to rely on their military division to silence the protesters if things get way out of hand. This is especially true as ever since World War I, many states got their hands on tanks, automatic rifles, and other military gadgets that the rebel army cannot hope to compete with. Protests are half as likely to be successful if the military becomes involved with the efforts (Chenoweth, Erica, and Maria J. Stephan).
Non-violence strategies have the most economic and sentimental benefits, but most importantly it is the safer alternative. Approximately 17 million Americans and more are nationally engaged in the grape boycott of Chávez in 1975, which ended in grape growers agreeing to accept collective bargaining for farm work. It was a critical time in history as the rights and conditions of workers have not been neglected. Violent acts are carried out at the moment and may often lead to greater consequences. In the chaotic protests, one can easily forget what they’re fighting for. Like rage, frustration clouds their views and goals to take over one’s mind and their goals. People are hurt during violent protests, and even worse, the demonstrators can become the aggressors. When someone becomes the aggressor, people begin to feel fear and start seeing him as a troublemaker, making everyone less likely to take their side. Once the purpose is vilified it becomes exponentially harder to accomplish. Through using violence, it unintentionally invites even more violence. In addition it looks terrible for the cause because people who are violent are perceived as short-sighted, overly aggressive, and chaotic. Chávez understood this and decided that and made it his utmost priority necessary to avoid it.
Non-violence plays a major part in every civilization’s lifestyle. It describes everything we do in our lives from how we deal with our problems when they appear, how we react with other people around us, and what they choose to do with their lives. To refrain from violence when interacting with other human beings is to recognize them as persons as valuable and respectable as oneself, to respect them in spite of their differences with oneself, with tolerance, respect, mental openness, and peaceful negotiation of controversies (Cairn, Ed). With Nature you can also reflect non-violence, assuming the defense of all living things, and promoting the preservation of the natural environment that is the material source of everyone’s life. Non-violence is to practice procedures for peaceful, negotiable and serene solutions to all kinds of conflicts, whether personal, interpersonal, family, local, national, international or global. Non-violence questions all forms of injustice, oppression, abuse and violence, and it is the way to resolve conflicts, their practice may make it possible to transform the adversary into a partner rather than seeing him as an enemy.
Non-violence is seen to be utopian by many people given the forms of violence and destruction that are observed every day, but many historical examples show that not only is it possible but if you can change society and then it is worth a try. The independence of India is an example of this method since it was achieved by Gandhi in this way. Another example is provided by Martin Luther King with his revolution for civil rights. We can also see this reflected method in Nelson Mandela who achieved the end of apartheid in South Africa and who during his presidency united the country, eliminating the wounds of racism. Mandela promoted forgiveness thus avoiding the civil war that was looming. Cesar Chavez is one great example of how can non-violence change a society. Chavez became the best known Latino American civil rights activist. He founded the National Farm Workers Association. As a labor leader, Chavez employed non-violent means to bring attention to the plight of the farm.
During times of civil unrest in any country it is hard to figure out what the best way to approach change is whether that be violent or non-violent. Overthrowing an oppressive government is hard enough even when you can find a way to unite the people. I believe that peaceful protest is the best method of action in these unstable situations. Only in severe situations does peaceful protest does not work. The recent string of uprisings in the Middle East is not something that is only synonymous with the middle east. It happens all over the world throughout world history. The middle east is not a savage land where civil unrest is inevitable. This is just their time to make a change. The people who reside in the middle east are a people of culturally rich heritage and progressive thinking the same as all other cultures in the world. By looking back at history in similar situations such as the civil rights movement or even looking at fellow middle eastern countries road to revolution, Arab countries can model their own revolutions based on strategies that worked and avoiding those that didn’t work for others. Each country’s road to revolution is different. Only through peaceful protest will the people truly be able to rise up and change what they dislike about their situation. Peaceful protest draws the rest of the world’s attention on their struggle and is, therefore, the best way to raise awareness to the oppressed situation.
In conclusion, non-violence is logically, emotionally, and morally in comparison to violence. We can see from the data and see the repetition of violence failing to accomplish peace, the emotional thing of coming together, and the ethical argument of instructing your fellow activists to love as a substitute for hate. Through all of this, we are in a function to see really how non-violent strategies are in a position to go no longer genuinely a total society, however additionally one character at a time. It takes a sturdy will to combat with peace, and an act of cowardice to fight with rage, as anger is our first instinct.
- Cairn, Ed. “Violence v Non Violence: Which Is More Effective as a Driver of Change?” From Poverty to Power, 13 June 2018, oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/give-peace-a-chance-because-violent-change-doesnt-ha
- Chenoweth, Erica, and Maria J. Stephan. Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict. Columbia University Press, 2011
- Fisher, Max. “Peaceful Protest Is Much More Effective than Violence.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 29 Apr. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013 /11/05/peaceful-protest-is-much-more-effective-than-violence-in-toppling-dictators/ve-one/