Talk of war is depressing me. My core belief is that a violent reaction to anything, including violence, is a show of weakness rather than strength. I keep hearing people talking about our need to show “strength” to the world by bombing Syria’s current despot. I hear people saying that it’s our responsibility to aid the poor rebels and the best way to do that is to join them in war. But if the rebels succeed in taking down the current evil leader, will they actually be more humane when they’re in charge? Will they simply put their own version of evil in power? Do we really know who has the moral superiority between the two? I hear people saying it’s our responsibility to lead the world in humanitarian efforts and to squash atrocities.
Here’s my problem with that: war can never be a humanitarian action. War always results in innocent people being killed. If your effort to help one innocent person results in killing another innocent person – it’s not a moral victory at all. It’s a tragedy.
I insist that if Gandhi could lead his nation to push the British out without resorting to violence – the rest of the world’s leaders need to rise to that standard. He showed us it can be done. No one can say that non-violence can’t be powerful. We have seen evidence to the contrary. It might not be as EASY, but then, the moral road is rarely the easy or fast solution. It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to violence without a weapon of your own besides your brains and your convictions.
That’s real strength. To let your humanity lead you. To face another human who means you harm and to not react to threats, to not give in to them either. That’s real strength. And it means you’ll probably get hurt, and maybe killed. But if everyone stands with you and refuses to use violence with you then it becomes harder and harder for bullies to maintain their sense of righteousness. That’s what happened to the British. Their morale went down and their convictions that they were doing right weakened as they continued to shoot and punch and jail people who refused to fight back.
I have personal experience with this tactic working. I faced a bully without violence or threats. I told her to go ahead and beat me up like she was threatening because I was tired of her trying to scare me. I told her I wouldn’t fight back because I don’t believe in fighting. I told her she should go ahead and get it over with. It was not the response she was hoping for and she didn’t know what to do about it. In the end she respected me because I refused to be intimidated by her.
But when I stood up to her I knew there was a good chance I would get the crap beaten out of me. At the time I didn’t think of myself as doing anything courageous. I was just so tired of being threatened by this stupid bully and I didn’t see how fighting her would benefit me. I’d kicked an earlier bully when she was on the ground in a fight with someone else and to this day the feeling of kicking another human being makes me nauseous. And it sure didn’t make that previous bully stop bullying me. She stopped bullying me when I refused to be intimidated any more.
Huh. So I guess I have succeeded in shedding a bully off my back TWICE by facing the bully with calm strength.
Humanitarian actions and aid can never be based on violence. You give people shelter, political asylum, medical supplies, gas masks, food, clean water, and blankets. You engage in peace talks, negotiations, disarmament.
Violence is weakness and cowardice.
Wouldn’t it be great if all the world’s problems could be solved with beer and bar food?
I’ve been sewing sets of dinner napkins this week and trying not to strain my back. I almost started writing this morning (Cricket and Grey) but decided to write here first. I’m going to have to go heat my back and lie down a little when I’m done here so I may postpone getting back into it until tomorrow morning.
It’s super nice and cool out. I hope it stays this way!
Max is still on a cheese trying kick. He tried Babybel, Dubliner sharp cheddar, and elderflower cheese. He didn’t like any of them. He did really like the wax covering on the Babybel cheese and commented that it was great because it could be used later for something else, like candles. I can’t tell if this is a sign that I’ve been raising him to be resourceful during an apocalypse or if this is a sign that he’s a true Williamson and is the new generation of clinical hoarder? His grandfather saved years worth of lint from the dryer with the vague idea of “doing something with it later”. The difference is in whether or not he actually does anything with the weird things he collects.
I have finally fallen for Colbert. My friend Sid has been waiting for this to happen, sure that it had to eventually happen – and she was right! This week I finally truly GET HIM.
Time to go take care of my back and then decide what to tackle today. Hope you all have a fabulous Friday! Hope we don’t start another war over the weekend!