Join Author Pummy Kaur at Banyen Books on Tuesday, February 4.
The anniversaries of the violent assassinations of the non-violent activist M.K. Gandhi and M.L. King, January 30th and April 4th, separated by 64 days, bookend the season of non-violence. In spite of their ultimate sacrifices for a world free of violence we now have more violence than at any time in human history. The violence we witness, or inflict, in the world is a reflection of the violence, and violations, we carry within each of our selves. Certainly there are forms of violence in the non-human world; however, they have not driven the entire life-sustaining biosphere of our only Earth to the brink of annihilating all signs of Life as we humans need them to be, in order for us to continue to be. We cannot survive outside of our biosphere, without going to extraordinary lengths to take it with us (eg., submarines and space vehicles). Our violent ways have put the very existence of our species at great risk.
As children we bear witness to violence, if not the innocent victim of it, through the media, through the entertainment provided by the adults in our lives, through our schooling institutions (as distinguished from educational institutions*). Most of the current forms of entertainment, communication, and information gathering are solitary endeavors greatly contributing to further feelings of isolation and despair. Few businesses or industries provide goods or services that are truly life affirming, or life enhancing. Our Westernized political systems are generally adversarial. Most religious institutions promote an “othering” of diversity, hatred, fear, intolerance, exclusion and violence.
The ongoing denigration of the feminine perpetuates the violence against girls and women. The outdated preference for the masculine continues to encourage the emulation of only masculine values, such as domination and competition. The glorifying of war and violence desensitizes us to the death, destruction and devastation, which they produce in the world, and subsequently in our very own psyches.
To exacerbate the matter further we have made the fatal error of believing non-violence is simply an absence of war. When, in fact, it is the way that we chose to live every day that is the root cause of all violence, with wars being a final symptom, and only a small portion of the violence perpetrated every moment in the human world. It is mostly our insatiable greed, and our addiction to convenience that gives impetus to ruthless men, and occasionally women, to continue to wage wars, make profit and have economic and military domination. It is our own internal psycho-social conflicts that create the external violence we witness, or perpetrate. Few of us are not complicit.
A world of non-violence entails a great deal more than the absence of war. It means freedom from want of basic survival necessities. It means personal security of body and mind. It means safety for women and children in their homes and lives, day or night, alone or in crowd. It means equity, justice and belonging for all beings. It means no further need for crime, nor any further need for the highly profitable judicial complex created for punishment of crime. It means an abolition of the violent military industrial complex in favour of an altruistic industrial complex of young men and women producing and promoting good through non-violence. It means perpetual access to a clean, safe, nurturing biosphere. And, perhaps most of all, it means having good reason to hope for a better world for all beings, in particular for our own human children.
The largest mass of humanity not living with personal peace and security consists of persons of colour, and women and girls. It is our voices that must be heard much more loudly than any others. It is shameful to note that in more than 100 years only a dozen or so women have been the recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. It is inconceivable that women have done little or nothing to be deserving of this. What is more likely is that in our misogyny we still think creating peace is a natural part of being female, and therefore not worthy of note. Whereas, if it is out of character for a male to do something to create peace, then it must be good, and needs to be acknowledged with great hoopla. Or, seeing it through the eyes of a mother and teacher, perhaps the members of the selection committee have been practicing what is know as Assertive Discipline (rewarding the little bits being done rightly while playing down the big bits being done wrongly, in the hope of encouraging more little bits be done rightly, and setting an example for others).
Generally, those who have received peace prizes and nominations are eminently deserving of the recognition. None of them began their peace work with the intent of receiving recognition for doing what is right and good. They did what they did because they could do nothing less and still maintain their integrity.
For further information please see https://www.banyen.com/events/kaur