All we are saying is give peace a chance

JAY VALLE | Scroll Illustration According to a United Nations report, since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, over 93,000 people have died and over a million have been displaced. The protests that led to the war started peacefully, but quickly turned violent when the government started killing peaceful protesters.

JAY VALLE | Scroll Illustration
According to a United Nations report, since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, over 93,000 people have died and over a million have been displaced. The protests that led to the war started peacefully, but quickly turned violent when the government started killing peaceful protesters.

As children we were taught that violence is never the answer. As adults, we seem to have forgotten this life lesson: violence and killings are raging across the world.

In Cairo, 51 are dead and nearly 435 people were injured during the sit-ins near the Republican Guard headquarters July 8, according to MSNBC.

These protests began in 2012, when Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi granted himself unlimited powers to “protect” the nation, and the power to legislate without judicial oversight of his acts, according to The Huffington Post.

Morsi was taken out of office and put into prison. Now, Morsi supporters are protesting his removal.  Witness Al-Shaimaa Younes, who was at the sit-in, told the Associated Press that troops and police forces opened fire on the protesters during early morning prayers.

“They opened fire with live ammunition and lobbed tear gas,” she said. “There was panic and people started running. I saw people fall.”

These protests are violent acts on a much larger scale because more people are getting hurt, but situations like this usually begin with something smaller.

According to CNN, Referee Jordan Silva was stoned and dismembered after fatally stabbing soccer player Josenir Santo Abreu, when the two broke into a fight over a red card during a game in Brazil July 7.

In Bangkok, an American tourist was hacked to death with a machete after refusing to pay a taxi driver the $1.60 cab fare July 6, according to NBC News.

These are only a few examples of violent acts that are happening around the world, and they all happened just within the last few weeks.

The question here remains: Does violence really solve anything? If it doesn’t, what do we need to do differently?

People have learned to believe that they can get what they want through violence, but all they manage to do is create chaos.

Acting out in violence is a way for people to express emotions they don’t otherwise know how to express.

Saleha Ali, a writer for The Independent Blogs, said there is no reason for violence when we have at our disposal peaceful channels of protest.

“Pacifism as well as with adventurist stunts, violence is viewed as something abstract, rather than in terms of its relationship to the demands of the cause itself. Both sides display a shortsighted view of history and express a narrow definition of democracy as a pragmatic, technical process rather than something that arises from the depths of society,” Ali said.

During the civil rights movement, black groups participated in a series of nonviolent protests as a way to gain equality.

No matter how much the groups were ridiculed and beaten, most stayed silent and didn’t respond to the attacks.

Eventually, they were able to win the fight for their rights. Instead of violently acting out, they effectively voiced their concerns and won.

Ali said there is a common misconception that the rights and freedoms people enjoy today are gifts that were given to us.

“We see that social and political movements have often involved conflict and acts of violence. So are we perhaps missing the point when our focus seems to have shifted from the politics of the struggle to the process itself?” Ali said.

Some people aren’t willing to negotiate, and violence is often the only way to get them to listen, but this shouldn’t be our solution to everything.

Ali said that whether or not violence is justified in civil disobedience, people should stop and ask, “What are we fighting for, and what is the best strategy for its success?”

We should allow for diplomatic actions to take precedence over pulling the war card.

Grown men and women should be able to sit in a room and discuss things in a rational manner. Violence should be a last resort, if it should be one at all.

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