The spirit of nonviolence appears in many forms. For some it derives from deep religious conviction, for some from a profound humanism and the sense of the spiritual and human value of all people, for some that active nonviolence is the most effective strategy to work for social justice and a better world.

Deep religious conviction has played the dominant role in the great nonviolence leaders such as Jesus, the Buddha, George Fox, Ghaffar Khan, Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and these were people whose lives changed the way people thought and behaved thereafter.

The spirit of nonviolence was expressed in some of the last words in 1660 of the early Quaker, James Naylor:

“There is a spirit which I feel that delights to do no evil, nor to revenge any wrong, but delights to endure all things, in hope to enjoy its own in the end.”

The people and events in this calendar demonstrate that spirit. That spirit still requires people to give it expression, to keep it alive in the world. The more it is practised the easier it becomes.

Some of these examples are of wonderfully courageous actions by individuals, some of great victories by people power, some of tragic deaths, some of tireless and committed work that did not bring all the results hoped for. However nonviolence no more guarantees success than violence. In many cases an individual action may have failed but raises public awareness and contributes to the longer campaign which is successful.

Nonviolence is not passive acceptance of injustice. Active nonviolence is ready to fight for justice though it refuses to use violence to achieve the changes.

Nonviolence is part of all cultures, but it is hidden beneath the records of wars and violence. We need to trumpet the record of all these people who have contributed to the long struggle for democracy, for civil and human rights and for sustainable living on the planet.

The Six Principles of Nonviolence

From the IFOR website :