By Sharon Halsey-Hoover, a Campaign Nonviolence Promoter and Action Organizer in New Mexico
As a human being, there is within you a place where love dwells. In that place where love dwells there is a resistance to solving violence with more violence. In that same place where love dwells there is the desire to protect those who are being harmed. Sometimes there is tension between the wanting to resist using violence to counter violence and the desire to protect. For me this is where the greatest struggle abides.
What if all who see themselves as peacemakers, turned from trying to protect by using violence to using love? What if every person who desires peace agreed to show up in the Middle East to respond to ISIS with love. Yes, there would be lost lives, but those who would be losing their lives would be the nonviolent responders. The nonviolent responders would not, in turn, be taking lives. How long would ISIS continuing killing before love won? How long can a war go on when war is met with love? What if every time a nonviolent responder was killed another nonviolent responder stepped in? What if? Just what if, we could get enough people to turn to nonviolence to resist ISIS and all other military uprisings or oppression? We know that ISIS was formed by this country attacking Iraq…more and more heads of military and others are confirming this. To continue fighting against ISIS is to do exactly what they want us to do. Can we “knock them off the face of the earth?” No. Oh, they can probably be stopped for now if there are enough of them killed, but, the seeds of more violence will rise in the future and they will be worse than what we are facing now.
We hold up the military as people to honor and thank for the ways in which they sacrifice their lives for freedom. But military response just brings more violence into this world. What if we started honoring and holding up the nonviolent responders, those like Gandhi and King, who are willing to sacrifice their lives for those who are suffering; not for political gain; not for world power, but for the sake of love.
What if? That is my dream…that at sometime in the future there will be a nonviolent force that counters violence. What was it that John Lennon sang in his song, “Imagine?” “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will live as one.” It is going to take dreamers to save this world.
Oh, I know, it will take some time for my dream to be realized, but somebody, somewhere needs to start. Somebody has to stop the fighting. Consequently, I will stand with those who are opposing military intervention and work towards the day when there will be an “army” of nonviolent resisters, such as Gandhi had at the salt march, to resist violence. Someone has to start somewhere. Am I just dreaming?