May 13, 2015

Does Non-Violence mean No Self Defense?



To Fight Back: Non-Violence, Militant Feminism and Education


“How do people who are starving go on a hunger strike? How do people who have no money boycott goods?” – Arundhati Roy, Field Notes on Democracy
Women in the Kashmir region during a demonstration against their occupation.
Women in the Kashmir region during a demonstration against their occupation.
Violence is a question which comes up almost inevitably when working with young people. As a teacher, mentor and tutor I’ve had to break up plenty of fights, many of them physical. Raised as I was, a middle-class person of color, I would often attempt to address these interactions through discussion and reflective mediation. In the conversations following altercations I would ask students what they thought the best way was to handle a conflict in our community–be it a classroom, school or other setting. This I hoped would help get students thinking about empathy, the kinds of relationships they wanted our community to be built with, and their role in nurturing them.


I recommend  that you read the original article in its entirety, It is well worth the read and is fairly thought provoking to those who have asked the question to themselves.  My response to the article is below: