there have been many times in my life that i have raised two fingers and uttered vague understanding of peace as gospel. there are also times when i have raised fists and brought about, or participated in activities with violence being the end measure. when called out on my hypocrisy, i would rationalize my violent behavior as being shared aggression, which in no way compares to indiscriminate bombing of villages in the name of a cause, and not actually, then, breaking my belief in peace. i was alright at the art of bullshit.
i thought peace was a reaction to war, a reaction to unwanted aggression. i thought peace was a request, even a demand made of others to cease and desist their grotesque destruction of life on this planet. it is not. peace is what becomes when one creates it, when one lives it. not when one simply suggests it, passively. it is revolutionary. which, by definition, requires change within. a true revolution changes not only society, but first and greater, changes the revolutionary.
ideas grow, and change as the understanding of those ideas increase. people change, circumstances change, therefore ideas must allow change, must in fact demand it. if any idea is to be progressive, neither stagnant or regressive, it must evolve. i have evolved. i am now taking the understanding of myself to be that of non-violence. to be peace. do not confuse this with passive, they are in fact enemies, ideologically. passivity breeds complacency. complacency is the root of injustice. when just people are complacent to unjust acts, a war upon truth has begun.
i read reports of the zapatista army, a group in chiapas, who have been fighting oppression in their southern mexico homeland since 1994. this oppression against indigenous peoples of chiapas, and the world over, is led by militaristic force with support of the u.s. military complex. now, i support the ezln (zapatistas) in all of their resistance. they do however wield guns and use violence in their revolution. their violence is in fact a counter-attack, but it is still violence. how can i support them ethically? i am not sure, but i do know that i do fully support them and the people of chiapas, in their struggle to remain free.
i know that my heart tells me they are right, and just in their cries for freedom. my heart also tells me that i can not join them in battle. i can not, at this time, join any battle with the use of violence. i can offer my support by giving voice to their plight. every voice of justice, according to subcomandante marcos, the leader and spokesperson of the zapatistas, is the voice of the zapatista, as they are too the voice of every person oppressed by injustice. if i figure out the answer to the philosophical question of support of violence in the name of non-violence, i will share it.
i think we must distinguish non-violence from non action. we live in a culture that equates action with violence, because we are a culture of violence. the birth of our civilization is built upon the graves of lives of lesser value. we have given value to lives and are now paying the price with our disease of addiction to blood. we are addicted, as a people, to violence. when the earth is sewn with blood, the bitter flowers of hatred and shame will cover us, and remain with us for eternity. we must uproot violence to its core. this cannot be done through ignorance, but only through sharing of ideas. me must ignite one another, and do so until the flames of understanding engulf us entirely.
so then, how does it work. well, i believe that if non-violence is your stance, then it must also mean that you are not only speaking when being YOU are being threatened but also hen others are in the path of violence. we must stand between violence and it's victims and stop it. howard zinn says that to use war to fight tyranny, you kill the victims of the tyranny itself. this is taken in stark truths in vietnam, WWI & II, and currently in iraq. we who believe in peace, not as an idea but as a truth, have committed treason against our own integrity, and the cost has been in the countless victims of this war. not only the dead, but those who are dead and breathing still. those whose life is tragically taken in trade for memories of massive destruction and violence. those who lost limbs can show scars but those who lost the core of their morality in the name of war are also dying. they are suffering a death of the soul, of the spirit. wwhen a life is taken, it takes with it the life that surrounded it.