KitoOnlus Blog

October 2: the International Day of Nonviolence

Nonviolence is the strongest weapon at human disposal. It is more powerful than the strongest weapon human kind could create. (Mahatma Gandhi)

In 2007 the United Nations declared October 2- Gandhi’s birth date- the International Day of Nonviolence. The resolution was approved by all the UNGA members on proposal of the Indian government. The Indian State Secretary of Foreign Affairs stated that the idea originated during the international conference “Peace, nonviolence and development: Gandhi’s philosophy in the 21st century”  in New Delhi some months before.

At this purpose the United Nations stated: ” On October 2 all the member states should observe the International Day of Nonviolence through public initiatives. Mahatma Gandhi’s message should be spread especially to the youngest generations by promoting awareness campaigns in schools”. Indeed the “nonviolence movement father” was born in 1869 on October 2 in Portbandar (India) and he brought his country to independence from the British colonial power. Moreover he inspired civil rights movement leaders like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King.

Let’s give a definition to nonviolence..

Generally the nonviolence principle refuses the use of phisical and verbal violence when trying to reach some social objectives and/or political changes.

Professor Gene Sharp, one of the first nonviolent resistance scholars, in his piece “The politics of Nonviolent Action” uses the following definition:

“Nonviolent action is a tecnique typical to people refusing passivity and submission, still considering fight essential, and such attitude leads them to win their fights using nonviolence. Nonviolent action is not an attempt to avoid or ignore conflicts. It is a response to the question “how could be possibly act efficiently in politics?” or better “how could we use at best our political power?”

Consequently, nonviolence is not only a denial of violence or a “modus operandi”, it is a life-style, and it distinguishes from pacifism which is a mere fight for disarmament.

Nowadays, undoubtedly, there is a need for enhancing this day and- at the same time- raising youth awareness on such issue, maybe even more than in the past.