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International Day of Non-violence

The principle of non-violence — also known as non-violent resistance — rejects the use of physical violence in order to achieve social or political change. Often described as “the politics of ordinary people”, this form of social struggle has been adopted by mass populations all over the world in campaigns for social justice.

The International Day of Non-Violence is observed on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence.

According to the General Assembly resolution of 15 June 2007, which established the commemoration, the International Day is an occasion to “disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness”. The resolution reaffirms “the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence” and the desire “to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence”.

Introducing the resolution in the General Assembly on behalf of 140 co-sponsors, India’s Minister of State for External Affairs, Mr. Anand Sharma, said that the wide and diverse sponsorship of the resolution was a reflection of the universal respect for Mahatma Gandhi and of the enduring relevance of his philosophy. Quoting the late leader’s own words, he said: “Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man” 

The 2020 theme for the International Day of Peace is “Shaping Peace Together.” Celebrate the day by spreading compassion, kindness and hope in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

How to Celebrate the International Day of Non-Violence

One of the best ways to honor Mahatma Ghandi’s life and achievements, as well as those of other world leaders who have won their battles without violence, you could choose one of these people and read their biography. Find out what motivated them to act as they did, what helped keep them strong even when they saw terrible things happening all around them. For us Irish I would recommend reading works done on the late, great John Hume who battled first against inequality and deprivation, then against the spiral of paramilitary and state violence.

The life stories of Irish people such as John Hume and Mary Robinson, for example, should be celebrated on the 2nd of October. If you have children, this day could be the perfect time to teach them the virtues of bravery, compassion, and perseverance. Children can be cruel , so it is essential to instill strong principles of morality in your children in hopes they will become good, compassionate adults and worthy successors of the people mentioned above. Children are, after all, the future, and the people who will shape history. However you decide to observe the International Day of Non-Violence, make sure you do what you can to honor the bravery and goodness of those who painstakingly paved the way for future generations. 

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