The Pacifist Speaks

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Short of removal of a regime, what does one do about things like this:

North Korean Concentration Camps

I am an ardent pacifist (by a very liberal definition of the word); however, how can this be countenanced? How do we redress the wrong already done? And how will we know if it continues or if it is done? In other words, when does our concern for others trump other considerations? When are human rights important enough?

I'm not suggesting that war is the answering, but I do think we should do better on coming up with the answers in a more expeditious fashion.

Link via Goodform. Thanks Tom.

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Greetings Steven!

I define myself as a believer in active non-violent resistance to evil, rather than a passivist. Passivism implies doing nothing. I admire people like MLK Jr or Ghandi.

I struggle with the same question you raise here though. Ghandi and MLK worked from within their own societies and cultures, and showed us an example how to effect change through non-violent evolution, rather than violent revolution.

But what do we do to effect positive change in another culture?

During the days prior to the invasion of Iraq, I argued with a pro-war Catholic that maybe we should send un-armed troops with food, medicine and such into Iraq in mass numbers. Even a monster like Saddam might have a hard time killing thousands of unarmed people bringing aid to his countrymen. This might have been a particularly powerful gesture if it were done by an international group.

Once inside the country, the thing to do is to simply stand with the people who are being oppressed and encourage the active non-violent resistance we saw in Ghandi and MLK.

Of course, it would take heroic virtue to march into a nation run by a dictator unarmed, and I would not fault anyone who couldn't muster that kind of courage, or who felt called to do something else. But there is strengtyh in numbers. If the number of international volunteers ever reached the thousands or millions, I think it could work.

I'm open to other suggestions as well. As I said, I struggle with this.....


Dear JCecil3,

I unreservedly admire both your idealism and the enthusiasm with which you express it. It is a sources of great inspiration to me. I rather doubt the efficacy of what you suggest.--but it hasn't been tried and we might be surprised, indeed shocked at what could be accomplished by people of prayer if only we attempted it.

Yes, issues like these are a struggle, a constant battle, and an encouragement to frequent self-examination to assure that we are standing on solid ground.

Thank you so much for your comment, and thanks for the hope and idealism you express. They are great gifts to us.



calling all sweetknees back from la-la land! i doubt that much saccharine can be good fer ya. in fact, that kind of idealism is downright deadly. so, lets NOT all don our puka beads and skip on over to north korea with a bunch of pretty flowers. these bastards a reveling in torture pure and simple. you don't understand it because you wouldn't allow an animal to be treated that way, much less a human being. you simply cannot wrap your brain around this kind of evil. do you honestly think you can wranggle up a million people with a death wish, jcecil3?
steven is on the right track; north korea needs prayer. a very hefty prayer, like exorcism.

Hi Smockmomma,

And this (the comments above) is precisely why I believe that the Smockmomma/JCecil3 ticket would be the perfect combo for the next election. There would be a constant cross-conversation that would be at once enlightening and exhilirating. If you are still looking for a running mate (either one) you might consider this power-packed one-two punch of a ticket. I don't know that a thing would ever get done in the oval office--but then with what often gets done there that might not be all bad!



thanks for the article. devastating

Does anyone remember the Falkland Islands War (Argentina vs Great Britain/England)? Well, back when that debacle took place, I personally thought that it could come to a screeching halt if only the Holy Father were to go over there, camp out on the island's shore between the two opposing armies and ask them to settle their differences peacefully. But alas, I too was very idealistic then.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on February 4, 2004 10:31 AM.

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