I’m a Danged Liberal Hippie
Well… Third Wave Intersectional Feminist Pacifist would be a better description of my opinions on the world we live in, but that really is a mouthful.
Today I wanted to talk about that last part, Pacifism. I recently bought I Am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai. She is an advocate for education for women and girls, and at 14 was shot by the Taliban in the head for that advocacy. She miraculously survived, and now is the youngest person ever to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. This girl is probably in my top five most respected people living right now, and is a huge inspiration. She maintains a pacifist attitude, even after being shot, which she talks about in this video. (I know it’s the extended clip, but at least watch the first 6 minutes.)
My favorite part of this is when she says, “You must not treat others that much with cruelty, and that much harshly. You must fight others, but through peace, and dialogue, and education.” And then takes on one of the most turn the other cheek attitudes I have ever seen, to which we get this reaction from Jon Stewart.
This is probably one of my favorite interviews ever, and embodies what I think about violence. (And education for women, for that matter.)
As a child, my mother read to me L. Frank Baum’s Oz books (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was the first in the series) when she was teaching me how to read. I’m sure these contributed to my feminist tendencies, although I don’t think thats what my mother was going for. They featured a wide variety of women, some wise, some kind, some selfish, and some powerful. Possibly my favorite was Princess Ozma, ruler of all Oz.
She was incredibly kind, patient, wise, and nonviolent. I remember as a girl reading about her, and how she dealt with the news there was an on coming army, and the moral dilemma she faced. Should she abandon her pacifist tendencies, or fight to defend the country that was under her protection. After discussing it with her advisors, she decides not to fight. This struck me, impressing upon my mind the importance of sticking to one’s principals, even in difficult situations. Of course, a plan was then devised that used wit, as opposed to force, to protect the country, and all ends well.
I’ve constantly been drawn to characters in movies and television who avoid violence, like the Doctor in Doctor Who, who prefers to carry a sonic screwdriver instead of a weapon, or Chuck from Chuck, who always was running around with a trank pistol. But alas, these are all fictional characters, and such actions could never translate into real life… right?
Wrong. They could. Perhaps I am too optimistic about the world we live in, but I do believe that words have the power to change. That the pen is indeed mightier than the sword. I believe in communication, and negation, and compromise, and most of all peace. As I read about a now 16 year old girl who has the courage to maintain an attitude of nonviolence, when such violent acts have been committed against her, I wonder to myself what the world would be like if more people refused to participate in violence, like Malala.
I’m not calming to have all the answers to the worlds problems, nor implying that I couldn’t imagine a scenario in which violence is necessary. But I suppose I would like to live in a world where it was nor the default, nor options 2-100. It was the very rare exception to the rule.
Of corse, more so than any fictional character, I see this reflected in the Savior. The command to live a higher law is a call that I think more should head, regardless of religion. But perhaps this won’t be achieved for a while. Until then I intend to keep trying. But with the following attitude.
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