In every country hit by conflict, in every community torn by violence, voices are calling for peace. They ring out, full of ideas. And yet these voices go unheard. This is where Beyond Violence steps in.
We are a movement that listens to the voices of people caught in conflict zones, and we connect people all over the world- coming together as one powerful voice calling for peace. Together, we can demand a transformation of conflict beyond violence and engage the world in the steps towards constructing peace.
Check out: www.beyondviolence.org
We use the internet as a platform to engage in conflict resolution. Using our forum, victims of conflict from opposing sides can be connected and can engage in mediating and healing discussion in a safe and anonymous space.
What we believe
Fundamentally, we believe that in almost all cases violence exacerbates conflict situations, making a solution harder to reach. We strive to transform conflicts by engaging in non-violent interaction, seeking to set the foundations of long-term sustainable peace. We believe that conflicts can only be steered away from violence with a real understanding of the local issues at hand- the motivations, grievances and aspirations of those involved in conflict. We therefore engage with people involved in conflicts on all sides and at all levels who have first hand understanding of the issues present in order to develop strategies that really work so that conflicts can move beyond violence. We also believe that education is key. With a strategy developed, Beyond Violence takes it to the world. Through our website, emailing lists and press releases, as well as through the use of social media, we strive to inform our members about conflict situations. Using videos, pictures, and text we can convey the complex issues of local conflict situations so that the world not only knows about what is happening but can also understand why. The next step we can take together- discovering what we can do to help .
What is non-violence?
Non-violence as we understand it is an action just as much as it is an idea. Believing that non-violence is better than a violent approach is great, but it is not enough. It’s about putting your belief into action.And this is what we do at Beyond Violence.
As the word non-violence itself reveals, no action carried out under its name can involve physical force. However, when a non-violent approach is chosen to bring about change, in particular in a conflict context, it usually involves a form of attack.This attack is directed towards the power of the opponent and avoids harming the physical well-being or life of anybody (University for Peace, 2006). By choosing such an approach, one can uphold the belief in rejecting violence as a means, while actively and authoritatively pushing for change.
Non-violence draws its strength from the fact that it is so radically different and contagious. When people in situations of fierce conflict - where violence is expected and seems the obvious choice– become disillusioned with the use of force and violence, this changes everything. Suddenly, those who promote and use violence are questioned and asked to justify their actions. As an alternative to violent conflict, non-violence offers an escape from pain, death, and destruction.
Non-violence goes further than just confronting and stopping. The idea is to actively open up conflicts which seem intractable and positions which seem irreconcilable by communicating the willingness to interact with an adversary on a different, non-violent and constructive level through practical means such as a dialogue.
However, it is crucial to understand that non-violence only works and can only defy powerful violent actors as long as the commitment to veto violence lasts. If this is reneged on, any argument, credibility, and moral shield against being a target of violence is instantly lost.
One advocate for non-violence as such a radically different approach to conflict is easily overheard or silenced. But when non-violence becomes a movement the game changes again – people are empowered to demand non-violence of those waging war.