Nobody is born nonviolent

World without Wars and without Violence aims to develop a worldwide commitment to nonviolence as a methodology of action, as a social system and as a lifestyle. Its objective is to achieve a world free of wars as well as physical, economic, racial, religious, sexual, psychological, ecological and moral violence. “Human beings are historical beings whose mode of social action changes their own nature” (Silo). This is the root of both our responsibility and our freedom. And it opens our future.

Nobody is born violent... Or nonviolent for that matter. So Gandhi's "Be the change you want to see in the world" is a great invitation to get rid of the rubbish this violent system has fed us and transform ourselves into the intentional beings that can create the world we all want. See the
Active Nonviolence Training (ANVT) exercises. World without Wars and without Violence international site is on

Friday, 30 September 2011

ANVT 11: Virtues

This Workshop can be carried out by any group and it not only improves self-esteem but also interpersonal relationships at work, study, home, political activism or any other environment.

It is common for human relationships to be based on criticism, since the prevailing system is based on competition.  It is not only common but even expected that people will put each other down in order not to be left behind.  In this way we all fear what others think of us and our positive qualities go unrecognised.  This contributes to the sense of dehumanisation and isolation created by our environment. It lowers our self-esteem, and we have already seen how important this is to improve our activities. If there is no trust between people, working together or living together in communities becomes a rather unpleasant experience.
In this exercise we will learn to focus on our and other people’s positive characteristics in order to improve our communication and sense of solidarity towards others.
1.      Each participant writes down a list of their own best qualities
2.      Write down the list of the positive qualities that the other members of the group tell you about, (the group takes each participant one by one and gives them a number of virtues they see in each person, never criticism)
3.      or, if people do not know one another, write down what family and friends have told you are your positive qualities whether you believe them or not.
4.      Each person compares the list they wrote about themselves with the qualities that others see in them and makes comments to the group.  Try to remember how you feel when you are treated by others on the basis of criticism or on the basis of your virtues and compare registers.
5.      Write down a list of people you know in the table, according to the headings and list their virtues.
6.      Write down a couple of projects you are interested in focusing on your virtues.  Choose which of your virtues you can support yourself with to develop these projects.  (Break into groups to interchange).
7.      Plan for the week to pay attention to and acknowledge the positive qualities of those you meet in your daily activities and family, friends, etc.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

United for Global Change UK #15oct

On October 15th people from all over the world will take to the streets and squares. From America to Asia, from Africa to Europe, people are rising up to claim their rights and demand a true democracy. Now it is time for all of us to join in a global non violent protest. The ruling powers work for the benefit of just a few, ignoring the will of the vast majority and the human and environmental price we all have to pay. This intolerable situation must end. United in one voice, we will let politicians, and the financial elites they serve, know it is up to us, the people, to decide our future. We are not goods in the hands of politicians and bankers who do not represent us. On October 15th, we will meet on the streets to initiate the global change we want. We will peacefully demonstrate, talk and organize until we make it happen. It’s time for us to unite. It’s time for them to listen. Real Democracy Now!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

ANVT 10 - Discrimination

This work is designed as a seminar to be carried out by a group of people. However its elements can be applied informally during any kind of conversation in which we can all become more aware of issues related to discrimination. Two of the exercises appeared in earlier postings but their inclusion here is due to their direct relevance to the issue at hand.

Jane Elliot, a teacher in the USA, the day after Martin Luther King’s assassination decided to continue his work by creating an experience of discrimination in her class. She started by telling children with brown eyes that they were better than the children with blue eyes.  The blue-eyed were excluded from games and eating together with the brown-eyed.  On the second day she reversed the roles and sure enough it was the brown-eyed children who were excluded.  On the third day she explained that there were no differences and that she had done this as an experiment to give them an experience of what it is like to be discriminated against.
Twenty years later the now grown-up subjects were filmed stating how important that experience had been for them, to learn about how not to discriminate.  One of the most important conclusions was that Jane proved that children performed at their worst on the day that they were discriminated against, dispelling in this way the myths created by so-called “scientific research” about differences in IQ in various ethnic groups.
- Consider the following riddle:
A man and his son are run over in a car accident.  The father dies at the scene and the son is rushed to hospital for life-saving surgery.  The surgeon arrives at the operating theatre and says “I cannot operate on this child, he is my son”.
How can this be? (See i)
- From whose book does this extract come?
“We put down briefly in Khartoum, where we changed to an Ethiopian Airways flight to Addis.  Here I experienced a rather strange sensation.  As I was boarding the plane I saw that the pilot was black.  I had never seen a black pilot before, and the instant I did I had to quell my panic.  How could a black man fly a plane?  But a moment later I caught myself: I had fallen into the…. mind-set, thinking Africans were inferior and that flying was a white man’s job.  I sat back in my seat, and chided myself for such thoughts……” (See ii)