Gandhi does not hide the very unpopular fact that when one decides to undertake nonviolent discipline, one is preparing to take on suffering, without offering it in return. This is very different from passively enduring violence. The lunch-counter sit-ins for integration in the American South is a good example of this principle. More than simply reasoning with people that lunch counters should be integrated, they made a commitment to nonviolence, got trained by strategic movement thinkers, prepared themselves for the inevitable violent push-back, and sat down at those counters.
Rid ourselves of the idea that because we are nonviolent we should be immune from suffering; at the same time, try to understand how “unearned suffering is redemptive” (MLK): how it goes deeper than reason in persuading change in others.
The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299 firstname.lastname@example.org