While violence is often considered the prerogative of democracies, and even a way of spreading the principle, if you think about it, violence and democracy are actually incompatible. In violence, you must force your will upon another person or group, which actually uproots any attempt at cultivating a democratic spirit–dignity for the human being. Contrary to the rhetoric of politicians who are invested in the use of violence, we can never export democracy to other countries by the force of bombs and militaries. It only replaces one form of dictatorship or terrorism with another.
The challenge that we are faced with today is how to reduce violence without sacrificing democracy in the process. Fortunately, the worldwide growth of unarmed civilian peacekeeping is showing us such a way. Instead of sending in armed people who are taught to hate and fear the inhabitants of countries they are supposed to be “liberating” by bringing “democracy,” we can send in unarmed peacekeepers who function as a neutral third party to help de-escalate violence, protect civilians, and support nonviolent movements. This work is the way of the future: creating security by nourishing people-powered democracy instead of spreading and escalating tensions and violence.
Listen carefully to justifications for war as means to secure “democracy.” Offer another solution, drawing upon the power of nonviolence.
The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299 firstname.lastname@example.org