Non violent resistance

In the history of the world there have been many successful instances of non-violent resistance. The most spectacular ones have been the liberation of India from its British colonial masters, and the civil rights movement in the US in the 1960s.

Both movements had similar strategies, and those are ones we can learn from. The concept is: by non-violent protests the authority of the unjust rulers can be undermined, and public opinion be mobilized. Especially public opinion from outside the oppressed group must be informed on the unjust situation. Media are looking for news that sells, so spectacular actions are called for. This is step one, but this will not lead to improvements in the situation without step two: appeal to higher authorities than the oppressive ones, to overrule them.

Mahatma Gandhi in India staged non-violent protest against the colonial authorities, appealed to the British people and the British Government, as well as the Queen to grant the Indian people freedom from colonial oppression. It took time, but it worked.

By the same token: the civil rights movement in the US in the 1960s staged non violent protest, with sit ins and demonstrations, inviting the news media to see racist oppression in action, and then appealed to the US Federal government to overrule the racist state and local authorities. This worked and the 1970s were a great decade for improvement of racial minorities in the US.

Here in Malawi we see a government that is not interested in protecting our human rights. The shadow report on human rights of our CSOs lists numerous violations by government, or other actors where government has failed to protect the population. The CSOs report to the UN, as they are supposed to do according to the treaty that the Malawian government has signed. Government gets angry and insists the CSOs should complain with them, and not with the UN. Here government is clearly not interested in protecting our human rights. If they were, they would thank the CSOs for their information, and act on that information to protect us from violations of human rights. But that is not what they are doing; they are complaining that their public face is damaged because now the world knows that they are violating our rights. They are only interested in window dressing, not in upholding our human rights as they are obliged to do by the treaty that they themselves have signed!

The CSOs are right to report to the UN that is the higher authority we need, to overrule the Malawian government that is violating our (unalienable) human rights. But they forget to make noise around it. We need to mobilize public opinion internationally, to shame the Malawi government into protecting our rights. Then we can be proud of being Malawian; that is patriotism: fight to improve our Patria, our Fatherland. Long live Malawi.




4 thoughts on “Non violent resistance

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s