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Letter: Alternative to violence

How do you take in the news of the day? From North Korean threats to bombings in Boston. From infant shaking to children being tortured. From hate messages being scribed on our neighbors’ doors to inflammatory references being used by state legislators. According to Johan Galtung’s definition of violence, “an avoidable insult to human needs,” these are all reports of violence.

What choice does the bothered reader have today? Is violence truly inevitable? A forgone conclusion? Dr. Michael Nagler has spent his life trying to persuade us that the bothered reader does have a choice. That violence is neither inevitable nor a forgone conclusion. He writes, in his book The Search for a Nonviolent Future that change begins with us. The task is daunting, as it involves changing long existing cultural norms.

Many have spoken of the domination culture that permeates our society today, where might makes right, where motivation comes from external rewards and punishments. Marshall Rosenburg, founder of the Center for Nonviolent Communication, developed easily accessible skills and techniques to help anyone change their habitual responses, and begin the hard work of changing the domination culture.

On June 8-9, Peggy Smith, a certified nonviolent communication trainer will be conducting an introductory workshop on the principles of nonviolent communication. “Speaking Peace in a World of Conflict” will be held in Concord, from 9 to 4 each day. Early bird registration ends May 8. Visit opencommunication.org or contact me at 848-3771 for more information.

Peace begins with us.

DAVID SKY

Concord

I would like to believe in non-violence as a consistently effective model. Genocide and war have long histories (not what I would prefer). I am a aware of a few examples but more real world examples of its effectiveness (without subjugation being considered a "winning stratagem") use would be helpful.

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