Non violent struggle, the shuttering power of inaction, together!

Laura Taraborrelli | 25th June 2013


From 25th until 27th of April the XXVIII general assembly of Amnesty International Italy – the Italian branch of the NGO fighting for human rights to be respected all over the world – took place in Rome.

During the convention, international guests were invited to give a personal and direct evidence of their fight for  human dignity: between them, a representative of CANVAS (Center for Applied Non Violent Actions and Strategies), a non profit educational institution which helps revolutionaries all around the world to reaffirm their rights in a peaceful way, by teaching non violent strategy and tactic.

Being an activist for Amnesty and aiming to support any non violent social change, I tried to get in touch with Srdja Popovic – co-founder of Canvas – and I learned the incredible history of a real architect of global change

Popovic just looks like a peaceful lawyer of a peace small village, but he is a professional revolutionary indeed: in 2000 he was founder and leader of the Serbian nonviolent resistance group Optor! and succeeded in bringing down President Slobodan Milosevic; since 2003, with Canvas, he has been training thousands of disarmed revolutionaries to change the world just counting on their wholeness, communication and organized startegy

We could think to him as a worldwide teacher of young pacifist students: he does not give rules or models, he rather shares, encourages and supports, leaving everybody free (and in duty) to find his own best way to an alternative solution.

In the last 10 years he trained activists from more than 46 different countries: his ideals inspired many successful resistance groups such as the rose revolution in Georgia in 2003, the orange revolution in Ukraine in 2004, the cedar opposition in Lebanon in 2006 and the jasmine standoff in Tunisia in 2001.

Popovic has been able to convert any disobedient action into a non violent awareness to be shared and transmitted through books, courses and workshops. He gave other people the opportunity to learn from his own experience and mistakes.

He understood that non violence goes ahead by small steps and  incremental success, but on a long term it creates civilization and human development;  that democracy raises from massive insurrection; that people have to be passionately engaged in a common mission in order to raise their voice against oppression.

Conflicts can be solved not with a furious, obstinate defense of  our personal corner, but with a honest, sincere attitude to sharing and widening, in order to make our corner become an unlimited and lively space.

Battles can be won not with a violent oppression of our enemy, but making a single dream become a collective vision.

Srdja Popovic really resembles, by his actions and his feelings, to Frodo Baggins, the hobbit from the Lord of rings by Tolkien – his favorite book – who discovers to be a hero thanks to the unbearable injustice all around him: he didn’t ask for the Ring, but he has it and he must deliver it.

This is the big lesson: even the smallest creatures can change the world.

A real revolution, with no weapon at all.

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