<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
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Rev. James Lawson Discusses Nonviolent Resistance Strategies at the School of Authentic Journalism

“The 20th Century’s Extraordinary Revolutions Were Initiated Through Nonviolence,” He Said in the Opening Session in Mérida, Yucatán


By Edwin Alvarez
Class of 2010, School of Authentic Journalism

February 27, 2010

Thursday, February 4, in the Felipe Carrillo Puerto University Theater, Mérida, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, marked the first session of the School for Authentic Journalism. The session’s main theme was the use of nonviolence, which is a tool that facilitates the development of organized movements in the search of the resolution of conflicts and effective strategies. About 100 people participated, among them special invitees, the media, students from the school, and citizens of Mérida.


Methodist Reverend James Lawson
D.R. 2010 Edwin Alvarez
Alberto Quintal Palomo, Director of the Autonomous University of Yucatan’s Economics Department, gave the welcoming address. Afterwards, a documentary was shown that, in 30 minutes, sums up the situation in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, in the year 1960. At the end, the main speaker, Rev. James Morris Lawson, elaborated and expanded upon the concept of nonviolent resistance. He expressed his gratitude and honor for having the opportunity to be in the journalism school at the invitation of Alberto Giordano, the school’s director.

The Reverend said that throughout his life he has promoted political resistance, peaceful resistance, and everything related to that theme, which is so important to him. He said:

“It was in Nashville that I could experiment for the first time with the ideas and principles of Mahatma Gandhi and put them into action. I believe I practice nonviolence for two specific reasons.

“Nonviolent action takes human wisdom and strongly enunciates that it is in this way that we humans behave. The power of human life is the most powerful force that we have in our reach. Gandhi invented the concept of nonviolence in order to discover the power that he had discovered in South Africa—the passion and respect for the human race’s tremendous value. There are many examples of people throughout human history who have understood this power and practiced it. I am also nonviolent because it is practical. Try to imagine for a moment: my country has spent three trillion dollars in Afghanistan, and we’ve spent almost the same amount in Iraq. We have spent more time in those wars than we have in any other war in history. Think about what we could do with a trillion dollars.”


Participants of the session.
D.R. 2010 Edwin Alvarez
He added,

“What the powerful do is they intimidate us and make us think that we don’t have power and that we don’t have the possibility to change the situation that has us oppressed. The power of nonviolent action comes from recognizing the individual’s possibility to do what he or she wants to do. I argue that nonviolent action is the social science that blesses change, but that it blesses those who are opposed to change as much as it blesses those who truly want it. Just like Albert Einstein is the father of modern physics, Mahatma Gandhi is the father of nonviolence. The concept of nonviolence, which is very strongly rooted in the 20th century, is redeeming one of the great tendencies of the human family.

“The 20th century’s extraordinary revolutions were initiated through nonviolence. I urge you to do the exercise, to practice, and to remember the teachings of our ancestors, so that you can carry out these types of activities, respecting and recognizing the knowledge that embraces us all.”

Despite the fact that nonviolent action is not something new and that it has been practiced for years, it can’t be ruled out that social movements, civilians, and organizations have successfully employed this knowledge as strategies when they are making demands and taking action against human rights violations.

Translated to English from the Spanish original.

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America