PBI-Canada observes the International Day of Non-Violence

Published by Brent Patterson on

Mahadev Desai, the father of PBI co-founder Narayan Desai, reads a letter to Gandhi in Bombay (now Mumbai), April 7, 1939.

Today, October 2, is the International Day of Non-Violence.

This year, this United Nations recognized day also coincides with the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi.

It is notable that the first day of the founding meeting of Peace Brigades International in 1981, in a session chaired by Hans Sinn, began with a reading of Gandhi’s words.

Furthermore, it was Narayan Desai who was the first to suggest ‘Peace Brigades International’ as our name at that meeting. Desai was the son of Gandhi’s personal secretary and biographer Mahadev Desai and was brought up in Gandhi’s ashram.

PBI’s statement today highlights that, “We endeavor is to overcome injustice and violence in order to build peaceful societies where human rights are protected, respected and fulfilled, by ensuring that those who defend human rights are protected.”

And in his message commemorating this day, Secretary-General António Guterres said, “In today’s turbulent times violence takes many forms: from the destructive impact of the climate emergency to the devastation caused by armed conflict; from the indignities of poverty to the injustice of human rights violations to the brutalizing effects of hate speech.”

The UN media release also notes, “The three main categories of non-violent action are protest and persuasion, including marches and vigils; non-cooperation; and non-violent intervention, such as blockades and occupations.”

This year, as we face the challenge of the violence and human rights violations that come with climate breakdown, we are keeping particularly in mind the poignant words of Gandhi, “The future depends on what we do in the present.”

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