Human rights and non-violence links


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Peace Brigades International

"Without the accompaniment of Peace Brigades, I would not be alive today."
Amilcar Mendez, CERJ, Guatemala


I just want to state two things explicitly (the first one being obvious, but still worth stating):

Quotes (some of them used in my e-mail signature)

The weakest of weak things is a virtue which has not been tested in the fire.
Mark Twain 'The man that corrupted Hadleyburg' p. 46

The policy of letting things alone, in the practical sense that the Government should never interfere with business or go into business itself, is called Laisser-faire by economists and politicians. It has broken down so completely in practice that it is now discredited; but it was all the fashion in politics a hundred years ago, and is still influentially advocated by men of business and their backers who naturally would like to be allowed to make money as they please without regard to the interest of the public.
George Bernard Shaw The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism and Capitalism (1928) 40-41.

Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.
George Bernard Shaw

The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact than a drunken man is happier than a sober one.
George Bernard Shaw

The Negro's great stumbling block in the drive toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?
Martin Luther King Jr.

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
Martin Luther King Jr.

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.
Martin Luther King Jr.

Success, recognition, and conformity are the bywords of the modern world where everyone seems to crave the anesthetizing security of being identified with the majority.
Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Martin Luther King

Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.
Mahatma Ghandi

All men who have achieved great things have been great dreamers.
Orison Swett Marden

One must live the way one thinks or end up thinking the way one has lived.
Paul Bourget (1852 - 1935)

What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Where you live determines what you see. The people you listen to influence what you hear.
Mary Jo Leddy

What exists in reality must indeed work in theory.
Steven Strong, President of Solar Design Associates, discussing the skepticism about the solar-powered buildings that he has constructed since 1974.

The strongest bulwark of the capitalistic system is the ignorance of its victims.
Adolph Fischer (Haymarket Martyr)
[I don't really care what economic system we have in place, so long as it doesn't lead to wide-scale poverty, ecological degradation and human rights abuses (at home, or abroad). Communism has done that; and so has capitalism. Some people will argue that it's because these things haven't been implemented properly, or for long enough, and that what we need is more communism, more capitalism, or more free trade. I really don't think so.
It is commonly thought that the horrors described by Dickens have been tweaked out of the system. The positive changes that have been made from Dickens' times came through people explicitly restricting capitalism and giving people legally defined rights, not by letting free trade and free expression work their wonders. And many people haven't felt the changes at all - not just in poorer countries (it's said that half the world's population has never made a phone call), but even in Canada, where I heard that the poorer half of the population has only 5% of the wealth. - Alastair] will occasionally stumble over the truth, but usually manages to pick himself up, walk over or around it, and carry on.
Winston Churchill

Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that numbers of people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of  their government and have gone to war, and millions have  been killed because of this obedience. . . Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of  poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty.  Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves  are running and robbing the country. That's our problem.
Howard Zinn,  "Failure to Quit", p. 45

I did not have the psychological strength to fail. I wish I had.
Vlasis Papoutsis, on why he did not quit his job as a torturer for the Greek military junta

War does not determine who is right, only who is left.
Bertrand Russell
[Nonetheless, I am not a pacifist. I do think that violence is tragic - even if the only people hurt are the worst people on earth - but sometimes violence prevents even worse tragedies. In other words, not all conflicts can be solved without any violence. However, I also think a lot more could be done to find non-violent alternatives. - Alastair]

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.
Bertrand Russell

Before being decided, you have to be undecided.

If you are not careful,the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.
Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall, Agents of Repression, Boston  South End Press 1990, p.262.

Conflict management includes learning to make enough noise to be heard and being big enough to be seen.
from `Interpersonal Conflict', Joyce L. Hocker & William W. Wilmont, p. 30

Some people see things as they are and ask `Why?'. I dream of things that never were and ask `Why not?'.
from George Bernard Shaw's Joan of Arc

Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world; unreasonable people persist in trying to adapt the world to themselves. Therefore, all progress depends on unreasonable people.
adapted from George Bernard Shaw

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
Albert Einstein

Hope is definitely not the same as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out ....
Václav Havel

Fear is not the natural state of civilized people.
Aung Sung Suu Kyi

Teaching is mostly listening, and learning is mostly telling.
Deborah Meier, 1995

We teach reading, writing and math by [having students do] them. But we teach democracy by lecture.
Shelley Berman

People do not resist change; they resist being changed.
Peter Scholtes

The [decidophobes] think in black and  white; the autonomous think in colour.
Walter Kaufmann

Freedom is when the people can speak. Democracy is when the government listens.

Funny Quotes

It was once projected that a million monkeys with a million typewriters could, by random typing, evetually reproduce the works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the internet, we know that this is not true.

One third of the fun in mathematics comes from spotting your own mistakes ... spotting other people's mistakes is double the fun.

When you have shot and killed a man you have in some measure clarified your attitude toward him. You have given a definite answer to a definite problem. For better or worse you have acted decisively. In a way, the next move is up to him.
R. A. Lafferty (in: Golden Gate)

It is often stated that of all the theories proposed in this century, the silliest is quantum theory. In fact, some say that the only thing that quantum theory has going for it is that it is unquestionably correct.
Michio Kaku

On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], `Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.
Charles Babbage

More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness.  The other, to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly.
Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates, Side Effects, p. 81 (1981)

I intend to live forever... so far, so good.

Created: 31st January, 2000.
Last updated: 18th April, 2002.
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