does not
equal violence


The guarantee of our peace today is not deterrence, but peoplewho are able to act jointly.

«The “apocalyptic” chess-game between the superpowers, that is, between those that move on the highest plane of our civilization, is being played according to the rule “if either ‘wins’ it is the end of both; it is a game that bears no resemblance to whatever war games preceded it. Its ‘rational goal’ is deterrence, not victory, and the arms race no longer is a preparation for war, can now be justified only on the grounds that more and more deterrence is the best guarantee of peace» [1]. This statement belongs to Hanna Arendt, a German-American political theorist and Holocaust survivor, that she wrote in her work On Violence in 1970. The chess game still continues today and it is gathering momentum in its brutality.

A deafening war has come to Ukrainian homes. This war has occupied not only the territory of Ukraine but the minds of individuals in the whole world. As we know, any war seeds separation. The separation has already started sneaking into our minds, where propaganda is working twenty-four seven as an apple of discord. Violence and aggression, as the world’s historical and literary heritage show, fall to the lot of the feeble and initially launch a weapon of self-deterioration. The best we, as free and generous human beings, can do is to resist taking sides of governments, and come over to the side of unification. For, true power is in unity, not in separation, and; moreover, in our hands now, even if it might sound ridiculous at first. The guarantee of our peace today is not deterrence, but people who are able to act jointly.

Arendt in her work On Violence defines power as the one unequal to violence, explaining that «power corresponds to the human ability not just to act but to act in concern (ger. zusammen). Power is never a property of an individual; it belongs to a group and remains in existence only so long as the group keeps together» [2]. The main difference that picks violence out of this fallacious identification is that it «wears an instrumental character. Phenomenologically it is close to strength, since the implements of violence, […] are designed and used for the purpose of multiplying natural strength» [3]. The root of this misunderstanding, Arendt finds, is in the inability to distinguish such key notions for political science as power, strength, force, authority and violence. Strength designates something that is inherent only in one individual, and might need the help of the group to develop its extension and growth. Force should be reserved for the “forces of nature” or the “force of circumstances”. And the last is authority, which can be invested in individuals, is not based on violence, but can be rapidly lost, once the leader is not in favour within the group.

One of my English teachers back at university always taught us to “develop the ability in any issue to rise above it and observe it from up there”, which is known to us as critical thinking. In this battle for peace only critical thinking seems not to suffice. The approaching rolling stone of irreversible consequences will not have neither mercy nor solidarity, but instead will split families and friends. Action towards mutual support of civilians is what is needed in such drastic times. Today, as never before, the unfettered power from violence, the one that exists as long as the union of solidary and ready to act individuals has not fallen apart, is in their hands. Technology is now also working for us making it possible to spread the word, the word that has to stop this madness.

Victory through violence is possible but the price of such victory is at high risk, because with these implementations the victor is doomed to lose his power. A human being, who inherited pride and ambition but instead of preventing it from growing into a monster, is intoxicated with stubbornness and self-centrism and sooner or later is bound to perish. History has witnessed multiple examples of presumptuous endeavours to establish coercive behaviour, and it is worth paying attention to how many times something genuinely good, for the welfare of the people, has emerged out of that. Whereas, the antiwar movements, for instance, the Vietnam antiwar movement in America in 1969 that was supported by people of different social groups, including students, musicians, actors, clergy, environmentalists etc. had a great power to resist. Hundred of thousands of people across the country went on strike protesting against Nixon’s escalation of the war in Cambodia. It all resulted in soldiers refusing the orders and by doing so crippled the military’s ability to function [4], which brought peace those people struggled for. The truth was with them. And hopefully now it will be with us again.
Love, peace, no war!

[1] Hannah Arendt, “On Violence” (Harvest/Hbj:pbk, the United States of America, 1970) p. 3.

[2] Ibid, pp. 45-45.

[3] Ibid, p. 45

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