(Martin Luther King - Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1964).
This weapon has been used since ages to fight injustice. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, as Martin Luther King Jr. mentions in his letter from Birmingham jail. Early Christians willingly faced hungry lions and lied on chopping blocks to show resentment against the unfair practices of the Roman Empire. Socrates practiced and through his books "The Crito" and "The Apology" preached civil disobedience.
I did not see why the schoolmaster should be taxed to support the priest, and not the priest the schoolmaster. . . I did not see why the lyceum should not present its tax-bill, and have the State to back its demand, as well as the church. (Thoreau, "Resistance to Civil Government," in Wendell Glick ed., Reform Papers, p. 79.)
Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood." (Martin Luther King Jr. Letter From A Birmingham Jail - April 16, 1963)
Whether it be Gandhi's non-cooperation movement or Martin Luther King Jr's civil rights movement or Mandela's 'M-plan' of anti-apartheid campaign, the nonviolent method of protests and persuasion has proved effective. Parades, vigils, picketing, poster campaign, teach-ins, mourning, and protest meetings are some of the symbolic ways of resistance.
Today society has progressed from the dark ages of colonialism and slavery. In a democratic, modern global village, injustice has taken a different form and a new meaning. Violations of human rights are one of the most important issues now.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Freedom of Expression eXchange are tirelessly working toward protecting the rights of the individual and the communities. These