Peace is not the absence of tension.
Peace is rarely "maintained" but worked through, sweated for, and hard-won.
Peace, like war, is waged. It does not shy from conflict. With girded loins and steady feet, it battles clean and hard for justice, healing, reconciliation, and redemption.
Alex Haley: [...] you and your followers have been branded “rabble-rousers” and “outside agitators.” Do you feel you’ve earned these labels?
Martin Luther King: [...] nonviolence is a weapon fabricated of love. It is a sword that heals. Our nonviolent direct-action program has as its objective not the creation of tensions, but the surfacing of tensions already present. We set out to precipitate a crisis situation that must open the door to negotiation.
I am not afraid of the words “crisis” and “tension.” I deeply oppose violence, but constructive crisis and tension are necessary for growth. Innate in all life, and all growth, is tension. Only in death is there an absence of tension. To cure injustices, you must expose them before the light of human conscience and the bar of public opinion, regardless of whatever tensions that exposure generates. Injustices to the Negro must be brought out into the open where they cannot be evaded. (MLK, Jr. 1965)
- Agree? Disagree? How do you typically react to tension?
- What are the costs of waging peace?
- How can nonviolence be "a sword that heals"? What benefit is there to bringing tension to the surface?
- What sorts of people today get branded "rabble-rousers" (stirrers of disunity, etc)? Who does the branding? What do they have to gain? What purpose do such labels serve? Are they warranted?