The power of standing together in nonviolence

Posted on November 12, 2011 by


Recently there was a video posted on face book that demonstrated military force by the police force against a group of students with linked arms.  The group of students wearing back packs outnumbered the police force who were in full riot gear and surrounded the students in double lines.

At first both sides did not seem to be taking any action against one another and all of a sudden one officer began to attack the students in front of him with his night stick.  He began jabbing it into the students with full force, visibly hurting them.  As some students fell out of the line up other officers began to focus on them and beat them up.  As members of the group pulled the strays to safety those ones became the targets.

What was different in this group from other violent attacks?  These students simply continued to recompose their line and hold arms regardless of their injuries and threats of being charged.  The police seemed to be confused and eventually stopped their attacks.  It’s unknown what happen after the tape stopped rolling.

This was an example of the traditional treat of violence not holding the power it has in the past.  The students are to be commended for their ability to stand in their fear in this moment of being threatened with physical violence.  The police are to be commended for stopping the violence when they became confused at the lack of familiar response in that moment.  At least for a few moments there was the uncertainty of not knowing what to do.  This could be the game changer.