Lessons Learned

Those who fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.

Hindsight is 20/20.  Here we will try to consolidate the positive lessons. In the brief case studies we can only scratch the surface. We cannot recommend the books in the bibliography enough! Only there will you get a real flavor for what happened to these leaders and movements.

  1. Non-violence requires a “leap of faith” – To disarm yourself after your home has been bombed, to allow yourself to be beaten senseless with no resistance may not make a lot of “common sense”.

  2. Things can change – We become trapped because “that’s the way it is”, we  sit in the back of the bus.  Don’t believe “that’s the way it is” — makes it right or that it can’t  change tomorrow.

  3. People do change – Real change comes from within.  The example of nonviolence can melt the hearts of the opposition.  It’s human nature to justify our “cruel or unkind” acts because they deserved it.  When they treat you with kindness and fail to return evil for evil — there is cause for introspection.

  4. There will be doubts, disagreements and failures – King failed in some attempts and so did Gandhi.  They knew what it was like to fall flat on your face. Disagreement and dissension occur in any large movement (especially when people care deeply about an issue). Those differences will be exploited by the opposition. Satyagraha while calling for love, respect & concern for your oppressor, certainly asks the same for the members of your own movement.

  5. Publicity is valuable – The focus of newspapers and cameras helped deliver the message.  Gandhi and King were prolific writers and exploited publicity. Their actions caught the fascination of the common person.

  6. Have faith in what you believe – You must have the courage of your convictions and the willingness to follow through.   Remember Thoreau, there are 999 admirers of virtue for one person with virtue. Do what you think is right — even if no one else joins you and you march alone.

  7. Requires action of the masses – These movements were done by the poor.  Action doesn’t require a college degree. People need to come together & become energized. The leadership must show the example.

    A movement across a large region does NOT have to be coordinated. You do NOT need central control and scheduling. You just need to be organized by your common belief and express your concerns in a similar manner. This allows the movement to spread  quickly.