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Hours After Vegas Massacre, the U.N. Day of Nonviolence

Eric Ortiz
Contributor
Eric Ortiz is a journalist and innovator with two decades in digital media, Ortiz founded the mobile app startup Evrybit, a live storytelling and reporting tool, as a 2014 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at…
Eric Ortiz

Mahatma Ghandi, center, surrounded by followers during his civil disobedience campaign in 1930. (AP)

Monday was the United Nations' annual International Day of Nonviolence. Hours after the Las Vegas massacre, the U.N. observed the day with an event called "Significance of Nonviolence in Today's World."

In 2007, the U.N. designated Oct. 2 a day to recognize the universal values of nonviolence and commemorate the lifework of Mahatma Gandhi, who was born Oct. 2, 1869, and led India's independence movement of nonviolent resistance against the British empire.

"Nothing enduring can be built on violence," U.N. General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak said Monday, quoting Gandhi, Voice of America reported.

To recognize the International Day of Nonviolence, Storytellers for Peace also created a video with a message of peace, using storytelling to spread and support nonviolence.

Storytellers for Peace is an international network of narrators who create collaborative stories through videos. Artists from all over the world talk about peace, justice, equality and human rights. All participants tell one or more verses of the story in their first language (with English subtitles). The project was created and is coordinated by Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher, an Italian author, storyteller, stage actor and director.

Watch the Storytellers for Peace video below.

Here are the artists and their stories in order of appearance.

Cecilia Moreschi, Italy

Scheherazade is the new sultan's bride. Like all the others, Scheherazade will die at dawn. To allow the sultan to marry again. But Scheherazade is smart and, above all, has a sister. That wedding night, before going to sleep, she asks Scheherazade to tell her a story. Scheherazade gets the sultan's permission and begins to tell. At dawn, the story is not over, and the sultan decides not to kill Scheherazade because he wants to know how the story ends. So, for another night and many others, Scheherazade tells the story. And when the story finally ends, the sultan no longer has the will to kill her because he has fallen in love with her and her ability to tell stories.

Mahfuz Jewel, Bangladesh

Probably the most interesting saying about nonviolence was coined by a Chinese philosopher. He said it’s only when a mosquito lands on your testicles that you realize there is always a way to solve problems without using violence. If everybody understands this sayings he or she has to laugh as a Buddha.

Mahatma Gandhi said that nonviolence is a weapon of the strong ones.

The evidence came by Martin Luther King Jr., who said that at the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love.

So let’s love all creatures. Because the heart of human beings is greater than the universe. So if we want, we can mutually live without harming anybody.

Say no to violence. Let’s talk and walk on the way of love. Let’s make the planet peaceful.

Katharina Ritter, Germany

Hello, dear enemy. No violence against anything or anyone.

D.M.S. Ariyrathne, Sri Lanka

Corruption, terror, flogging, oppression, violence, I don't want.
Love, kindness, mercy, nonviolence, coexistence, peace, I like very much.

Sandra Burmeister G., Chile

There is a fable of Gandhi that I like and I will share here. It says that when Mahatma Gandhi lived in London, while studying at an English university, there was a professor, named Peters, who contradicted Gandhi. Every time he met him, when they were among the hallways, in the university dining room and in the classroom.

On one occasion, when Gandhi went to lunch, he met his teacher in the dining room. Gandhi sat down next to the teacher. Professor Peters looked at him and said:

---Student Gandhi, you still don’t understand.
---What professor?
---Don’t you know that a pig cannot sit next to a bird?
---Oh, sorry teacher, excuse me. I'm flying away right now!

The teacher was so angry with Gandhi that he decided to take revenge on the next test. On the day of the exam, Gandhi answered the whole test perfectly. Without any error. When the teacher reviewed the test and realized that all the answers were correct, he decided to ask a question:

---Student Gandhi, if you were walking down the street and came across two bags, one of wisdom and another with money, which one would you choose?
---Of course, I will choose the money!
---Ah! If I had been you, I would have chosen the bag wisely.

To which Gandhi replied:

---Well, teacher, everyone picks up what they do not have.

The professor was much angrier than before. The teacher takes the pages of Gandhi's exam and writes at the end: IDIOT.

Then he gives the paper to his student. Gandhi watches his entire examination. There was no correction. There was no rating or note. Nothing, except the word: IDIOT.

Gandhi looks at the teacher and says:

---Teacher! Excuse me, but you signed my sheet, and there's no qualification here.

Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher, Italy

Only with a story. You can show the horrors of the world with absolute precision and honesty, as if they were exactly before your eyes, and thus prevent them.

Only with a story. You can give a face, at the right time, to the murderers and the victims, so that there is no way to confuse them.

Only with a story. You can show how peace and its gifts are possible. Because what enters a story, from it and with it, can arrive anywhere.

READ: Power to the Peaceful

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