I am working on a longer post about MLK’s Six Principles of Nonviolence, but wanted to pre-publish a portion of it today, since people of all faiths are in prayer today for the Native American Water Protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota, USA, and their allies. Today over 2000 US veterans are creating a human shield for the embattled protectors, along with over 2000 interfaith spiritual activists who come to create a spiritual shield. The rest of us support them with prayer and well-wishes from out own traditions.
Brief history -At issue is a pipeline to carry oil across the US that is planed to be built below the Missouri river, providing water to tens of thousands of citizens directly and through the huge aquifer it feeds – AND the desecration of burial sites and other sacred lands held by the Sioux Indian Tribe by treaty in the 1800’s. Native American culture has always stood for protecting the balance of Mother Nature. The goal of the months-long action to create a protecting presence to protect the waters and the lands has expanded to take a strong stand for the rights of Native Americans in American society in general and for the environment we need to live. #Waterislife. One of the benefits of this action has been the establishment of a huge community of tribes who had been traditional enemies, all coming together in one place to stop the various destructions the pipeline would cause. The company building it has had over 600 leaks in their pipelines in the last six years, and overall there have been over 22o pipeline spills this year alone.
MLK’s second principle of Nonviolent Resistance states:
PRINCIPLE TWO: Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.The end result of nonviolence is redemption and reconciliation. The purpose of nonviolence is the creation of the Beloved Community .
The Power of the Heart – The idea with nonviolence social action is is to change peoples’ minds about the validity of an unjust law by taking a principled stand for justice, fueled by love, putting your bodies in harm’s way if necessary, to bring forth justice. The underlying principle is Love – and the people taking actions of “civil” disobedience are to act from a place of love…connected to the Divine Source by whatever name or none… whatever their opponent does. This takes a good deal of self-discipline, training and community-building.
A person must be willing to suffer the consequences of breaking an unjust law…say being imprisoned or fined – or tear-gassed, beaten, even killed – as a statement about how deeply he or she cares about the issue at hand. People are always assigned roles accordingly to the level of risk they can handle.
The Native American water protectors at Standing Rock Prayer Camp are a perfect example of the power of the heart …both in the sense of Love and the sense of courage and sacrifice. By being willing to stand courageously in the face of state-aggression, with love in their hearts, the protest builds a movement of support amongst people who may not have cared that much about the issue before, in the scheme of the issues in their lives. It highlights the issue at hand, and it highlights government oppression of the people, as the world watches in horror as police in riot gear fire water canons at unarmed protests in 23º weather, fire rubber bullets and tear gas at protestors, hospitalizing some, in the service of interests that are not those of the people.
There is an excellent piece today at Common Dreams, about US veterans arriving there to act as human shields as the militarized police, at taxpayer expense, inflict violence upon unarmed, prayerful people in the name of an unjust law. In it, they highlight the SPIRIT in which the protest is held and demonstrate King’s second principle perfectly.
“In the face of this we pray,” Lyla June Johnston, a young Native leader, told me the day after the blizzards blew in. “In the face of this we love. In the face of this we forgive. Because the vast majority of water protectors know this is the greatest battle of all: to keep our hearts intact.”
The protectors have fulfilled a request the sheriffs sent out to taxpayers for supplies, saying that, “”The Oceti Sakowin camp is a prayer camp, and a resilient, self-sufficient community,” the advocacy groups continued. “The camp is full of abundance—in spirit, in humanity, and in resources. Oceti Sakowin has enough to share. Generosity is an original teaching for the Lakota.”
Please join us today in praying for courage and strength to all who are gathered at Standing Rock today, to expand the love in the hearts of the police who are following unjust orders, for the protection of the waters of this river and all the waters of the Earth.
Excuse my haste in posting. Seasons for Peace and Nonviolence Tucson is a FB community I host with over 2500 people from 45 countries around the world. I would love for you to join us. “living Love and building Peace.“
Abundant blessings to each one reading.