Non-Violent Resistance MAG

November 24, 2013
By KaylaMc711 SILVER, Buffalo, New York
KaylaMc711 SILVER, Buffalo, New York
6 articles 2 photos 10 comments

I was never able to fully comprehend what the word resistance meant until I joined the 2013 Summer Institute for Human Rights and Genocide Studies. It was there that I realized that I'd been subconsciously resisting for many years. I was a victim of bullying from the fourth grade until my first day of high school. For five years I faced cruelty on a daily basis, and for five years my parents watched me cry and wonder what was wrong with me.

Every day was a new struggle. I would stand at my bus stop with kids who would glare and snicker at me. I would struggle to find a seat on the bus since nobody was willing to let me sit with them. If kids refused to move, I would have to climb over them to get a seat. After I came home discouraged, my mother would ask me if I wanted her to drive me to school. I remember looking at her and saying, “Mom, I can't let you drive me to school because if you do, they'll win.”

Resistance is supposed to be passive physically but be a warrior both in spirit and in mind. Resorting to violence ultimately creates more problems and leaves behind devastation and sorrow. But the power of an educated mind voicing what is unjust is the greatest weapon anyone can wield.

Through the Summer Institute for Human Rights and Genocide Studies I was privileged to meet many amazing people who have peacefully resisted injustice. Of all the speakers, one woman's story and determination moved me the most. Shabana Basij-Rasikh is just 22 years old. She grew up in Afghanistan, where fewer than six percent of women are educated beyond high school. With determination and the support of her family, Shabana graduated from Middlebury College. She has since founded Sola, the first and possibly only boarding school for girls in Afghanistan.

When Shabana was six, the Taliban took over Afghanistan, making it illegal for girls to attend school. For five years she dressed as a boy and walked with her older sister to a secret school; this was the only way they managed to get an education. Every day they feared for their lives.

To be brave doesn't mean to be unafraid. Being brave means you have the courage to resist and look fear in the face. To prevent getting caught, Shabana and her sister took different routes to school and hid their books in grocery bags so it looked like they were going shopping.

The school was in a house that held more than a hundred girls. Every day those girls, their parents, and the teachers risked their lives to provide a brighter future for these young women. When Shabana was beginning to lose hope, her father told her, “You can lose everything you own, your money can be stolen, you can be forced to leave your home during a war, but the one thing that will always remain with you is your education.”

Shabana is just one of millions who have and still are advocating for change and raising their voices against injustice. Another remarkable woman I learned about was Irena Sendler, born in 1910 and died in 2008. She was a Polish Catholic nurse who worked in Warsaw during the Holocaust where she saved 2,500 Jewish children by transporting them in ambulances as if they were sick. She also hid them in trash cans and even coffins. Later, Irena reunited these children with their families who had survived, and for those who weren't as fortunate, she found adoptive homes.

This is a woman who is considered a hero to many, yet Irena did not think of herself that way. “I could have done more,” she wrote. “This regret will follow me to my death.” Irena's story is inspiring and shows how one person can truly make a difference. By learning about people like Shabana Basij-Rasikh and Irena Sendler, we can help create a brighter future for our generation. It is our moral duty as a global society to become the voice for those who dare not or cannot speak.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Too many of us keep silent, hoping someone else will fix what is unjust in the world. We must not remain voiceless for our brothers and sisters who have had their rights stolen! Educate yourself about injustice. Find a problem that sparks you interest, and create small ways to resist and make a difference.

The author's comments:
This is my first piece of work that has been published in August 2013 by the Syracuse University College of Law. In recognition to my essay, "Our Time is Now". The reason I'm sharing this, to whomever reads it is because of two reasons. One this woman, Shabana Basij-Rasikh, is one of the most inspirational I have ever learned about/talked to. The second reason I share this is to show to whoever has been a victim of bullying to not listen to those who criticize and mock you. You are beautiful, and you are going to go off an do amazing things. When people are feeling bad about themselves and are unhappy with their lives, they will do whatever it is in their power to stop you from being happy. Please know that whatever struggle you're going through, know that it gets better!

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This article has 4 comments.

on Apr. 27 2016 at 7:45 am
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
This was a fantastic article. People need to be made aware of problems in other countries.

mplo said...
on Sep. 4 2015 at 2:21 pm
This is a really wonderful article, Kayla. Justice throughout the world is needed, because bullying exists throughout the world. Unfortunately, however, non-violent resistance doesn't always work. Witness what happened to Rachel Corrie, a young woman in her early twenties, when she was trying to protect the house of an ordinary Palestinian family that resided in Rafah (a city in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip), when she tried to stop an Israeli military-operated bulldozer from demolishing that famiy's house.

on Dec. 5 2013 at 6:25 pm
KaylaMc711 SILVER, Buffalo, New York
6 articles 2 photos 10 comments
Aw thanks I'm really happy you liked it! :)

Hilton BRONZE said...
on Dec. 4 2013 at 7:08 pm
Hilton BRONZE, Louisville, Kentucky
4 articles 0 photos 20 comments

Favorite Quote:
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
Lao Tzu

“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and som “An obstacle is often a stepping stone.”

I love this. It was just heart-moving! You got a great writing! Congratulation on your piece getting published in by the Syracuse University College!!! We need justice around world. I just love how you brought your article to an conclusion. Thank you for this wonderful piece of work!


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