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Non Violence: Your Wealth and Mine

¿Are there teachers or not? ¿Is there a government or not? ¿Who takes care of us? If there are children in the streets, if there are explosives sold in El Alto in daylight (one of the most violent cities in Bolivia), it is nobody’s fault, even less YOUR fault, dear reader, because YOU are not to be blamed.

Of course it is not your fault. How, you wonder, to be guilty of what others do?, aren’t there ‘instances’ appointed to this? Where is the church? Human rights? The Police? Let them take care of it, let them assume their role.

As easy as that, we are exempt of all blame. You look at the world, or your street for the sake of it, as in a video while you, or you sir or madam, comfortably seated, are commenting on the movie.

There is a problem here. The video could include your brothers, kids or grandchildren, dead in explosions or torn by drugs. But if you are single, powerful, rich, white, indigenous in power, or mestizo with a lot of money, this does not matter, because you are not guilty.

And the movie goes on and you walk in the streets and you stumble into poor people who ask you for something, and at home, of course, there is always somebody who ‘bothers’ you, with things like explosives that detonate in the hands of somebody, or a nose that becomes sick because of sniffing too much cocaine. Minor details.

What matters is that you are not guilty. If people are gathering in street corners yelling for something, it is their problem; why wouldn’t they leave you alone? They wouldn’t, dear reader, because peace does not belong to anyone, not even to those who say they fight for it. Let alone those who say there won’t be peace until they get one thing or another, because they are the first to sow poverty.

‘Not one leaf moves without the permission of the tree’, is the Chinese saying that I want you to remember now for the rest of your life. You, being far away or near, gave permission so the indigenous man from Potosi would die trying to preserve his land this week.

You also gave permission so that Mrs. Jennifer Wissemberg, wife of the former National Director of Customs Cesar Lopez, be assaulted, stabbed 20 times and beaten until she lost one eye.

You gave permission also for someone to send the explosive letter to Mrs. Surco, who is now about to lose one eye. Even with the money to fly to the USA to be taken care of, her health is uncertain. And she almost died.

Not knowing this doesn’t mean it is false. We all give permission for this when we allow poverty to fill our souls. Thought I meant money poverty, right? Well, I didn’t, as this kind of poverty is fixeable somewhat rapidly.

I am talking about the spiritual poverty that is invading us. Yes. Every time you shout in the streets bullying somebody, you are being violent, you mortally wound dialogue, and you get ill from spiritual poverty.

Same happens at home. Every time you come in drunk or high, and shout out that you work so hard to give everyone their way, you mortally wound the peace of your home. Because you must act non violently if peace is to exist in your home.

All the same, for peace to be within your country and community, all of us need that you BE NON VIOLENT. You see, every time the term peace comes up, being peaceful doesn’t, and neither does being non violent.

This is because it is convenient for the ones trafficking with peace to become rich or powerful, to talk about peace as something that only beauty queens talk about, not as something you SHOULD have in your everyday life.

The monster of spiritual poverty has two heads: violence and ignorance. But violence is the mother of all miseries. So when you and I assume that we are responsible for all violence, we stop being … miserable, spiritually poor.

The first step is to stand up for yourself and others firmly and proudly in every occasion without violence, the second is to live up to highly valued principles of integrity.

The possibility of deciding to be wealthy of spirit is free. And it is tempting, attractive, and it brings the possibility of BEING the difference to your fingertips The true wealth, is not the property of anyone, it is free as the air we breath, and equally necessary…

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future, which is providing rigorous web 2.0 and new media training for 31 emerging women leaders. We are speaking out for social change from some of the most forgotten corners of the world. Meet Us.


Yvonne Bryant's picture

Non-Violence: Your Wealth and Mine

Dear Jackie,
This is a powerful op-ed and when I think about it, so true. It gives me power, helps me to stay focused and aware of my commitment to non-violence. When I watch the news and see the violence all over the world and feel frustrated and hopeless, remembering that I can make a difference through how I treat my family members and everyone that I come into contact with gives me power. I'm human and won't say that I'll never get upset or angry again, but I'll use my commitment to non-violence as a trigger to return me to peace within as quickly as possible. When I past strangers on the street and smile, I'll do that not automatically, but in the name of peace and love. I agree that small actions in the name of peace can impact violence everywhere. I believe that we as human beings are all connected and with enough intention and action in the name of peace and love, we can all move from spiritual poverty to spiritual wealth.

It's a joy to be your mentor. Thank you.


jap21's picture

Blessings from the heart

What you just told me, dear Yvonne, is the best blessing to me, as everything begins when one person is able to pass on the goodnes.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The bond between you and me begun with this program but I know will last beyond all boundaries.

To me, being your mentee is a gift from my dear God.



Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America

Dear Jackie,
Your op-ed is thought-provoking and reminds me of Gandhi when he said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." You are among great thinkers as you articulate your view of ending violence by choosing spiritual wealth. We are all responsible for engendering peace in our hearts starting with our families and neighbors until it spreads beyond our borders. You have written a beautiful reminder of the way to walk through the world with integrity that brings hope to change the world for the better. Very nicely done, Jackie.
With love,

jap21's picture

Hi dear Sally

I am humbled by your comment. I know that the op ed is supposed to touch peoples' insights, and wondered if I could ever achieve that. What you just said shows me it was possible for me to reach your heart.

Thank you so much for all your help, your support and your active involvement in the issues I raise.



Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America

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