Do not perpetuate violence

We are in the midst of a time of deep uncertainty, anger and grief over the state of higher education in this country. To say it is profoundly painful is something of understatement. Images of violence and senseless destruction fill my social media feeds. With it more or less masked rage at the other (whichever side is held).

How did we get here? We have to recognise that we live in one of the traumatised societies on that planet. That did not magically get healed with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. And now all the baggage of those years of brutally dehumanising the majority of the population is being triggered in all of us.

How do we find a way through? I have no idea. I only know that if we are going to give the next generation any hope at all we need to face into our own pain. We need to acknowledge the deep trauma.

If South Africa is to survive as a nation at all we need to do what we can to ensure that we don’t perpetuate the violence. Certainly I mean physical violence but I also mean the violence of words and intention.

How to do this as a society? I have absolutely no clue – for today I am doing my own inner work.

A resource I have found particularly useful has been the ‘Sanctuary’ album – a collaborative project between Jim Finley and Alana Levandoski.  (You can find the live concert here: The song which gives rise to the title of this blog can be found on the video around 24 minutes – Do not perpetuate violence against the parts of yourself that need to be loved the most.

4 thoughts on “Do not perpetuate violence

  1. So sad….as you say, reaping what was the result of suppression for so many years. But this way is no way to right the wrongs of all the previous wrongs.

  2. Violence doesn’t accomplish anything but it is indicative of deep hurt. I find it interesting that today Richard Rohr’s blog is entitled “Ending the Cycle of Violence”. God is sending us all a message. Prayers for South Africa!

  3. MANY thanks for this beautiful post.

    I was speaking with a 70 year old Native American lawyer (from the US) recently and he taught me some profound truth. I was angry that some of the justices being even slightly “righted” here in Canada for our indigenous people was “about a hundred years too late”.

    He said very gently: “It is never too late to right an injustice.”

    There is this deep feeling by all of us I think, that we are misunderstood… that people are misunderstanding where we are coming from. The TRC is a huge step in the right direction, because until the stories are heard, they can’t be released. I also wonder about St. Francis’ simple message “not to be understood but to understand” – which implies a sort of “unilateral disarmament” and can really only be one person at a time. Perhaps the stance within a climate with no answers is just that: a posture of seeking to understand, beginning with me.

    For today, I will try… one minute at a time. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *