Result: 23,370 people took part in the campaign: signing MOUs, watching videos, etc.

ASEZ Provides the Vision for a “New Era of Peace, Trust, and Tolerance.”

For the International Day of Non-Violence, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres mentioned that the day provides an opportunity to usher in a “new era of peace, trust and tolerance.” He pointed out that it was no coincidence that the day coincides with the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi—a leader of India’s independence movement and the founder of the principles of non-violence. “For Gandhi, non-violence, peaceful protest, dignity, and equality were more than words. They represented a guiding light for humanity, a map to a better future,” he said.

The UN chief also pointed to the movement as “a template” to confront today’s troubled times. “Conflicts and climate change. Poverty and inequalities. Mistrust and divisions. All under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to devastate people and economies alike,” he said. He underscored that the solution to these challenges “is in our hands: solidarity.”

Solution for the Crisis of Humankind: Solidarity of All

The principle of non-violence, also known as non-violent resistance, rejects the use of physical force to achieve social or political change, and has been adopted globally in campaigns for social justice. For this, the UN chief said, “As Gandhi did, what unites us is far greater than what divides us. That peace provides the only pathway to a better future for all.”

He called on combatants around the world to lay down their arms and focus on defeating humanity’s common enemy—COVID-19.” Most of all, flagged the UN chief, “we need to renew trust in one another. Hatred, division, conflict, and mistrust have had their day,” he said. “It is time to usher in a new era of peace, trust and tolerance.” Mr. Guterres urged everyone to “heed Gandhi’s message of peace and get down to the business of building a better and more peaceful future for all”.

ASEZ “Happy Words” Campaign for the International Day of Non-Violence

COVID-19 and the Change in Crime

With towns and cities empty, the traditional crime types such as robbery, theft, and public order offenses have seen a huge decline due to lockdown measures. However, it turned out that it created additional opportunities for other crime types such as domestic violence. For example, increased time spent at home increased the opportunities for domestic violence and child abuse to occur. Restrictions on movements, as well as financial instability caused by the crisis, increased stress, which can cause crimes such as verbal abuse and violence between family members.

For this, the World Health Organization [WHO] suggested “kind words and actions” as preventive measures against domestic violence caused by the lockdown due to COVID-19.

“Take measures to ensure you manage your stress in a way that is respectful and safe to you and your family. Try to be kind to yourself, your partner, children, and anyone else in the family. Demonstrate kindness and patience in your words and actions.”

– World Health Organization [WHO]

ASEZ members carried out “Happy Words” campaign to stop verbal violence and provide an opportunity for everyone to change and overcome crisis. The campaign was conducted for a month from October 1–30. It consisted of three steps, “Supporting Signature Campaign, Raising Awareness of the Importance of Positive Words, and Bingo Challenge,” through which members could change themselves and also encouraged others to change. For a month, 3,938 people signed MOUs and 23,370 people took part in the campaign.

A member who delivered encouraging letters to health care workers as part of this campaign said, “Everyone was so thankful for our support although it was something small. That made me feel warm.” Another member said, “I once complimented my friend’s strong points. Hearing that, the friend thanked me, saying, ‘I’m happy to have a friend like you. When I am with other friends, I find myself using tough words with slang. But for you, I think you are purifying me.’ Hearing this, I realized that words have strong power. I will keep this in mind and try to use good words.”

Pygmalion Effect is a psychological phenomenon wherein high expectations lead to improved performance in a given area. And the expectation is delivered through words. It means that a single word we speak can turn things around or change a person’s life.

In celebration of the International Day of Non-Violence, why don’t we reflect on the meaning of this day so that our words will not inflict pain on others, but instead, bring happiness to people, and eventually change the world?