Nonviolence Work in Education: The Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies Interview with Kay Bueno de Mesquita
by Paul J. Plumitallo
Paul J. Plumitallo: I was wondering what violence means to you? Can violence be more than physical? Is language ever violent? There have been some disagreements about what violence actually means in my class.
Kay Bueno de Mesquita: I believe that violence is more than physical. It can be internal as well as external: violence of the spirit, a range from psychological to emotional from mild to severe. The damaging words that someone can say can have a longer lasting harmful effect than physical violence.
Plumitallo: Do you consider yourself to be nonviolent? How does one apply nonviolent principles to their daily life? We often discuss how difficult nonviolence is in our society because we are so exposed to violence.
Bueno de Mesquita: It’s true that being nonviolent in all aspects of life can be difficult. In his first principle of nonviolence Martin Luther King Jr. states that, “Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.” [Please see the text of all Six Principles at the end of the interview.] Dr. King also said, “I’m not nonviolent some of the time, I’m nonviolent all of the time.” I strive to be nonviolent in every aspect of my life including thinking kind thoughts about myself, and others; being compassionate and empathetic to all people. I’m not always successful. But I try. I try to be mindful each day and “wake up each morning with a prayer and a smile.”