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Non-nonviolence

Regarding the letter by Thomas Fox about what sends males to warring

Regarding the letter by Thomas Fox about what sends males to warring (“Man/Boy/Love/War?” The Mail, Jan. 25), I think he is right—but Max Obuszewski’s comment (“More Numbers,” The Mail, Jan. 11) that killing human beings is “unnatural” also seems right in that we seem, even we males, to have a “fellow feeling” component that does abhor killing another.

Having served prison time for a nonviolent protest (of Vietnam), I think about the nonviolence/violence crossroads a lot.

Thoreau wrote the following about John Brown:

I do not wish to kill or be killed. But I can foresee circumstances in which both these things would be by me unavoidable.
It was John Brown’s particular doctrine that a man has a perfect right to interfere by force with the slave holder, in order to rescue the slave. I agree with him.
I shall not be forward to think him mistaken in his method who quickest succeeds to liberate the slave.

I believe that, while strict nonviolence may be next to impossible, it is the first thing to try (and seldom is—in any society—due to our male programming). I see it as difficult but beautiful— like ballet.

Dave Eberhardt

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