Power Does Not Come From A Gun


Power Does Not Come From A Gun Essay, Research Paper

Power. A word from which many meanings derive. To each

individual, it means something distinct and it is how one uses their

power that makes up who they are. Power does not come from the barrel

of a gun. A gun can do nothing without someone there to pull the

trigger. The power to take a life rests within the person, the gun

simply serving as their tool. When groups protesting for a cause they

believe in use violent tactics, do they ever accomplish anything? When

we kill , what do we achieve? To say that power lies in the barrel of

a gun is to say that the most effective way to get what we want, or

what we feel we deserve is to murder. It is only those with no faith

in their dreams, or belief in themselves who could make such a


Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “If a man hasn’t found

something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.” A leader in the

Black community and the recipient of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize,

King’s accomplishment of attaining civil rights for Blacks was a

great one, but the road to achievement was long and full of

sacrifices. It was a time when Blacks had no rights and most of

them accepted this as the way it was and no one could do anything

about it. Most of them, but not King. When the police arrested a black

woman for sitting in the front of the bus and refusing to give up her

seat to a white woman, King led a committee that organized a boycott

of buses. The results were that on April 23, 1956, the Supreme Court

ruled that “segregation in public transportation is unconstitutional”

and that South Carolina as well as 12 other states must remove the

“whites only” signs that hung in the front of the buses. This was just

the beginning, he vowed to continue his fight using “passive

resistance and the weapon of love”. He helped establish the Southern

Christian Leadership Conference, and became its first president. Then

in 1957, King met with Vice-president Nixon in Washington to “discuss

racial problems . He went on to lead protests, demonstrations and

marches, making the non-violent resistance stronger than it had ever

been before. He succeeded in making people aware that every human

being is born equal and that no one should be denied his civil rights.

Martin Luther King had a dream and he knew that there was only

one way to make it come true, to wake up and to take action. He was a

true example of someone putting their power to good use. He started

his life with a disadvantage, he was hated because of the color of his

skin, but he did not let that stop him. He was arrested, thrown in

jail, stabbed, stoned, he even had his home bombed. Through it all, he

refused to give up, he had found a cause worth dying for and he did.

He was murdered on the night of April 4, 1968. People tried to use

their power to stop him and his fight. In the end, they may have

succeeded in killing its leader, but the battle against racism lived

on. Looking back, people say that Martin Luther King Jr. was a very

powerful man. I have never heard anyone say his attackers or his

murderers had. “I am indeed, a practical dreamer. My dreams are not

airy nothings. I want to convert my dreams into realities, as far as


Mahatma is the name the people of India gave to Mohandas

Karamchand Gandhi. The meaning is Great Soul, and they considered him

as the father of their nation. He named his autobiography, “The story

of My Experiments With Truth.” That was, after all, what his life was

about: the truth and his search to find it. He was against violence in

any form, he felt there existed better methods of accomplishing

things, and he proved to be successful. he made up his won technique

for social action that he called satyagraha, “non-violent resistance

to injustice and wrong.” Gandhi’s actions were guided by his

philosophy that the way a person behaves is more important than what

he achieves. It was these tactics that he used in his fight for

India’s independence.

Gandhi was a lawyer, on a business trip to South Africa and he

was greeted with prejudice and discrimination against the fellow

Indians living there. What was supposed to be a trip, ended up being a

21 year stay as he began to work towards a cause he believed in,

Indian rights. He launched a newspaper entitles, “Indian Opinion” that

was published weekly. He returned to India and soon after became the

leader of the Indian Nationalistic Movement. He led a satyagraha

campaign, but the moment riots broke out, he canceled it. It was

defeating its own purpose if violence was involved. Gandhi brought

about many economic and social reforms; he led campaigns, strikes,

demonstrations, and achieved many great things. The people of India

will always be grateful to him, for he played the major role in

acquiring freedom for their country, which Great Britain finally

granted in the year 1947. Although he may not have been large in

build, his strengths when it came to the issue he believed in as well

as his moral values, were immeasurable. He found something to fight

for and he did, never suing violence, even if it could have worked to

his advantage. He was a man much like Martin Luther King Jr., both

achieving civil rights for their people and attempting to abolish

discrimination. Unfortunately, Gandhi too, suffered from his

opposition. he too was arrested on several occasion and was the victim

of murder. The day he dies was one marked with grief, but not a

weakness on his part. No one thought on that day, Gandhi lost his

power and his murderers achieved it. Reflecting on his life, one could

describe it as a series of historical events.

Gandhi defined a satyagraha as one with the persistent hope,

“who followed a vision of truth and tried to deploy the strength of

truth and love in daily life. I believe that that is an accurate

description of is own character. “In the name of our party’s movement,

The Syrian Muslim Party of Justice, we declare that the blood of all

Jews living in Syria will be spilled starting on Saturday the 13 of

March 1994, according to Muslim month (1/Shawal 1414). May the

almighty witness our deed.”

A special branch of the secret police in Syria –the

Makhabrat– was assigned to keep the Jewish community’s activities

under constant surveillance. Emigration of the Jews was forbidden.

When Jews who still tried to escape illegally were caught, they were

thrown in jail without a trial or charge. Jews were not permitted to

be a candidate in an election nor were they granted voting rights.

Travel was allowed only for medical treatment or to visit relatives In

order to assure their return, they were required to leave as family

members behind as well as large sums of money. There were restrictions

on the numbers of Jews allowed to attend University, and the only

Jewish schools in Damascus were ordered to accept a vast number of

Palestinian students. The Jews were forced to wear identity cards,

marking their religion on it. All mail from outside Syria was censored

and telephone calls were monitored.

The Jews outside Syria found out what was going on and decided

to take the matter into their own hands. Everyone went about it in

their own individual way. Michael Schelew, national chairman of the

Syrian Jewry Committee of B’nai Brith Canada’s Institute for

International Affairs and Paul Marcus, National Director of B’nai

Birth Canada’s Institute for International Affairs, wrote an article

for the Leader-Post, a newspaper printed in Regina. The article was

entitle, “The abuse of Jews a fact of life in Syria” and it exposed

the truth about what was really going on there. NAHON, an organization

that focuses mainly on social action and is made up exclusively of

students, distributed this article as well as many others at one of

their conventions, to promote awareness among students in Montreal.

When Syrian President Hafez Assad made a commitment to allow the Jews

to leave freely in 1992, he did not honor his promise. 73 senators

wrote a letter expressing their concern over this issue to President

Clinton, urging him to “press Syria to honor its commitment to allow

the Hews the right to travel freely.” B’nai Brith Youth Organization

began an international petition, requesting that “the Syrian

government fulfill its promise and allow free emigration of Jews from

the country” immediately. Everyone had their own way of helping, each

individual and group used their power in their way, and together, we

succeeded. The Jews in Syria are now to free to leave the country as

they wish.

Regardless of whether or not an individual is the president of

the Unitd States or simply a student, they have the power. It is up to

us to make the difference because the power remains with the people,

not the gun. it is easy to walk blindly past the truth, to close our

eyes and deny what is going on. It is easy to blame others and to say

that unless we kill, there is nothing we can do. The ones who make use

of their power are the heroes, the ones who are remembered. Do not

follow the path set out for you, do as the people mentioned in this

paper have. Pave you own, and leave a trail. Power does not lie within

the barrel of a gun, it lies within you.

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