Fighting with non-violence | Scilla Elworthy


99 thoughts on “Fighting with non-violence | Scilla Elworthy”

  • Crotalus Atrox says:

    I can't wait for the day an alien civilization comes and invades this world and humans face extermination or slavery. We shall see just how this non-violent bullshit works. The universal law is force on force. The Creator set forth these rules and you must abide by them. The non-violent preaches weakness and is used by people who need others to do their fighting for them because they themselves are powerless.

  • Do you people really think that people having power will solve every problem…. I am certain they can not…. They act like child and so much ignorant…. so what happens if the ignorant child gets the power? I am personally researching on it and I think it might be impossible, because people tend to understand fear better than word of wisdom.

    The problem is not the fear or violence or any shit like this…. the problem is how to make people realize the facts….

  • I have asked a simple thing to my friends….

    Do not eat meat….

    I got several reasons and many of them were not reason at all….

    But they wont stop having it….

    I shared my wisdom which was –

    1. Why to kill animals which will just feel as much pain as us, if hurt physically.
    2. Alternates are available.
    3. Plant forms are good source of energy as they process direct energy from sun.

    Yet I didn't put any real scientific reasons…. they did defy this…. now what to do??

  • You write like a grade 8 student who learns about the world from Fox News and Grand Theft Auto. Just because Mahatma Gandhi is not a character in GTA, doesn't mean that he didn't liberate India from the British Raj, or that his strategy of non-violence has not been repeatedly proven effective in the real world. Of course, poorly implemented non-violent strategies can fail just as poorly implemented violent strategies can.

  • Good talk. In my opinion… A terrorist or bully doesn't think of him or herself as such. They may think of themselves as revolutionaries or disciplinarians with a family to protect and keep in order. The teachers who beat the children at the school I went to didn't think of themselves at heartless, cruel and sadistic. I'm sure many of us kids would like to have cracked them over the head with a baseball bat. I think first base is the realisation that 'self' and 'other' are one and the same. Violence can seem to work but not when you realise that you are doing it to yourself! Cycles of life; halls of mirrors; whatever you put out comes back. And we are stuck in a miserable place until we consistently put out love. I'm sure that's what Gandhi knew and lived by. 

  • An inspiring talk and an awesome speaker, but now, almost 2 years after the talk, the world events don't make me as optimistic. 

    #TedTalk   #ScillaElworthy   #nonviolence  

  • As a Christian, it is God who gave us a brain to have a common sense that we speak a universal moral code that governs our heart (Book of Romans, chapter 2), will abolish any cultural dilemma bullshit that puts unjust laws to be lawful. I blame the relativist who relies on cultural laws IF they do that. Not all atheist relies on cultural law because that would make them an Ethos, or a straw man. I rather follow the objective law, AKA: the common sense laws of the basic of morality (knowing from right and wrong), will be the best for the human society. As for the Nuremberg case, I blame culture laws for applying unjust laws to make it lawful, to which explains why we have war criminals everyday. If we get rid of relativism, then all we have is objectivism. In the book of Daniels, this is evident to see that prophet Daniel was thrown into the lion's den for praying to God. To that extent, I was curious why he was thrown. When I found out why he was thrown, his crimes was praying to God. The 3 wise men set him up, by applying an unjust law to be a law. When I read this, I as myself, was convinced that cultural values and cultural morality can get bend. As for God's laws, to which many Christians and Christian martyrs have died for this, has not changed a single law to this day. As for man's laws, we see them changing everyday. For example, the martial law as I know it, is changing rapidly. In the 1980s, we see cops only carrying a baton; in 1990's, we now see cops with pistol and a walkie-talkie. As up right now in today, I see cops carrying an assault rifle. This is evident to me that I now know that ONE DAY, civil disobedience will be destroyed one day by our enemy, just like how Daniel fell into the lion's den. As for God said that it is inevitable to change the future, man is doomed because of their wickedness. People, what is your opinion about this? How do we save our civil rights? I mean, when we face our future, you might not know that you might be voting for a double-agent terrorist as a president. Now I don't want to sound crazy, but I am realizing a terrible future that one day, the good people that we know who relies on objectivism, will perish along with their civil rights. History will repeat itself like a dead person (like a ghost) is repeating his/her death at a certain time. I want to ask the good people: If we are fighting to save humanity, what are we fighting for when we lose at the end? I don't want to come offensive, but this is a true saying from elders: "Evil men rise, good men falls." What do we do if the elders were right?

    Please, I need answers. What if the good people to which we are fighting for our civil rights was destroyed by some evildoers who became the president of the world and demolishes these things? I know for SURE that history will repeat itself, just like WWII.

  • When GW Bush declared war following 9/11/01, I was incensed at his immature, "cowboy" resorting to violence… as America has done repeatedly.  (I'm American, by the way.)  Ms. Elworthy tells it as many of us wish it to be.  I believe the human race must mature to the point of making amends before making war or we shall cease to exist.  Thank  you so much Ms. Elworthy for stating it so well.

  • Very eloquent. There is a long history of non-violent resistance to force that has been hidden. It is not taught in schools. Governments do not want us to know it. But it is easily discovered through investigation. Learn the history and become empowered.

  • Simply doesn't work in this animalistic, savage, barbaric world we live in.

    "To combat violence, you need greater violence."

  • When it comes to warfare and other extremely violent situations, non-violence most certainly does not stop violence. This is the kind of thinking that promotes violent people to commit violent acts. Evil Men do not negotiate, they murder and terrorize. This is NOT an idea worth spreading.

  • Hearing that his woman is involved with those making policies with WMD's isn't comforting me any.  Grass roots power?  Really has she been looking around?

    I remember what they did to the military contractors…you know burned them and hung them. I mean if they only knelled down.

    Dictatorships didn't just fall because of the will of the people lady as important as it is, but are the current situations in those places much better?

    Well I can say I've learned nothing on how to deal with bullies and I hope she continues to live in her safe little bubble. I wonder how she'd deal with it if someone just started hitting her and didn't stop.  She could use all those things as she bleed on the floor.

     Scilla Elworthy needs to get a real job.

  • Lady, the U.S. Military rescued your country and it's citizens from the maniac dictator Hitler. We provided strength in numbers of troops, munitions, logistics and human casualties. We provided freedom for you and you question the very methods we used to free you. We were even stupid enough to spend our money to rebuild your country. For every Hitler there is a Patton.  ISIS does not talk. Put your head back into the sand.

  • why when i listen to this wise voice i think they come from other plant as at the first glance i recognize that they adopted by those who gave the oppressors what they need to do these bad things and showing off themselves as the opposite wing democratically 

  • Okay I've read through some and admittedly not even close to a quarter of the comments, probably way less than that but I've seen worrying amounts of hostility already, so here is something that should hopefully clarify the context of the talker's belief. She believes that non violence is effective against BULLIES. Yes, it is true that non violence will not work on a sociopath who randomly attacks. That is not a bully. I am sure she understands this and is not as naive as some commentators here have been lead to believe. She has not "glossed" over this, it is a separate issue. Think about this comment and hopefully make a more informed agreement or disagreement towards the subject at hand.

  • Robert J. Williamson says:

    Try it with the Islamic State and see how you get on. She is born with a silver spoon in her mouth, an upper middle class woman who has never seen real violence or known a moment of poverty in her life. 

  • touchy feely, feel good rhetoric and it gives everyone a warm fuzzy …. would non violence have stopped the Nazis? Will non violence change the fact that Islam is a violent religion and only understands strength through firepower? Has appeasement policy ever worked ? rubbish … she lives in lala land.

  • At the end of they day, the guilty will die or the innocent will die.

    You cannot stop that. You will never stop evil. You will never stop death.

    But you can prevent injustice.

    And so I choose the guilty every time.

  • Non-violent resistance is not effective or takes for too long to be effective against regimes such as the mullahs' regime in Iran!
    There have been a few uprises in the past 35 years of the existence of this regime, but all have been brutally cracked down!
    I wonder how Gandhi would have advised Iranian people to resist against a ruthless regime!

  • Tere Velázquez says:

    Could you help us please? 😀

  • Nothing new here.  We will always have the Pol Pot's, Hitler, and those that want to force the rest of us to their beliefs. Of course try reasoning and communication, what adult doesn't know this? When violence comes to your door we MUST protect ourselves and survive! Spread peace and always be ready to protect yourself and those you love.

  • Regardless of where you come from, regardless of where you are. Violence should be your last resort. I unfortunately I do not represent this kind of belief (although, I try). I have harmed people who have threatened me without verbal confrontation on my part. And am saddened, now knowing the cause of their actions, and the detriments of mine own.
    This is a harsh burden. I have spent many years seeing the worst in people. And to this day I still do. But I now attempt to latch on to the idea that there is some good in the individual.

  • Thank you for spreading the message of non-violence. I worked in Afghanistan and the Indian slums 8 years ago. We often forget is that most people are just trying to survive and provide for their families/loved ones. Love your work! 

  • We need to change how we respond to the world. WE need to grow up as a species. We are running out of time. Refuse to be violent 

  • Change is becoming a matter of human survival. Continuing to be violent is like using fire to put out fire. I do not believe that we can shoot and bomb each other into lovable states of mind. We can only decide to do this one at a time. We are going to destroy all that we have built if we do not change. We are not just violent toward each other were violent toward the planet as well. Compassion and wisdom are needed the most when we are in the least likely situations to show it. I am a strong and powerful man. I could easy dominate others if I chose to, I chose to do no harm in my words or in my actions. I will not attempt to justify violence and manipulation using fear as a tool. I hear the messages from those whom have probably never been in the military nor suffered from torture and violence, I have! I have the skills and the physical strength to be what I chose to be. I chose peace. 

  • Using fire to put out a fire is only effective when you can actually control who is setting the fires. When we are all setting fires we all burn. If our goal is to burn down everything civilized and sacred just push all the buttons and blow it all up at once. There is an imagined fantasy control that does not exist. Violence simply creates more violence.

  • very very scary watching "TED" talks like this with women who have never experienced conflict other than through a television screen, this woman is so far removed from reality that I am questioning the judgement of TED.

  • Hugh James-Berry says:

    Some people are predators that can't be reasoned with, they see you as a resource, not a human being. I think it's important to be non-violent but never at the cost of becoming a victim

  • I can see this only working in a political means.  Such as the removal of dictatorships. Where truly good and powerful people can change the way thier country is ran.  I just dont see this working on terror groups, gangs, or warlords.  The gangs and warlords are taking what they want through violence and they know it.  Terror groups believe what they are doing is right and if you believe what your doing is right then you wont quit doing it.  So I can see how this can work in some ways but in the long run dealing with bad people who dont want to change this will never work.  Some level of violence will have to be used.

  • The Humble Geometric Figure of Doom says:

    I cant agree more with you Mrs. Elworthy about non violence conflict resolution however you talked a lot about democracy and I have question for you, do you really consider US  a democratic country? Certainly US is a highly developed country, which stands among countries with the highest levels of standard of living. However is US a truly democratic country? Democracy in many of its interpretations at its core means the power of people, e.g. "demos" decides how the country is ruled and controlled, overseeing that everyone's rights are being protected and fulfilled. Which therefore brings us to the next question do people in the US decide how the country is ruled? I don't think so, and I do think that in that manner US is no different to China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or Russia. I am not going to go in detail about  US president elections with its unfair in its very principal of "voting for a selector who will then choose me a president".  These are small details, the big thingy are the rich families. We all know them Morgans, Rockefellers, Bushes, and others. Rockefellers own many natural resources/military almost all of them,  while Morgans were in charge of financial capital of the country as they owned US Federal Reserves.

     This small group of people decides what is best for US society,  not US people or the government.  Since those families are not considered a government bodies means they are not truly bound by laws thus have no real obligations to serve US nation and protect human rights. All their intent is concentrated on pursuing their own interests and well-being. Therefore I do not consider Obama  a president. I don't believe a real president will have time to play computer games or  golf every weekend like Obama does. So we have a nation which doesn't decide anything along side with their puppet government.  So I consider US as  a soft  to its people due to excess of resources like money and capital: dictatorship. Here is a link for a definition of dictatorship: in case you think i twisted the meaning around to serve my evil plots. Blame illuminaties instead.(joke)

    Coming back to your words Mrs. Elworthy, about  dictatorship and how it eventually falls apart. I disagree. Since then how can US spread democracy to other countries while has none in Itself? A Paradox? Very well may be. The biggest issue of violence or nonviolence conflict  resolution techniques which were hardly even covered in detail in your speech,(only the basic explanation and no real implications and advice) are the reasons those are needed in a first place. Every conflict is like a weed plant and so can be killed at its root.  It is nice to hear that US military did some "awesome" tweaking to their collateral damage terminology, however does it mean anything when Terrorist  groups are nicely crafted by the hands of its own government? How non-violence technique works with bullies growing  like mushrooms with help from people behind your shoulder,  who are living in a heaven while still being alive thanks to weaponry sales? I don't think this technique is any useful under those conditions. I agree that violence breeds violence however passivity makes it even worse. Take a visit in some criminal filled regions and act with clarity and calmness and you will get nothing but a mouth full of bullets… or a mouth lacking teeth. Dictatorships are eternal, immortal phenomenon, since when there is a cattle there will always be shepherds. We can only change this by educating ourselves  with knowledge which is not just books about physics and mathematics but really thinking analyzing environment we are living in. However so-called government  and media doing everything they can to  build absurd stereotypes making things which are stupid and shameful be our daily tendencies.

  • Dfdsfsda Ddsfas says:

    anger is like gasoline when you spread it around and someboday lights a match you got an inferno. But anger in an engine is powerful. If we can put our anger inside an engine it can drive us forwards. what a great quote

  • Too many people have become so used to dealing with a violent world that they can't understand why non-violence is the better solution. Such an idea as non-violence is completely foreign to them, so they attack it (with violent verbal insults, of course). This, to me, is all the more reason why we all need it desperately.

  • Non violence should always be used first, however some people you cannot reason with, some people want nothing more then to harm or destroy.  If you cannot read the difference in one person from the other you will be a victim.  If you are not willing to be violent when needed you will be a victim. Id rather hone my skills of reading people and violence before my skills as a reasoner.  I can live with being a thug when needed then being a victim always.

  • With the best of intentions, yet with the deadliest of results. I can't remember a single regime change in modern history that went bloodless, regardless of using Sharp's technology.

  • Okay, I agree sooooo much with what she says.  I love it, really.  BUT … and I don't think I'm being unreasonable here … this seems to me a limited strategy.  Some adversaries will use your non-violence as an opportunity to destroy you.  Only in a moment of confusion, or a in dealing with a faction that cares about the perception of being a bully with this work.  Guys like Hitler and Stalin and their legions of followers will run over you and then ship you off to the camps in a heartbeat.  I know she has only a few minutes and wants to end on a high note, but the question remains, what then? 

    And for the record, I'm a veteran and in my experience our troops have used outreach and compassion more than it's ever been publicized.  For every My Lai and Abu Grahib there are hundreds of instances where a handshake and a smile have saved lives. They're just harder to document and don't get the dramatic attention of an errant drone strike or unstable/ill-prepared soldier.

  • anyone notice the sound she makes when she talks or pauses? it sounds like she's swishing her tongue. rather distracting from the amazing things she's saying

  • The Hungarian revolution was a response to such oppression and tyranny that no American can imagine. The cops were like the Gestapo and KGB. People disappeared in the middle of the night forever just for allegedly speaking their minds in the privacy of their homes. The Hungarian revolution began with a peaceful demonstration where students, factory workers, and intellectuals were mowed down while demonstrating in front of Parliament. Aung San Suu Kyi would have been mowed down, as well as Gandhi and Mandela, like Imre Nargy and many other martyrs were mowed down in Hungary, had they been facing a tyrant regime. Imagine Martin Luther King being gunned down by the police while delivering the "I have a dream" speech.

    People were loaded on cattle carts in Budapest and shipped out to Siberia to death labor camps. My father, a young university professor, never raised a gun, but when he freed one of these trains, the secret police came looking for him and our response to a regime that was a bad as the Nazis, a Stalinist regime, was to flee with bullets flying over our heads. But sometimes one cannot flee and has to deal with predators, as we try in the free western world through the court system.

    The Hungarian revolution was the catalyst for the eventual fall of the iron curtain.

    She still has not answered how to deal with daily bullying. It's not for nothing that so many bullied kids commit suicide. She obviously was not physically abused as a child either.

  • A friend of mine used to say: "Force always works. If it didn`t work with you is just because you didn't use force enought".

  • Thank you so much for this so impartant voice. "Wisdom in action" -this World needs it more and more. Thank you for your dedication to make this World a better place .

  • the space where non-violence can work exists in situations where violent opponents have an internal moral image that runs counter to the violence they feel forced to inflict as the consequences of their worldview [usually a sense of entitlement race or class,nationality etc]. not always going to work… but not always not going to work either…

  • Luciano Freire says:

    Her equation is missing a key element: the growing role of Islam as a worldwide thug, spreading violence and violation of human rights in homes, in streets and in states. No display of non-aggression will stop supremacist authentic muslims from bullying (or beheading) those who they call "infidels".


  • This is an amazing woman and phenomenal lecture. I can't believe people find the sound quality distracting. I didn't even notice it.

  • Sanjit Agnihotri says:

    Money can be a good motivator to draw someone to a far-out but good cause like non-violence.Financial compensation for bullying can be a good way to heal.

  • LoveAndPeaceOccurs says:

    Thank You Scilla Elworthy for overcoming your fear to do this talk. What you say needs to be on repeat throughout our world. It's been 6 years since this video … I'm going to see what you are up to today. Are you aware of "World Beyond War"? Check it out. Love & Peace to All

  • I found that when dealing with violent people or the threat of violence, a useful weapon is forgiveness. A psychological tool that is able to stop the cycle of violence and the spread of evil in it's tracks. If someone is violent , be it physical, mental or emotional violence, offering them the quality of forgiveness releases their power.

  • She asked a question but she never replied!
    What would she do for someone pulled on a knife on her?
    May be she is going to sing " said I loved you but I lied "

  • Incredible talk. An ROTC student took a class in nonviolence to prove them wrong. She now leads a group in nonviolent conflict because its 75% MORE EFFECTIVE to use nonviolenc3

  • It takes great strength to hit back. But it takes a greater and a special breed or courage to take a blow without flinching and not hitting back without having any thoughts of violence and hatred in your mind. Hats of to people like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Au Sung Syu Ki and Nelson Mandela for showing the world the path of non violence.

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