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Violence Breeds Violence

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Hate is a strong emotion and illustrates a person’s disgust towards another person, thing or phenomenon. While it is completely natural to hate something or someone, it is equally dangerous for a human being as it enroots negativity and weakens the capability of that person to accept the fate and he or she loses the sense of continuous struggle. It has been widely acknowledged that it is natural for people to hate but it is seldom discussed that the roots of hatred go all the way down to the personality of that individual that actually starts getting weaker to eventually give in to the external stimuli and hence become violent while treating others.

Violence is amongst the biggest sources of concern in the modern world. The world today has excelled in the fields of science and technology. It has enabled fast traveling in little time and has given mankind the capacity to communicate with each other over long distances. It has however failed to contain the only thing that matters the most, tolerance. As the Gospel of Matthew verse 26:52 states, “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword” (France, 2007), the actions of a person that he or she carries out either in favor of the society at large or against it, comes back at him or her with equal force.

While it may render people in disbelief, it is, in fact, true that violence can never be defeated with violence as the evil that causes the violence to emerge in the first place only grows stronger with the ever increasing intensity of violent behavior and an evenly matched violent behavior to counter it. The world, as known to the mankind, has obtained lessons in a very hard way, but unfortunately, it is not willing to actually learn from these lessons.

Wars have been waged by countries and states on each other since time immemorial but never once has any war been able to solve a problem facing the mankind. Consequently, things have only been changed for the worse by wars and violence that has been continuously on the rise since the past century in particular. The two major world wars have left millions of people dead all over the world who were almost exclusively irrelevant in the main purpose behind these wars; power.

There are few people who are known to have struggled as much as Martin Luther King did. He rose above the comfort of his own life and stood up against the hardships that the colored people of the United States were made to bear just because of the color of their skin. Had he walked the path of violence he would have never succeeded. Martin Luther King believed that because the white people of the United States had been mentally put into a state of through that, they did not accept the equality of the colored people with them and believed that they were inferior.

Many hardcore racists of the United States even carried out violent assaults against the African Americans. Many African Americans had to lose their lives while being innocent. This happened sometimes by the hand of the police and sometimes just angry mobs who judged the colored being non-worthy of living. Yet, violent lash back by the African Americans could have only made things worse, and Martin Luther King knew that well.

He quoted “Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love. Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man but to win his friendship and understanding” (Hynes, 1992). This tells about how strongly Martin Luther King felt about answering violence with violence.

It is evident from the ground realities spread all around the world in which there is much unrest, and agitation in various areas of the world that people who demand freedom of practice, freedom of thought, freedom of expression, etc., cannot be snubbed through force and the matters only grow worse. The world as known to mankind is a witness, and it has been seen in recent history that peaceful protests about a cause were turned violent, life-threatening and devastating. Small ideological beliefs were boosted to take the shape of fierce movements when dealt with force and attempted to be taken out through brute strength.

On multiple occasions, Martin Luther King described his views about what the behavior of the African American people should be with the white people of the United States. He tried to preach the message of peace moral response to the violent behavior of the adversaries. He firmly believed that if he responded on the same level as his adversaries, he would not be doing any better.

He said “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy, instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence, you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence, you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate” (Hynes, 1992). The powerful sections of the society now a day are those that are able to deal with their counterparties with a force that threatens their well-being rather than relying on their logic and value of knowledge. This is not sustainable because while the balance of power may be in favor of one at this time, at another it may be in with another.

The best example for this is that of the race for global dominance and while at one stage one particular country may be viewed as wholly and solely the super power bearing the ability to dictate the behavior of all other states, time comes where there emerge other power centers who hit the former back with an evenly harsh response. The violence that the world faces today comes in many different forms and not necessarily has to be related with chaos and bloodshed. The conflict resolution between the powers of the world while once used to be a face to face confrontation in battlefields has now progressed to infiltrate several walks of life. As the time has progressed, violence has found its way into the best reputed and the noblest of fields like academic and journalism. Conflicting parties commonly engage with each other by violently abusing each other’s rights and reputation over mass media casting aside all the norms and manners that once used to be their hallmark.

King (1957) mentioned in one of his manuscripts that “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” It was at that time when the element of intolerance and violence had started to infiltrate the mass media. What may be commonly observable to a keen eye is the fact that while a seemingly small idea may be crushed with the use of brute force, the idea does not die with the man that has been hunted down, it transforms into a much bigger ideology with an increased number of sympathizers and followers.

It is for this reason that whenever governments and powers around the world use force to dismantle movements and to arrest or hurt people, they backlash with an even greater force. The people who get affected either directly or indirectly by the violent remedial measure tend to develop an even firmer belief on what they stand for. The idea behind fighting violence with non-violence advocates that the side that does not use violence is the one that is in fact on the right path and would ultimately be victorious. While the short-term tilt of strength may be in favor of the side that uses violence, over the long run only the side that has the better narrative earns respect.

It is yet another famous quote of Martin Luther King that comprehensively covers the idea that how longsighted one ought to be in order to believe in fighting violence with love, he said “We believe in law and order. We are not advocating violence. We want to love our enemies. If I am stopped, our work will not stop, for what we are doing is right” (Washington State University, 2017).

Patience may be described here as they key practice in the reduction of violence from this world and making it a more livable place than what it has become. While the people who advocate or practice violence may seemingly be putting the entire mankind in harm’s way, it is most effective to still treat them with love so that they may know over the passage of time that their ways are ineffective against the only effective tool of engagement in the world, tolerance.

The only promising thing however in the present day and age is that the people that most idealize are the ones that are known particularly for their patience, tolerance, and endurance as compared to the ones that are particularly known for their short temper, short-sightedness and quick, abrupt reaction to stimuli in a violent manner. This gives a picture of how the people are still willing to believe in good, and there is still hope left in mankind that the ever-worsening situation of the globe with respect to mutual respect, understanding, and rationality may start to improve.

It is the need of the hour hence to promote the mindset amongst the masses that they must learn to live harmoniously by understanding the problems that lead to violence and to find ways of addressing those problems at their root rather than getting played by the manipulators and starting to make things worse by responding violence with violence. Even if someone or a group of people does carry views that are strictly contrasting, they too need to be treated and confronted with literacy and logic rather than violence as it only adds fuel to the fire.



Famous Quotes | Martin Luther King Program at WSU. (2017). Retrieved 6 May 2017, from
France, R. T. (2007). The gospel of Matthew. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.
Hynes, C. J. (1992). The urban criminal justice system can be fair. Fordham Urb. LJ, 20, 419.
King Jr, M. L. (1957). Loving your enemies. The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr, 4, 315-24.