Commentary | I got your non-violent response right here….

Re: “Fight oppression with oppression!” | Letters | February 11

Maybe if you hadn’t been so blinded by your own pacifism, you would’ve been able to catch the deeper philosophical and political point that does, in fact, speak directly to my opinions on violence. And, since it seems you were unable to give me enough credit to seriously take up the challenges that my article represented, I guess I’ll spell it out for you: the violence of an oppressive system is not the same in kind as the violent response to that oppressive system. While the violence of that system aims to deny me my humanity, my violent reaction to that system aims to assert my humanity.

How do you dare to simplify the world into such a naïve dichotomy as violence=inherently bad and non-violence=inherently good? It not only spits on the struggles for liberation that people engage in daily, but it degrades most of the historical and current insurgent movements of oppressed peoples around the world. Worst of all though, that binary is a convention that works to keep us complacent.

When it comes to resistance, violence is definitely not the only tool – in this context or in any others. It is a tool though. And a pretty damn effective one at that. To me, it says, “I refuse to take that shit lying down.” If that’s not powerful, I don’t know what is. 

So: you better check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Lisa Miatello
U4 Women’s Studies
Daily columnist


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