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  • I'm so delighted to be able to see you.

  • In half a century of trying to help prevent wars,

  • there's one question that never leaves me:

  • how do we deal with extreme violence

  • without using force in return?

  • When you're faced with brutality,

  • whether it's a child facing a bully in the playground,

  • or domestic violence,

  • or on the streets of Syria today facing tanks and shrapnel,

  • what's the most effective thing to do?

  • Fight back?

  • Give in?

  • Use more force?

  • This question, "How do I deal with a bully

  • without becoming a thug in return?",

  • has been with me ever since I was a child.

  • I remember I was about thirteen,

  • glued to a grainy, black and white television

  • in my parents' living room,

  • as soviet tanks rolled into Budapest.

  • And kids not much older than me

  • were throwing themselves at the tanks

  • and getting mown down.

  • And I rushed upstairs and started packing my suitcase,

  • and my mother came up and said, "What on earth are you doing?"

  • And I said, "I'm going to Budapest."

  • And she said, "What on earth for?" And I said, "Kids are getting killed.

  • There's something terrible happening."

  • And she said, "Don't be so silly."

  • And I started to cry.

  • And she got it and she said, "OK, I see it's serious.

  • You're much too young to help. You need training.

  • I'll help you, but just don't pack your suitcase."

  • (Laughter)

  • And so, I got some training,

  • and went and worked in Africa during most of my twenties.

  • But I realized that what I really needed to know

  • I couldn't get from training courses.

  • I wanted to understand how violence,

  • how oppression works.

  • And what I've discovered since is this:

  • Bullies use violence in three ways.

  • They use political violence to intimidate,

  • physical violence to terrorize,

  • and mental or emotional violence to undermine.

  • And only very rarely, in very few cases,

  • does it work to use more violence.

  • Nelson Mandela went to jail believing in violence.

  • And twenty seven years later,

  • he and his colleagues had slowly and carefully honed the skills,

  • the incredible skills that they needed

  • to turn one of the most vicious governments the world has known

  • into a democracy.

  • And they did it in a total devotion to non-violence.

  • They realized that using force against force

  • doesn't work.

  • So, what does work?

  • Over time, I've collected about half dozen methods

  • that do work -- of course there are many more --

  • that do work and that are effective.

  • And the first is that the change that has to take place

  • has to take place here, inside me.

  • It's my response, my attitude to oppression

  • that I've got control over,

  • that I can do something about.

  • And what I need to develop

  • is self-knowledge to do that.

  • That means I need to know how I tick,

  • when I collapse,

  • where my formidable points are,

  • where my weaker points are.

  • When do I give in?

  • What will I stand up for?

  • And meditation, or self-inspection, is one of the ways --

  • it's not the only one --

  • one of the ways of gaining this kind of inner power.

  • And my heroine here, like Satish,

  • is Aung San Suu Kyi, in Burma.

  • She was leading a group of students

  • on a protest, in the streets of Rangoon.

  • They came around a corner,

  • faced with a row of machine guns.

  • And she realized straight away

  • that the soldiers, with their fingers shaking on the triggers,

  • were more scared than the student protesters behind her.

  • But she told the students to sit down,

  • and she walked forward,

  • with such calm and such clarity

  • and such total lack of fear

  • that she could walk right up to the first gun,

  • put her hand on it and lower it.

  • And no one got killed.

  • So, that's what the mastery of fear can do,

  • not only faced with machine guns,

  • but if you meet a knife fight in the street.

  • But we have to practice.

  • So, what about our fear?

  • I have a little mantra.

  • "My fear grows fat

  • on the energy I feed it.

  • And if it grows very big,

  • it probably happens."

  • So, we all know that 3-o'clock-in-the-morning syndrome,

  • when something you've been worrying about wakes you up.

  • I see a lot of people.

  • And, for an hour, you toss and turn, it gets worse and worse,

  • and, by 4 o'clock, you're pinned to the pillow

  • by a monster this big.

  • The only thing to do is to get up, make a cup of tea

  • and sit down with the fear, like a child beside you.

  • You're the adult.

  • The fear is the child and you talk to the fear

  • and you ask it what it wants, what it needs.

  • How can this be made better?

  • How can the child feel stronger?

  • And you make a plan and you say,

  • "OK, now we're going back to sleep.

  • At half past seven, we're getting up. That's what we're going to do."

  • I had one of these 3-a.m. episodes on Sunday,

  • paralyzed with fear of coming to talk to you.

  • (Laughter)

  • So, I did the thing.

  • I got up, made the cup of tea,

  • sat down with a digital,

  • and I'm here.

  • Still partly paralyzed, but I'm here.

  • (Applause)

  • So, that's fear.

  • What about anger?

  • Wherever there's injustice there's anger.

  • But anger is like gasoline.

  • And if you spray it around,

  • and somebody lights a match,

  • you've got an inferno.

  • But anger as an engine, in an engine, is powerful.

  • If we can put our anger inside an engine,

  • it can drive us forward,

  • it can get us through the dreadful moments,

  • and it can give us real inner power.

  • And I learned this in my work with nuclear weapon policy-makers,

  • because, at the beginning, I was so outraged

  • at the dangers they were exposing us to

  • that I just wanted to argue,

  • and blame, and make them wrong.

  • Totally ineffective.

  • In order to develop a dialogue for change,

  • we have to deal with our anger.

  • It's OK to be angry with the thing,

  • the nuclear weapons, in this case.

  • But it is hopeless to be angry with the people.

  • They are human beings just like us,

  • and they are doing what they think is best,

  • and that's the basis on which we have to talk with them.

  • So, that's the third one. Anger.

  • And it brings me to the crux of what's going on,

  • or what I perceive is going on in the world today,

  • which is that last century was top-down power.

  • It was still governments telling people what to do.

  • This century, there's a shift.

  • It's bottom-up, or grass-roots power.

  • It's like mushrooms coming through concrete.

  • It's people joining up with people --

  • as Bandi just said -- miles away,

  • to bring about change.

  • And Peace Direct spotted quite early on

  • that local people, in areas of very hot conflict,

  • know what to do.

  • They know best what to do.

  • So, Peace Direct gets behind them to do that.

  • And the kind of thing they're doing is demobilizing militias,

  • rebuilding economies,

  • resettling refugees,

  • even liberating child soldiers.

  • And they have to risk their lives almost everyday to do this.

  • And what they realized

  • is that using violence in the situations they operate in

  • is not only less humane,

  • but it's less effective

  • than using methods that connect people with people,

  • that rebuild.

  • And I think that the US military

  • is finally beginning to get this.

  • Up to now, their counter-terrorism policy

  • has been to kill insurgents at almost any cost.

  • And if civilians get in the way,

  • that's written as "collateral damage".

  • And this is so infuriating

  • and humiliating for the population of Afghanistan

  • that it makes recruitment for Al Qaeda very easy

  • when people are so disgusted by, for example,

  • the burning of the Qur'an.

  • So, the training of the troops has to change,

  • and I think there are signs that it is beginning to change.

  • The British military would have been much better at this,

  • but there is one magnificent example

  • for them to take their cue from,

  • and that's a brilliant US left-tenant colonel called Chris Hughes.

  • And he was leading his men

  • down the streets of Nadjaf,

  • in Iraq, actually.

  • And, suddenly, people were pouring out of the houses,

  • on either side of the road,

  • screaming, yelling, furiously angry,

  • and surrounded these very young troops

  • who were completely terrified,

  • didn't know what was going on, couldn't speak Arabic.

  • And Chris Hughes strode into the middle of the throng

  • with his weapon above his head,

  • pointing at the ground,

  • and he said, "Kneel!".

  • And these huge soldiers, with their backpacks

  • and their body armour,

  • wobbled to the ground.

  • And complete silence fell.

  • And after about two minutes,

  • everybody moved aside and went home.

  • Now, that to me is wisdom in action.

  • In the moment, that's what he did.

  • And it's happening everywhere now.

  • You don't believe me?

  • Have you asked yourselves

  • why and how so many dictatorships

  • have collapsed over the last thirty years?

  • Dictatorships in Czechoslovakia,

  • East Germany, Estonia, Latvia,

  • Lithuania, Mali, Madagascar,

  • Poland, the Philippines, Serbia, Slovenia...

  • I could go on -- and now Tunisia and Egypt.

  • And this hasn't just happened, you know.

  • A lot of it is due to a book

  • written by an eighty-year-old man in Boston, Gene Sharp.

  • He wrote a book called "From Dictatorship to Democracy",

  • with 81 methodologies for non-violent resistance.

  • And it's been translated into 26 languages,

  • it's flown around the world,

  • and it's being used by young people

  • and older people everywhere.

  • Because it works. It's effective.

  • So, this is what gives me hope. Not just hope.

  • This is what makes me feel very positive right now,

  • because, finally, human beings are getting it.

  • We're getting...

  • practical, doable methodologies

  • to answer my question,

  • "How do we deal with a bully, without becoming a thug?"

  • We're using the kind of skills that I've outlined.

  • Inner power, development of inner power through self-knowledge.

  • Recognizing and working with our fear.

  • Using anger as a fuel.

  • Cooperating with others.

  • Banding together with others.

  • Courage.