October 2, 2022 — The Alliance for Shared Values (AFSV) joins the United Nations and 140 nations in celebrating the International Day of Non-Violence. We celebrate the day on the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, a pioneer of non-violent philosophy who believed that “non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind.” As Hizmet participants, we are committed to contributing to a world where people live in peace and harmony and use dialogue, not violence, to resolve conflict.
As we celebrate this day, hundreds of thousands of movement participants suffer in the hands of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose disregard for human rights and international law has only worsened in recent years. In 2021, Erdogan withdrew Turkey from the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence. Since then, gender-based violence has been on the rise. His autocratic regime has used violence to dismantle the nation’s democracy and unjustly imprison his perceived opponents. Hizmet participants in Turkey remain dedicated to non-violence today in the face of Erdogan’s oppression and disregard for human rights.
In the 1960s, Fethullah Gülen, the inspiration for Hizmet, first organized educational initiatives aimed to protect children and teenagers from politically motivated violence and provide safe learning environments where they can learn to understand each other, develop empathy and mutual respect. Today, around the world, participants continue to provide safe learning environments to youth and organize dialogue and civic engagement activities among diverse groups of people with the end goal of establishing societal peace and acceptance.
This year’s International Day of Non-Violence serves as a reminder that we must reinvigorate our efforts to nurture individuals committed to peace and human fraternity.
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