Internationally, when a response is needed to civil wars or armed conflict, we generally turn to governments, militaries and police rather than to ordinary citizens. After all, expecting unarmed people to look down the barrel of a gun to stop bloodshed sounds pretty unrealistic. Yet millions of ordinary people are doing just that: using human dignity, culture, humour and, above all, courage to prevent conflict both within and between their peoples and countries. Their nonviolent actions have become a powerful means of resolving conflict, some say surpassing the utility of both conventional and guerrilla war. This month, the *NI* challenges the need for violence by examining the effectiveness of nonviolence.
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