David Johnson, Quaker and peace activist, has spent a couple of years now compiling a nonviolence calendar. For every day of the year, he has found a story of nonviolence that happened on that particular day. With priority going to lesser known stories (there are many of them that we don’t hear about very often! particularly involving women and minorities to whom the recording of history has often been unkind) he has managed to fill all but two days of the year. Each entry has a summary and then the extended story.
November will be available on the Quaker website this November, with the entire thing due out in 2008, but I thought I’d just give a taster he just passed on to me. This is an amazing resource, and I encourage you to seek it out when it is released in its entirety next year.
Thomas Lurting 1632-1713 British naval sailor turned Quaker returns pirates to their homeland Oct 1663.
Thomas Lurting (1632-1713) was pressed into naval service in 1646 aged 14, and fought as a gunner and boatswain. After contact with Quakers on board he (probably 1654) sighted his gun against the enemy, when “the word of the Lord ran through me – what if I had killed a man?”. From that moment he refused to fight. In Oct 1663, ten pirates boarded a merchant ship he was on, and Lurting persuaded the captain and crew not to attack them, and eventually to return them unharmed to their homeland Algiers. His nonviolent response encouraged the pirates to be nonviolent, and they parted the Algiers shoreline as friends. Returning to London a celebrity, Lurting told King Charles II “That I thought it better for them to be in their own Country”.
Elizabeth Fry 1780-1845 Quaker prison and social reformer
Elizabeth Fry (21/5/1780-13/10/1845) was born into a Quaker family, and though a socially active and light-headed in her youth was transformed into a compassionate and tireless worker for the poor and the imprisoned. Initially she found herself fearful and uncertain what to do, but as she followed her leading she was given confidence and courage. Her gift was to bring light and love to all situations. She mixed inspired compassion with hard work and commonsense to became a leading advocate of prison reform, starting her work with women in Newgate prison, London.
Bob Hunter 1945-2005 Nonviolent environmental activist & legendary Greenpeace leader
Bob Hunter (13/10/1945-2/5/2005) was a Canadian environmentalist, journalist, author and politician. A member of the Don’t Make a Wave Committee in 1969 which sailed to Amchitka in 1971, and co-founder of Greenpeace in 1972 with Patrick Moore. Hunter was a long-time campaigner for environmental causes and helped lead successful campaigns to ban commercial whaling and nuclear testing. A highly unconventional individual who pioneered many nonviolent direct actions, such as using zodiac inflatable boats, it has been said “Greenpeace will forever bear the mark of his crazy, super-optimistic faith in the wisdom of tilting at windmills.”