Wise Words for Human Rights Activists

African Proverb:

“The world was not left to us by our parents; it was lent to us by our children.”

Saul Alinsky:

“We must believe that it is the darkest before the dawn of a beautiful new world. We will see it when we believe it.”

“Tactics mean doing what you can with what you have.”

Maya Angelou:

“Ask for what you want & be prepared to get it.”

Anonymous:

“Don’t start vast projects with half-vast plans.”

Susan B. Anthony (feminist pioneer):

“No man is good enough to govern any woman without her consent.”

“Men, their rights & nothing more. Women, their rights & nothing less.”

“Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations…can never effect a reform”

“I think (the bicycle) has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world… It gives her a feeling of self-reliance & independence the moment she takes her seat; & away she goes, the picture of untrammeled womanhood.”

“If all the rich & all the church people should send their children to the public schools, they would feel bound to concentrate their money on improving these schools until they met the highest ideals.”

“I shall earnestly & persistently continue to urge all women to the practical recognition of the old revolutionary maxim: resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.”

“One woman can change anything. Many women can change everything.”

Matthew Arnold:

“If ever the world sees a time when women shall come together purely & simply for the benefit of mankind, it would be a power such as the world has never known.”

Aung San Suu Kyi (Burmese political leader):

“It is not power that corrupts, but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it; fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”

Babylonian Talmud:

Dawn is “when you can look into the face of every man & woman & see there the face of your brother & sister.”

Harry Belafonte:

“You can cage the singer, but not the song.”

Yogi Berra:

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’re gonna get what you always got.”

Philip Berrigan:

“Nonviolence is no mystery. It is loving our neighbor as ourselves… justice. Its vocabulary has no word like enemy. Only sisters & brothers. Nonviolence builds & deepens relationships — to God, neighbor, self, creation.”

Hebé de Bonafini (Argentine founder, Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo):

“A nosotras no nos interesa el poder; nos interesa la fuerza.” (We are not concerned with power; we are concerned with strength.”

Dietrich Bonnhoefer:

“Not to speak is to speak…not to act is to act.”

“Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.”

Chester Bowles (diplomat):

“Government is too big and too important to be left to the politicians.”

Heywood Broun (journalist):

“An open mind is a great idea,; but if you make it your primary aim in life, what you’ll end up with will more resemble a cave of winds.”

Edmund Burke (18th-c. English politician & essayist):

“Toleration is good for all, or it is good for none.”

Lord Byron (19th-c. English poet):

“Opinions are made to be changed – or how is tdruth to be got at?”

President Jimmy Carter:

“America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense, it is the other way around. Human rights invented America.”

Pablo Casals:

“The love of one’s country is a splendid thing; but why should love stop at the border?”

Cesar Chávez:

“From the depths of need & despair people can work together, can organize themselves to solve their own problems, & fill their own needs with dignity and strength.”

Noam Chomsky:

“Freedom is what we make of it. If we stand against repression, authority & illegitimate structures, we are expanding the domain of freedom & that’s what freedom will be.”

Henry Clay:

“An oppressed people are authorized, whenever they can, to rise & break their fetters.”

Rev. William Sloane Coffin Jr.:

“Hope arouses, as nothing else can arouse, a passion for the possible.”

“The cause of violence is not ignorance. It is self-interest. Only reverence can restrain violence — reverence for human life, & for the environment.”

Lauren Crux (performance artist):

“Underneath it all should be compassion. Life is hard. We need each other.”

Dalai Lama:

“My religion is simple: my religion is kindness.”

Clarence Darrow:

“From the beginning, a procession of the poor, the weak, the unfit, have gone through our jails & prisons & to their deaths…. Crime & poverty & ignorance have always gone hand in hand. When our lawmakers realize this, they will stop legislating more punishment & go after the causes.”

Charles Darwin :

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

Clarence Darrow:

“As long as the world shall last, there will be wrongs; & if no man objected & no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever.”

Dorothy Day (Catholic radical):

“I’m working toward a world in which it would be easier for people to behave decently.”

Dave Dellinger (peace activist):

“Very few people chose war. They chose selfishness, & the result was war. Each of us, individually & nationally, must choose. Total love, or total war.”

John Dewey (philosopher of education):

“No man & no mind was ever emancipated merely by being left alone.”

John Donne (17th-c. English poet):

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent… any man’s death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind.”

John Dos Passos (novelist):

“The creation of a world view is the work of a generation rather than of an individual; biut we each of us, for better or worse, add our bricks to the edifice.”

Frederick Douglass:

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

“Those who profess to favor freedom, yet depreciate agitation, want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder & lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.

W.E.B. Dubois:

“The theory of democratic government is not that the will of the people is always right, but rather that normal human beings of average intelligence, if given a chance, learn the right & best course bybitter experience.”

Barrows Dunham (political philosopher):

“The human race, which abolished slavery & serfdom, which learned & practiced political democracy, cannot be eternally thwarted of control over its entire social destiny.”

Marian Wright Edelman (child welfare activist):

“A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther K

ng Jr. or Mahatma Gandhi to come back; but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you.”

Albert Einstein:

“Peace cannot be achieved through violence; it can only be attained through understanding.”

“Not everything that counts can be counted; & not everything that can be counted, counts.”

“Nothing will benefit human health & increase the chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

“You cannot simultaneously prevent & prepare for war.”

“I am not only a pacifist but a militant pacifist. I am willing to fight for peace. Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war.”

“No problem can be solved from the consciousness that created it. We must learn to see the world anew.”

“It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs.”

President Dwight D. Eisenhower (in 1956):

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger & are not fed, those who are cold & are not clothed.”

“I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, one who has seen its brutility, its futility, its stupidity.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“What is man born for but to be a Reformer, a Re-maker of what man has made, a renouncer of lies; a restorer of truth and good…”

Anne Frank:

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

Thomas Frank (American journalist):

“People getting their fundamental interests wrong is what American political life is all about.”

Paulo Freire (Brazilian theorist of adult education):

“Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful & the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.”

“The trust of the people in the leaders reflects the confidence of the leaders in the people.”

John Kenneth Galbraith:

“The complaints of the privileged are too often confused with the voice of the masses.”

Mohandas K. Gandhi:

“An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.”

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

“The difference between what we do & what we are capable of could solve most of the world’s problems.”

“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken & the wisest might err.”

“My patriotism is not an exclusive thing; it is all-embracing. I should reject that patriotism which sought to mount upon the distress or the exploitation of other nations. Mine is consistent with the broadest good of humanity at large.”

Martha Gellhorn (journalist, in 1959):

“By its existence the Peace Movement denies that government knows best. It stands for a different order of priorities: the human race comes first.”

Susan George (anti-poverty activist)):

“When the economy becomes disembodied from society, it can only lead to disaster.”

Andre Gide:

“The world will be saved, if it can be, only by the unsubmissive.”

Ronnie Gilbert (singer & writer):

“I pledge allegiance to the health of the United World of the Universe, & to the Earth on which we stand. One planet, born of love, indivisible, with Rights & Responsibilities for all.”

Emma Goldman:

“The greatest bulwark of capitalism is militarism.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be & you help them to become what they are capable of being.”

“I’ve never heard a crime described that I cannot imagine myself committing.”

Al Gore:

“We Americans write our own history. And the chapters of which we’re proudest are the ones where we had the courage to change.”

William Greider (journalist):

“Everyone’s values are defined by what they will tolerate when it is done to others”

Che Guevara:

“Be capable always of feeling any injustice committed against anyone, anywhere in the world.”

Woody Guthrie:

“There is just one way to save yourself, & that’s to get together & work & fight for everybody.”

“I don’t want to make kidsmore like grown-ups; I want to make grown-ups more like kids.”

Hendrix, Jimi:

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

Rabbi Abraham Heschel (civil rights activist):

“In regard to cruelties committed in the name of a free society, some are guilty, while all are responsible.”

“Each has power, & words do not fade; what begins as a sound, ends as a deed.”

Ammon Hennacy (Catholic anarchist):

“Love without courage & wisdom is sentimentality, as with the ordinary church member. Courage without love & wisdom is foolhardiness, as with the ordinary soldier. Wisdom without love & courage is cowardice, as with the ordinary intellectual.”

John Andrew Holmes:

“Speech lies halfway between thought & action, & often substitutes for both.”

Julia Ward Howe:

“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies.”

Langston Hughes:

“O, let America be America again. The land that never has been yet, and yet must be.”

Victor Hugo:

“People do not lack strength; they lack will.”

“He who opens a school door closes a prison.”

William James (in 1902):

“What we now need to discover in the social realm is the moral equivalent of war: something heroic that will speak to men as universally as war does, & yet will be as compatible with their spiritual selves as war has proven itself to be incompatible.”

President Thomas Jefferson:

“I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.”

“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”

“Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.”

“People who expect to be ignorant & free expect what never was & never will be.”

Kyle Johnson (bumper sticker entrepreneur):

“I believe in the First Amendment. The best antidote to bad speech is more speech.”

Mother” Jones (early 20th-C. labor organizer:

“Pray for the dead, & fight like Hell for the living.”

“I have never had a vote; & I have raised Hell all over this country. You don’t need a vote to raise Hell. You need convictions & a voice.”

“Some day the workers will take possession of your city hall, & when we do, no child will be sacrificed on the altar of profit!”

“Whatever your fight, don’t be ladylike.”

Garret Keizer:

“When you take political awareness away from a political animal, what you’re often left with is an animal — that is to say, with a creature having no convictions, only aversions.”

Helen Keller:

“All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.

“It is hard to interest those who everything in those who have nothing.”

“I long to accomplish a great & noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great & noble.”

“I seldom think about my limitations; & they never make me sad. Perhaps there is just a touch of yearning at times; but it is vague, like a breeze among flowers.”

“I do not want the peace that passeth understanding. I want the understanding which bringeth peace.”

“It is a terrible thing to see & have no vision.”

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything; but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”

“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into light.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy:

“The right to think is the beginning of freedom; the right to speak is the beginning of thought.”

President John Kennedy:

“Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.”

“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived & dishonest – but the myth –persistent, persuasive & unrealistic.”

Robert Kennedy:

“Each time a person stands up for an idea, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.”

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

”A time comes when silence is betrayal.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“Love is the most durable power in the world. This creative force…is the most potent instrument available in man’s quest for peace & security.”

“Nonviolence is a powerful & just weapon which cuts without wounding, & ennobles the person who wields it. It is a sword that heals.”

“Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of justice.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”

“We must accept finite disappointment; but we must never lose infinite hope.”

“Freedom is never given by the oppressor: it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

“We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation.”

“The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government… For the sake of humanity, I cannot be silent!”

“The thunder of fearless voices is the only sound louder than the burst of bombs & the outbursts of war hysteria.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“Anyone can be great, because everyone can serve.”

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifce, suffering & struggle; the tireless exertions & passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

“For years I labored with the idea of reforming the existing institutions of the society, a little change here, a little change there. Now I feel quite differently. I think you’ve got to have a reconstruction of the entire society, a revolution of values.”

Maggie Kuhn (founder, Gray Panthers):

“Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.”

Milan Kundera (Czech novelist):

“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”

Saul Landau (journalist & film-maker):

“US policy towards the Third World since World War II can be summed up in two words: ‘kill peasants’.”

Sinclair Lewis:

“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag & carrying a cross.”

President Abraham Lincoln:

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me & causes me to tremble for the safety of my country… Corporations have been enthroned & an era of corruption in high places will follow, & the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”

“In giving freedom to the slave we assure freedom to the free.”

“Such will be a great lesson of peace; teaching men that what they cannot take by an election, neither can they take it by war.”

H.P. Lovecraft:

“The oldest & strongest emotion of mankind is fear, & the oldestd & strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”

President James Madison:

“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, & a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives. A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce, a tragedy or both.”

“I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual & silent encroachments of those in power than by violent & sudden usurpations.”

“If Tyranny & Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”

Bob Marley:

“This peace work, it don’t stop. It never stop.”

Ignacio Martín-Baró, SJ (Liberation psychologist martyred in El Salvador):

“A society that becomes accustomed to using violence to solve its problems, both large & small, is a society in which the roots of human relations are diseased.”

Margaret Mead:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

“Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everyone else.”

“We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment.”

Edwin Markham (poet):

“He drew a circle that shut me out —. Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout. But Love & I had the wit to win: We drew a circle that took him in!”

Marshall McLuhan:

“A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight & understanding.”

H.L. Mencken:

“The whole scheme of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

”Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on ‘I am not too sure’.”

Thomas Merton:

“When I pray for peace, I pray not only that the enemies of my own country may cease to want war, but above all that my own country will cease to do the things that make war inevitable.”

John Milton (17th-c. English poet):

“Peace hath her victories/No less reknowned than war.”

“Men of most renowned firtue have sometimes by transgressing most truly kept the law.”

Jessica Mitford:

“You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty.”

Michele de Montaigne (16th-c. French essayist:

“Men are most apt to believe what they least understand.”

Michael Moore (in 2001):

“It’s not about weapons of mass destruction; it’s about weapons of mass distraction.”

Lucretia Mott (feminist pioneer”:

“We too often bind ourselves by authorities, rather than by the truth.”

Sen. Daniel Moynihan:

“Secrecy is a form of regulation.”

Munir Said Thalib (Indonesian human rights activist):

“Human rights in the sense of human solidarity has created a new universal and equal language, going beyond racial, ethnic, gender or religious boundaries. That is why we consider it a doorway to dialogue for people of all socioeconomic groups and all ideologies.”

Justice Frank Murphy:

“Only by zealously guarding the rights of the most humble, the most unorthodox & the most despised among us, can freedom flourish & endure in our land.”

Benito Mussolini:

“Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state & corporate power.”

A.J. Muste:

“The problem after a war is with the victor. He thinks he has just proved that war & violence pay. Who now will teach him a lesson?”

“In a world built by violence, one must be a revolutionary before one can be a pacifist.”

“We cannot have peace if we are only concerned with peace. War is not an accident. It is the logical outcome of a certain way of life. To attack war, we have to attack that way of life.”

Ralph Nader:

“The unconstrained behavior of big business is subordinating our democracy to the control of a corporate plutocracy, one that knows few self-imposed limits to the spread of its power to all sectors of our society.”

Jayaprakash Narayan (Indian political leader):

“I have no doubt that the humane treatment even of a murderer will enhance man’s dignity, & make society more human.”

Wally Nelson (WW II conscientious objector):

“Nonviolence is a constant awareness of the dignity & humanity of oneself & others. It seeks truth & justice. It renounces violence in both method & attitude. It views active love & goodwill as the instruments with which to overcome evil, & transform both oneself & others. It is willing to undergo suffering rather than inflict it; & it excludes retaliation & flight.”

Pablo Neruda:

“They can cut all the flowers, but they cannot stop the coming of Spring.”

Carl Oglesby (SDA leader, 1960’s):

“It isn’t the rebels who cause the troubles of the world; it’s the troubles that cause the rebels.”

Paul Ortiz (historian & activist):

“Individuals in the modern world cannot survive with dignity unless we learn to cooperate with others in formal organizations.”

George Orwell (in 1984):

“All that was required of them was a primitive patriotism which could be appealed to when necessary to make them accept longer working hours or shorter rations. Even when they became discontented, as they sometimes did, their discontent led nowhere, because being without general ideas, they could focus only on petty specific grievances. The larger evils invariably escaped their notice.”

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

Ruth Ozeki:

“Ignorance is an act of will, a choice one makes over & over again, especially when information overwhelms & knowledge has become synonymous with impotence.”

Thomas Paine:

“My country is the world; & my religion is to do good.”

“It is the duty of a patriot to defend his country from its government.”

Michael Parenti (radical scholar & activist):

“In the world wrought by American empire, known euphemistically nowadays as ‘globalization,’ the practice of democracy is class struggle. Democracy everywhere is under siege by plutocracy.”

“There’s only one thing the ruling interests have ever wanted, and that’s everything.”

Wendell Phillips (19 abolitionist):

“Responsibility educates.”

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Power is ever stealing from the many to the few.”

“Law is nothing, unless close behind stands a warm public opinion.”

“If there is anything in the Universe that can’t stand discussion, let it crack.”

Pliny the Elder (Roman historian):

“Small boys throw stones at frogs in jest; but the frogs do not die in jest, they die in earnest.”

Joseph Pulitzer:

“A cynical, mercenary, demagogioc press will produce in time a people as base as itself.”

Ras Bassa Rajah (Jamaican theologian):

“The materialist philosophy teaches man to grab for ‘self’ & family at the expense of others, destroying those seem to be obstacles to the fulfillment of selfish desires. Man even makes his inverted Gods condone this barbarity. Such is the state our ignorance & cruelty that we are now on the brink of annihilating ourselves & the planet on which we dwell.”

Rep. Jeannette Rankin (first American Congresswoman, 1943):

“You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.”

PresidentRonald Reagan:

“People don’t start wars. Governments do.”

Mary Roberts Rinehart (American journalist, 1918):

“Peace is not a passive but an active condition, not a negation but an affirmation. It is a gesture as strong as war.”

Eleanor Roosevelt:

“It isn’t enough to talk about peace; one must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it; one must work at it.”

“When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?”

“Either we are going to die together, or we are going to learn to live together. And if we are going to live together, we have to talk.”

“In the long run there is no more liberating, no more exhilarating experience than to determine one’s position, state it bravely, & then act boldly.”

“Surely, in the light of history, it is more intelligent to hope rather than to fear, try rather than not to try. For one thing we know beyond all doubt: nothing has ever been achieved by the person who says, ‘It can’t be done’.”

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt:

“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

(to Daughters of the American Revolution, 1939): “Remember, remember always, that all all of us…are descended from immigrants & revolutionists.”

President Theodore Roosevelt:

“A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues.

“Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance, & acknowledging no responsibility, to the people.”

“Believe you can, & you’re halfway there.”

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

“Far & away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

“It is essential that there should be organization of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes & therefore labor must organize.”

Fred Ross Sr.:

The duty of an organizer is to provide people with an opportunity to work for what they believe in.”

Arundhati Roy:

“The only thing worth globalizing is dissent.”

Saadi (13th-c. Persian poet):

“The human race is a single being created from one jewel. If one member is struck, all must feel the blow. Only someone who cares for the pain of others can truly be called human.”

Carl Sandburg:

“Sometime they’ll give a war & nobody will come.”

Jean-Paul Sartre (French Existentialist philosopher):

“If a victory is told in detail, one can no longer distinguish it from a defeat.”

“The task of the intellectual is not to decide where there are battles but to join them wherever & whenever the people wage them. Commitment is an act, not a word.”

Carl Schurz (19th-c. German immigrant soldier & politician):

“Our country, right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right.”

“If you want to be free, there is but one way. It is to guarantee an equally full measure of liberty to all your neighbors.”

Albert Schweitzer (Swiss medical missionary & biblical scholar):

“It is not right to be permanently preoccupied with our own well-being; the welfare of others and of human society in general must become part of our responsibility.”

“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.”

“Until he extends his circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.”

Chief Seattle (Native American prophet):

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”

Sam Shepard (actor):

“It never occurred to me that patriotism had to be advertised. Patriotism (was) deeply felt. You didn’wear it on your lapel or show it in your window or on a bumper sticker.”

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (pioneer feminist):

“Truth is the only safe ground to stand on.”

Gertrude Stein (poet):

“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.”

“Truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.”

Gino Strada (Italian doctor working in Afghanistan):

“If your human rights are not for everybody, they are not rights; they are just privileges”

Tacitus (Roman Historian):

“To plunder, to slaughter, to steal: these things they misname empire, and where they create a wilderness they call it peace.

Kurt Tucholsky (German journalist):

“A country is not only what it does—it is also what it puts up with, what it tolerates.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

“If peace is our goal, there can be no future without foregiveness.”

Mark Twain:

“Loyalty to a petrified opinion never broke a chain or freed a human soul.”

“No civilization can be perfect until exact equality between man & woman is included.”

“Loyalty to my country, always; loyalty to the government, when it deserves it.”

Morihei Ueshiba (founder of Aikido):

“Always practice the Art of Peace in a vibrant & joyful manner.”

Peter Ustinov (British actor & playwright):

“Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich.”

François Voltaire (18th-c. French Enlightenment writer):

“Those who can convince us to believe absurdities can convince us to commit atrocities.”

Alice Walker:

“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.”

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

Victor Wallis (American journalist, on Mumia Abu-Jamal):

“Advocacy of capital punishment & opposition to even the barest measures of social improvement have always gone hand in hand. Institutionalized killing perpetuates the culture of meanness which competitive priorities demand.”

Andy Warhol:

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”

Justice Earl Warren:

“Life & liberty can be as much engered from illegal methods used to convict those thought to be criminals as from the actual criminals themselves.”

President George Washington:

“It is now no more that tolerance is spoken of, as if it were by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights.”

“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”

H.G. Wells:

“Human history becomes more & more a race between education & catastrophe.”

Sen. Paul Wellstone:

“Never separate the lives you live from the words you speak.”

Eudora Welty:

“My continuing passion is to part the curtain, that invisible shadow that falls between people, the veil of indifference to each other’s presence, each other’s wonder, each other’s human plight.”

William Allen White:

“Liberty is the only thing you cannot have unless you are willing to give it to others.”

Tennessee Williams;

“The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.”

Terry Tempest Williams:

“It’s not the lips of a prince that will save us, but our own lips speaking.”

“In a voiced community, we all flourish.”

Pesident Woodrow Wilson:

“The business of gobernment is to organize the common interest against the special interests.”

Gerrard Winstanley (17th-c. English defender of the commons):

“The Earth was made by almighty God to be a Common Treasury of Livelihood to the whole of mankind in all its branches, without respect of persons.”

“Thoughts & words ran in me that words & writing were all nothing, & must die, for action is the life of all, & if thou dost not act, thou dost nothing.”

John Winthrop (Massachusetts Bay colonist, 1630):

“The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world.”

Virginia Woolf :

“We can best help you prevent war not by repeating your words & following your methods, but by finding new words & creating new methods.”

Malcolm X:

“We ourselves have to lift the level of our community to a higher level…make our own society beautiful so that we will be satisfied… We’ve got to change our minds about each other. We have to see each other with new eyes… We have to come together with warmth.”

One thought on “Wise Words for Human Rights Activists

  1. Pingback: Tibetan Women: Devotedly Defiant | parakeetpensthewrit

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