the fire these times

25. Resistance, Rescue and Waging Non-Violence

This is a conversation with Bryan Farell, one of the founders of Waging Nonviolence. He also hosts the podcast City of Refuge, the topic of this episode.

City of Refuge is a 10-part series from Waging Nonviolence which explores a little-known WWII rescue story, showing what happens when ordinary people won’t ignore the horrors surrounding them. It is the story of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, a small village which sits on a 3,000-foot high plateau in South-Central France.

During World War II, Le Chambon’s people — along with those of several surrounding villages — sheltered, fed and protected around 5,000 refugees, including 3,500 Jews. Even more incredibly, they did this while openly rejecting Nazism, as well as its collaborators in the French Vichy government.

We spoke about the story of Le Chambon and its people and what it meant to be waging non-violence. We argued that non-violence should be seen as a set of actions rather than the widespread misconception portraying it as akin to ‘doing nothing’. Non-violence is active, not passive.


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Music by Tarabeat. The photo: André Trocmé (back row, center) with Jewish and non-Jewish refugee children sheltered in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon during WWII. (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum/Peter Feigl, taken from Waging Non-Violence)

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