January 13, 2010

Defenders of Freedom Day – Lithuania

In March, 1990, Lithuania had declared itself independent from the Soviet Union. But it wasn't until this day in 1991 that that independence crystallized for many.

Unfortunately, Lithuania's liberty cost 14 brave people their lives.

During this “Winter War,” the Soviet Union tried to crush—literally crush, with tanks—the newly reborn nation of Lithuania. Armed Soviet troops and tanks mobilized in the capital, Vilnius, and tried to take over the Parliament, the TV to
wer, radio buildings and the printing house. However, thousands of Lithuanians poured out into the streets and resisted. Without weapons, some were mowed down when soldiers shot into the crowd and when tanks advanced.

I read moving accounts of average, everyday
people who never thought of themselves as heroes, sure they were going to die and wishing they had a chance to say goodbye to their loved ones, standing their ground against the tanks...singing songs...advising each other to stand away from the windows of the Parliament building they guarded, to reduce injury if the Soviets fired on the building...and then responding with joy and disbelief when the Soviet tanks turned around.

The small nation of Lithuania thus defended itself against the once-mighty Soviet empire.

This event is sometimes called the Singing Revolution because the crowds of Lithuanians were armed only with courage and songs. It is definitely an example of peaceful protest winning against aggression.

Commemorate the peaceful protesters who lost their lives in Lithuania 19 years ago by exploring peaceful ways to resolve minor, everyday conflicts.

Discuss with others ways in which people are able to solve difficulties without resorting to aggression.

  • Here is a website with an interesting picture story of two donkeys (scroll down). They were in a lose-lose situation but managed to turn it into a win-win situation.
  • According to Andrew at the blog “A Peaceful Resolution,” sometimes we get aggressive just in the way we talk to other people, if we interrupt them or pounce on mistakes or argue a lot. He suggests adopting a “Tell-Me-More Buffer” so that you don't respond too quickly, before the other person has even gotten his or her point out.
This is useful when someone has said something that makes you mad. Instead of responding right away, you can say, “Tell me more.” You'll have a chance to hear more—and maybe understand better—of what that other person is trying to say. You'll have a cool-down period so that, when you do respond, you can be calm and reasonable. Good idea, huh?
Did you ever notice...
...that resolution is only one letter different from revolution?

Different words have negative or positive connotations (which is the emotional coloration that adds to the actual meaning of a word).

For example, slim sounds more attractive than skinny.
You'd want to have an item of clothing that is a good value, but not necessarily one that is cheap. Careful tends to be a compliment; guarded and unadventurous, not so much.

What do yo
u think the connotations of these revolutionary words are? Which are positive, and which are negative? Does it just matter which side you're on?







There are no actual answers. I believe that 1, 3, and 6 seem much more negative than 2, 4, and 5. And certainly 6 sounds the worst of the bunch to me. The most violent of the first 6, it seems to me, is 1.

Numbers 9 and 11 seem quite negative, and I have a pretty negative feeling about 12, too. Both 7 and 8 seem neutral—I can imagine good OR bad revolts and uprisings. Number 10 seems peaceful and probably righteous. The most violent of the last half, I believe, is 7.

Overall, I think that words used to describe revolution are deliberately chosen to make us feel sympathy for either the rebels or for those rebelled against.

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