Thinking Aloud: “How to Make Peace? Get Angry”

Apr. 18, 2015 by Darius

In his TED Talk, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi credits a rather surprising emotion to his work: anger.

Satyarthi said he has been getting angry his whole life—angry at the injustice around him.  Instead of just wallowing in anger, though, he tried to channel that anger into something productive.

Anger first estranged him from his family—and led him to break free of India’s caste system.  When he was young, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, he tried to organize an event where high-caste Indian leaders would eat food prepared by so-called Untouchables.  Instead, he was punished by his family and community for bringing shame to their caste.  His anger led him to cast off his family, his caste, and his name and instead work to eliminate the caste system.

Later on, Satyarthi’s most important idea came to him when he was locked in a small jail cell for trying to bring an instance of human trafficking to a policeman’s attention.  He realized that for every dozen children he saved from trafficking, 50 more would be lost.  Instead, he realized that the key was on the consumer end.  He started a campaign for consumers to demand child-labor free rugs, which has resulted in an 80% drop in human trafficking in South Asian countries and freed nearly 85,000 children from slavery.

As Satyarthi says, “Anger is a power, anger is an energy, and the law of nature is that energy can never be created and never be vanished, can never be destroyed. So why can’t the energy of anger be translated and harnessed to create a better and beautiful world, a more just and equitable world?”

Satyarthi’s talk was particularly refreshing at a time when large swaths of the world seem to have, instead, chosen to wallow in destructive anger.

You can see his whole talk at http://www.ted.com/talks/kailash_satyarthi_how_to_make_peace_get_angry/

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