The Seville Statement on Violence does not address an important question--the relation between struggle and violence. However, it is not possible to teach the message of the Seville Statement without encountering this question.

The position of Unesco on violence is clear. Unesco was established in order to promote the cultural and educational factors which would enable the world to avoid both the obvious violence of war and the less obvious institutional violence that can lead to war.

At the same time, Unesco is committed to struggle for justice and liberty. For example, Unesco has been in the front lines of the struggle to end the institution of apartheid in South Africa, which is the most brutal manifestation of prejudice, intolerance, and racism.

The question arose when the Seville Statement on Violence was presented to the Yamoussoukro International Conference on Peace in the Minds of Men, sponsored by Unesco in the Ivory Coast in 1989. As the rapporteur noted, the discussion made it clear that there is a "need to distinguish clearly between violence and struggle," and that "the Seville Statement should in no way obscure the legitimacy of the struggle for human rights, for justice, and against oppression."

The distinction between struggle and violence has occupied the greatest leaders of our times. For example, Nobel Peace Laureate Martin Luther King, Jr. put it this way:

"Nonviolent resistance is not a method for cowards. It does resist. If one uses this method because he is afraid or merely because he lacks the instruments of violence, he is not truly nonviolent. This is why Gandhi often said that if cowardice is the only alternative to violence, it is better to fight....while the nonviolent resister is passive in the sense that he is not physically aggressive toward his opponent, his mind and emotions are always active, constantly seeking to persuade his opponent that he is wrong. The method is passive physically, but strongly active spiritually. It is not passive non-resistance to evil, it is active nonviolent resistance to evil."

Although some people might condemn all expression of anger, Martin Luther King would not agree with this. In commemorating the life of civil rights and peace leader W.E.B. DuBois, King said that "history had taught him it is not enough for people to be angry--the supreme task is to organize and unite people so that their anger becomes a transforming force."