"Extreme Poverty is a violence in itself. If extreme poverty ends, peace can take its place."

People living in extreme poverty continue to be considered primarily as those who commit violent acts against which society needs to protect itself. For example, the authorities put in place laws to prosecute people who beg and people who live on the street, and to forcibly evict people who are living on land which they do not formally hold rights despite having been settled there for years. These people are the object of real discrimination because they live in poverty.

With this new discussion, we want to have an exchange on the violence experienced by people living in extreme poverty, understanding the role they have alongside other actors, towards building peace.

In what way is extreme poverty a violence?
Through what you experience or witness with others, what do you consider to be most violent in extreme poverty? How do you, on your own or together with others, resist the violence of extreme poverty?

What peace do we hope for?
What do these words mean for you: "peace," to have "peace" or to not have "peace"?
What peace is it that you want to contribute towards for your family and for others?

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You can read all the comments posted in this forum and the conclusion of this research done by the International Movement ATD Fourth World by cliking on the link.

Comment for this discussion

The Movement ATD Fourth World is coming to the end of the three-year knowledge-expertise process led in different regions of the world. This process follows on from its commitment to renew knowledge about the conditions that people in deep poverty suffer, being all together agents in building and contributing to this knowledge.In seminars among “actors of knowledge,”this process has included more than 1000 people from 25 countries. You'll find below some extracts from these meetings to  bring them into the dialogue within this discussion forum.

From News and Perspectives from ATD Fourth World's International Leadership Team - December 2011

“Extreme Poverty  Means Injustice and Violence Every Which Way.”

“When the international conference on 'Francophonie' was held in our country,  we were displaced and they burned our shelter. We were sent to a quarry ditch and when the rainy season came, the water was up to our knees. People got discouraged.” (Madagascar) Seminar in Grand-Baie, Mauritius—2009

“The Violence Done to the Poor: Breaking the Silence”

“Sometimes people lack courage or confidence, and say, 'Share something about my life? No, it would be even worse if others make fun of me.' I used to be one of those people. [...] We must break this silence.” (Guatemala) Seminar in Lima, Peru-2010

“Poverty Is Violence: Speak Out for Peace”

“Demolition [of our homes] is violence. It means hunger. You can't work because of the everyday demolition. It is violence because you can think bad things against the demolition workers. [...] If you have an empty stomach, you can't think straight. I told my wife, 'If I lose my faith in God, I could easily stab the leader of the demolition crew when I am angry.' [...] Hunger! That's why you can do violence, because of those rich and in authority who don't understand us poor people."  (Philippines ) Seminar in Frimhurst, United Kingdom-2011

“Our Lives are Made up of Violence, We Have to Struggle for Everything”

“When people disrespect us by labeling us with word like 'social case, bad mother, incapable, good-for-nothing,’ this shows a judgment and an ignorance of what we live. We feel the violence of being discriminated again, ignored, nonexistent, of not being part of the same world, of not being treated like other human beings. For us, this daily violence is mistreatment that becomes inscribed in us. We feel a violence that is forever inscribed in us because our identity could not develop.” (France) Seminar in Pierrelaye, France-2011

“Extreme Poverty Itself Is Violence; If Extreme Poverty were Stopped, Peace Would Take Its Place”

“There are lots of NGOs walking behind us, bringing lots of money, bringing lots of things—but it's nothing. Those NGOs can't fight extreme poverty, nor poverty, because they don't know whom they are addressing. They address themselves to the most intelligent, they separate us, they bring violence.”(Senegal) Seminar in Dakar, Senegal-2011