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Nonviolence Playlets - compiled by Walter Wink - page 21 / 29





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himself as calmly as he could.  Then, returning the handkerchief, he

looked at the man’s jacket and started talking to him.

Lawson:  “Do you have a motorcycle or a hot-rod car?”

Man:  “A motorcycle.”

[Jim: could you fill in the dialogue that took place between yourself

and the biker?  And is it OK if I include this story in the collection I

am doing of playlets—short nonviolent stories that can be used in all

sorts of settings.   I take it that you asked the biker a question about

customizing your bike.  And then how does the encounter end?  Just give

me something very brief.]

(Source: David Halberstam, The Children (New York: Random House, 1998),


Brazilian Exposé

In Brazil, the military gave up its dictatorship, but only slowly, over

a period of ten years.  But they remained in the wings, ready to strike

if their interests were threatened.  Prior to this slow thaw, the

military had engaged in extensive torture and disappearances.  They were

anxious lest their meticulously kept records should fall into the hands

of civilian authorities after the transfer of power.  Nevertheless, they

never got the chance to destroy them.  In what has to be one of the most

audacious moves ever made against a military dictatorship, a

Presbyterian minister, Jaime Wright, with the complete support of São

Paulo’s Cardinal Arns, managed to secretly photocopy the military’s

entire archive, documenting every detail of torture and every


 In anticipation of the transition to democracy in 1979, the Brazilian

military passed a blanket amnesty that would cover both those accused of

political crimes and state security agents who were involved in human

rights violations.  Victims who had already served time were put on the

same level with assassins who had served no time in jail.  This “clean

start” would have meant, in reality, burying the past under a coat of

sludge. Jaime Wright’s brother had been “disappeared,” however, and

Wright was not about to accept silence.

(Setting: 6 or 8 people seated in a circle.)

Jaime:  We have found a loophole in the 1979 amnesty law.  It provides

lawyers with access to the military’s archives, though only a few at a

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