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"We will not fight them at all. We would rather die than to kill others."
Tee Watt Kaa, Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode "Jedi Crash"

A person (or, in some cases, an entire nation) who believes that actual pacifism is worth dedication even when the call for resistance is a Matter of Life and Death. Often, the suicidal pacifist won't even hide, preferring to ignore the threat. Though this may work occasionally, it will be their strategy of choice even against the Omnicidal Maniac and Complete Monster.

When the hero tries to point out the flaws in their reasoning and convince them to defend themselves, they will preach that he cannot be trusted due to the blood on his hands. If he tries to argue that peace and liberty must be defended, they may imply If You Kill Him You Will Be Just Like Him. Of course, once the Big Bad or Mooks arrive, he will be forced to take care of the problem.

Sometimes, the hero has to try Training the Peaceful Villagers or to Teach Him Anger.

See also Actual Pacifist, Too Dumb to Live for when this gets to the point of genuine stupidity, and Perfect Pacifist People.

Examples of Suicidal Pacifism include:


Anime/Manga

Comics

  • In Formic Wars: Burning Earth, Kenwe Zubeka, the director of alien affairs, for the U.N. tries to greet the Formics by flying up to their mother ship and offering them gifts and tokens of peace from 187 countries. Needless to say, it does not end well for the director.

Literature

  • The Tuatha'an (Tinkers or Traveling People) in the Wheel of Time series. One of them, Aram, abandoned their Pacifist ways and soon became a Knight Templar.
  • The people of Bandakar in the Sword of Truth series, pacifists who are fortunately immune to magical attacks, and not so fortunately helpless against the Imperial Order's dudes with swords. They eventually got over their pacifism and started defending themselves.
  • The Stainless Steel Rat Gets Drafted includes a planet of suicidal pacifists. When their planet is conquered, they refuse to work for the conquerors and patiently wait for them to realize that the locals cannot be compelled by violence.
  • In a short story in one of the Warrior Cats Field Guides, a Clan leader refused to fight, afraid to see his warriors injured - even announcing publicly at a Gathering that they were too weak for him to sanction a fight and politely asking the other Clans to stop hunting in ThunderClan territory. Of course, this was an open invitation to the other Clans to continue hunting there, since they would not be driven off. Eventually the spirit of the leader's mate visits him and explains to him that they need to fight battles, and he agrees.

Live Action TV

  • One episode of Star Trek the Next Generation had Picard and three other abductees put in a room. One of them was an alien from a completely pacifist culture who refused to help them escape, until their predicament and persistence made him change his mind.
  • In the Star Trek the Original Series episode Mirror, Mirror, the Halkans tell the Empire that they are willing to "die as a race" to "preserve what we are."
  • The Nox of Stargate SG-1 are a subversion. They appear to have all the trappings of the trope, refusing even to fight the Goa'uld... until it's revealed that their technology is so far beyond that of the Goa'uld that they aren't really a threat, and their powers of invisibility and healing provide them with plenty of nonviolent ways of keeping themselves alive.
    • Which makes their condemnation of the heroes seem a bit hypocritical or at least unfounded. It's all well and good to practice total pacifism when you have impenetrable defenses and perfect cloaking abilities (not to mention the ability to raise the newly dead) to survive, avoid, or undo the damage of any aggressor, but the people they condemn for using violence in self-defense have little choice other than simply being wiped out or enslaved.
    • They are of course a great example of being Starfish Aliens.
  • After nearly being wiped out in an atomic war (and exterminated by the Daleks) the Thals from Doctor Who turned to absolute pacifism. In their first appearance (in the series' very second serial, The Daleks) Ian told them that they had to resist the Daleks or the Daleks would exterminate them; their leader Alydon gravely replied that in that case the Daleks would have to exterminate them. Fortunately, Ian was able to Teach Him Anger and make him acknowledge that there were some things worth fighting for and they defeated the Daleks. By the next appearance (several generations later) they had not returned to pacifism.

Religion

  • Present in The Bible, in the apocryphal book of the Maccabees, where some Jews would rather let themselves be killed on the Sabbath than defend their lives. The eponymous family of the Maccabees decide to skip that rule in order to defend their country. (It's worth noting that most Jewish traditions, at least nowadays, are quite clear on the principle that working to save a life is a duty that must be embraced whatever day it happens to be.)
    • In Jesus' teachings he tells people to turn the other cheek when struck (though Values Dissonance means that this was much more Badass in his day than through modern eyes), to repay evil with good, and to show kindness to one's enemies. When his enemies show up to take him to his death, he not only doesn't resist in the least, he heals a man injured by one of his disciples.
  • There's a story about a group of shakyas (noblemen from his country) whom Buddha had converted. When he left them, he predicted their death by brute force. Soon after, another king attacked and slaughtered them. They did not resist, giving us another example of this trope.

Video Games

  • Stella Deus the Gate of Eternity: The Aeque teach that the advancing mist (that erases the existence of every living thing it touches) is the will of the gods and that everyone should accept their fate.
  • Happens in Final Fantasy IX where a group of people are under attack by the queen's forces. Rather than run away or even try to fight back, the innocents try to talk to the soldiers out of fighting but quickly get slain. This is due to the civilians living in solidarity from the rest of the world for so many years that they forgot how to fight, so trying to reason with others is the only thing they know how to do.

Web Comics

  • In Sluggy Freelance the Dimension of Lame (which is populated entirely by sickeningly sweet, naive, and innocent people) gets invaded by demons from the Dimension of Pain, who proceed to kill, devour, and rip out the souls of every human being who crosses their path. However, when a resistance group tries to organize, even the most psychotically violent individual on the planet can't do anything more than stub a demon's toe in self-defense without feeling unbearable guilt.
    • Eventually the demons did begin to cooperate with the humans to a slight degree, but because the sheer number of helpless sheep to slaughter necessitated some organization on their part.
  • Celia from Order of the Stick has shades of this. She's perfectly willing to use her flight to help other survive, but won't harm anyone alive even when they're trying to kill her and reanimate her corpse as a golem (she will zap golems, but that just made things worse). She also has no problem using her lightning zappy beams to create an impressive display as a set up to legally negotiating her way out of the situation.

Western Animation

  • Anakin, a few other Jedi, and some clone soldiers crash land on Maridun, an entire planet of Actual Pacifists in an episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. When the Separatists arrive, the natives blame the Jedi for bringing them there, and their leader refuses to fight them for any reason.

Web Original

  • Folder from the Whateley Universe refuses to fight back when bullied, leading to a lot of injuries. Had the events of A Single Fold not played out as they had, he probably would have ended up dead.

Real Life

  • German philosopher Oswald Spengler claimed in The Decline of the West that this meant the preference of slavery over death (by fighting). As he explained: At the battle of Cannae, 50000 Roman soldiers died. When the Mongols overran the metropolises of China and the Muslim world, the population didn't want to fight them, and hundreds of thousands of people died. Per metropolis, that is.
  • One Underground Comics artist had a father (also artist) who was like this. As he wrote in one comic, when the other kids would beat up the son for having "fish lips", the father would say "don't hit back, don't lower yourself to their level". Thanks, dad.
  • Thích Quảng Đức, the Buddhist monk who set himself on fire in a Saigon street during the Vietnam War as an act of protest. Note that he was not protesting the war itself, but the South Vietnamese government's persecution of Buddhists.
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