I have been gently ticked off by Colin Rowat for occasional peripherals in these difficult times when policies seem sometimes so inseperable - I hope this not a peripheral - and will behave better in future, Colin! best, f.
>BY Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi:
>Understandably, after the tragedy in New York and Washington DC on September
>11 many have written or called the office to find out what would be an
>appropriate nonviolent response to such an unbelievably inhuman act of
>First, we must understand that nonviolence is not a strategy that we can use
>in a moment of crisis and discard in times of peace. Non violence is about
>personal attitudes, about becoming the change we wish to see in the world.
>Because, a nation's collective attitude is based on the attitude of the
>individual. Nonviolence is about building positive relationships with all
>human beings - relationships that are based on love, compassion, respect,
>understanding, and appreciation.
>Nonviolence is also about not judging people as we perceive them to be -
>that is, a murderer is not born a murderer; a terrorist is not born a
>terrorist. People become murderers, robbers, and terrorists because of
>circumstances and experiences in life. Killing or confining murders,
>robbers, terrorists, or the like is not going to rid this world of them.
>For every one we kill or confine we create another hundred to take their
>place. What we need to do is to analyze dispassionately what are those
>circumstances that create such monsters and how can we help eliminate those
>circumstances, not the monsters. Justice should mean reformation and not
>We saw some people in Iraq and Palestine and I dare say many other countries
>rejoice in the blowing up of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It
>horrified us, as it should. But, let us not forget that we do the same
>thing. When Israel bombs the Palestinians we either rejoice or show no
>compassion. Our attitude is they deserve what they get. When the
>Palestinians bomb the Israelis we are indignant and condemn them as vermin
>who need to be eliminated.
>We reacted without compassion when we bombed the cities of Iraq. I was among
>the millions in the United States who sat glued to the television and
>watched the drama as though it was a made for television film. The
>television had desensitized us. Thousands of innocent men, women and
>children were being blown to bits and instead of feeling sorry for them, we
>marveled at the efficiency of our military. For more than ten years we have
>continued to wreak havoc in Iraq - an estimated 50, 000 children die every
>year because of sanctions that we have imposed - and it hasn't moved us to
>compassion. All this is done, we are told, because we want to get rid of the
>Satan called Sadam Hussein.
>Now we are getting ready to do this all over again to get rid of another
>Satan called Osama Bin Laden. We will bomb the cities of Afghanistan because
>they harbor the Satan and in the process we will help create a thousand
>other bin Ladens.
>Some might say, "We don't care what the world thinks of us as long as they
>respect our strength. After all we have the means to blow this world to
>pieces since we are the only surviving super-power. Do we want the world to
>respect us the way school children respect a bully? Is that our role in the
>If a bully is what we want to be then we must be prepared to face the same
>consequences a school-yard bully faces. On the other hand we cannot tell the
>world "Leave us alone..." Isolationism is not what this world is built for.
>All of this brings us back to the question: How do we respond nonviolently
>The consequences of a military response are not very rosy. Many thousands of
>innocent people will die both here and in the country or countries we
>attack. Militancy will increase exponentially and, ultimately, we will be
>faced with another, more pertinent, moral question: What will we gain by
>destroying half the world? Will we be able to live with a clear conscience?
>We must acknowledge our role in helping create monsters in the world and
>then find ways to contain these monsters without hurting more innocent
>people and then redefine our role in the world. I think we must move from
>seeking to be respected for our military strength to being respected for our
>We need to appreciate that we are in a position to play a powerful role in
>helping the "other half" of the world attain a better standard of life not
>by throwing a few crumbs, but by significantly involving ourselves in
>constructive economic programs.
>For too long our foreign policy has been based on "what is good for the
>United States." It smacks of selfishness. Our foreign policy should now be
>based on what is good for the world and how can we do the right thing to
>help the world become more peaceful.
>To those who have lost loved ones in this and other terrorist acts, I say I
>share your grief. I am sorry that you have become victims of senseless
>violence. But let this sad episode not make you vengeful because no amount
>of violence and killing is going to bring you inner peace. Anger and hate
>never do. The memory of those victims who have died in this and other
>violent incidents around the world will be better preserved and meaningfully
>commemorated if we all learn to forgive and dedicate our lives to helping
>create a peaceful, respectful, and understanding world.
>Founder Director, M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence
>650 East Parkway South
>Memphis TN 38104
>Tel: (901)452-2824; FAX: (901)452-2775
>email: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www. gandhiinstitute. org