ME and Ophelia

Monday, October 04, 2004

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Gandhi says it is not too late to start a non-violent movement

This photo is of Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, meeting Palestinian President Yasser Arafat in Ramallah a few days ago.


The photo was featured in a report from Bahrain entitled "Gandhi’s grandson urges peaceful uprising".

Arun Gandhi says it is not too late to start a mon-violent movement, and IMHO he is right. Seems to me there is no alternative. I've spent months of intense thinking about violence and have concluded the only way to fight it is peacefully. With love. Sounds cheesey. But I am serious. Love is a powerful force. And so is evil. Fight evil with evil you create more evil. Only love can overcome evil. That is putting it simplistically. Too long to go into here.

The late great Gandhi said, "The power of nonviolence lies in empowering the individual to become the change we wish to see in the world." Which is why I have started a Zone of Peace blog. I am copying the report here in full as part of my log on people's reaction to the idea of fighting violence with non-violence:

RAMALLAH, West Bank: The grandson of slain Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi urged Palestinians yesterday to rise up peacefully to demand an end to Israeli occupation, and said freedom was close.

Arun Gandhi, whose grandfather’s campaign helped loosen Britain’s grip on the Indian subcontinent, said non-violence would speed world sympathy to the Palestinians.

“I know your day of freedom is very near,” he told a crowd of thousands of flag-waving Palestinians in the West Bank city of Ramallah after meeting President Yasser Arafat.

“Insist on your rights and demand your freedom peacefully ... Let the voice of reason and compassion stand up again,” said Gandhi, president and founder of the US-based M. K. Gandhi Institute for Non-Violence.

A popular Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation that began in 2000 has been overshadowed by violence. Rights groups say at least 3,000 Palestinians have been killed.

“You have been fighting for the Holy Land, but God told us there is nothing more holy than human life,” Gandhi said.

Palestinians at the rally, though they gave Gandhi rounds of applause, were split on the idea of non-violence.

“The peaceful resistance he talks about is better than what we have here,” said Mohammed Saber, 25. “We should be a symbol of peace to the world. In the end we are with Gandhi. We need to be better than them.”

“We want peace. We want to live as they live. Isn’t this our right?” said Salima Ayat, holding a framed picture of her jailed son. “We want peace by any means.”

But others, like 15-year-old Mahmoud Suleiman, said they doubted non-violence could win Palestinians a state, even as they welcomed Gandhi. “It won’t work,” he said. “There must be both armed and peaceful resistance, and armed resistance is more important.”

Gandhi said he believed it was not too late to start a non-violent movement in the West Bank and Gaza, captured by Israel in 1967, and condemned a wall Israel is building in the West Bank as an “evil thing”.

“Imagine yourselves marching by the thousands behind your leaders to the checkpoints and the roadblocks demanding your free passage and the right to be treated as human beings,” he said.

“Sit at the roadblocks and sing your songs. March to the wall and dance your dances,” he said, referring to the wall Israel is building in the West Bank.
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Note to self to put this link in sidebar: World Peace Report

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 10/04/2004
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