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Deport Arun Gandhi !!

 
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September 24, 2001
Terrorism and Nonviolence
By Arun Gandhi
"When in despair I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won; there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall." M.K. 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 violence.
First, we must understand that nonviolence is not a strategy that we can use in times of peace and discard in a moment of crisis. Nonviolence 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 dispassionately analyze both the circumstances that create such monsters and how we can help eliminate those circumstances. Focusing our efforts on the monsters, rather than what creates the monsters, will not solve the problems of violence. Justice should mean reformation and not revenge.
We saw some people in Iraq and Palestine and I dare say many other countries rejoicing over the tragedies at 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 that 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. 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." I question whether we want other countries to respect us the way school children respect a bully. Is that our role in the world? If a bully is what we want to be then we must be prepared to face the same consequences that 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 to terrorism?
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 other more pertinent moral questions: 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 to create monsters in the world, 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 moral strength.
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 one's 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 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 more meaningfully commemorated if we all learn to forgive. Let us dedicate our lives to creating a peaceful, respectful and understanding world.
Dr. Arun Gandhi is the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and founder of The Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence.
 
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U must be Zulfiqur Raza! Who else digs up such quotes and statements and copy them with out even reading it completely?
I agree with Mr. Arun Gandhi. Let me request you, Zulfiquar, to not to analyse that paper as how group blind-people met an elephant. Try to understand the essence of Ahimsa, and understand its importance, and its ways of fighting against any evil might in the world. It�s a concept still out of reach of a common man like you and me, who fights over issues like a parking place or a window seat in local train.
After all, its that great strategy that won us ( I hope u are Zulfiqur Raza, from Pakistan) freedom from British colonial administration. Why don�t you ask elderly people, around you? They themselves might have followed and participated in hundreds of hunger strikes, brutal punishments etc to win you and me freedom. The same freedom that makes you and me to say proudly that I am Indian, or I am Pakistani(??? I dont know.. Are you proud to say that?). I wish you are...
Take it easy,
Ashok.
 
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why do you want to deport her?
Is she in the US? And if she is, the artical isnt bad...Just her opinion on how Non-Violence should be used to solve the problem rather than War. whats the big deal.
Another question..Who cares about the india / pakistan problem. To be honest with you its down right stupid. Grow up and solve to your problems like grown ups. Are you fighting over kashmir? Cant you make it a place both countries can share? Or does it have to be that everyone must die for their ot be any satisfaction? I just look at the world and some of the fighting at is going on and its stupid...Maybe its just cause I am more tollerable or indifferent but it seems petty
[This message has been edited by Faisal Dosani (edited September 28, 2001).]
 
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Originally posted by J Ash:
[B]U must be Zulfiqur Raza!


Paranoia !
I don't understand how a commentary about anything but Pakistan and Indian can illicit response relating to Pakistan and India.
Anyway, I agree with Faisal about this Pakistani versus Indian issue. It's passe'.
As Peter Jennings reported when Clinton visited the region last year, the two countries act like a divorced couple. They can't forget the past and therefore can't move toward the future.
Meanwhile general public gets messed up in the middle. I was born in Pakistan and yet I feel familiarity with both countries. My birth was in Pakistan but my roots are in India. Damn it people, we are all one. We are the same peole. Try to get an American to tell us apart I can't even tell any difference between my Indian cousins and Pakistani cousins.
Let's start a friendly campign. Let's be friends. Governments are just made up of few men who want to run things their way and they have to create stuff to look busy so they can keep their jobs.
I wish the people would get together and force their governments to be civil toward each other. I don't just wish, I think we can!
[This message has been edited by Shama Khan (edited October 08, 2001).]
 
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Shama, Faisal
How long has it been since you both went back and actually felt the situation yourself.
Not that i dont want this thing over .But its not easy.
Its the same as asking the US to forget the past and talking with Bin Laden into sharing half the world each.
Its not that efforts are not being made .Just recently Musharraf visited India and the Indian PM was due to visit next but how far this is succcessful remains to be seen.

 
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Originally posted by Shama Khan:
Paranoia !
My birth was in Pakistan but my roots are in India. Damn it people, we are all one. We are the same peole. Try to get an American to tell us apart I can't even tell any difference between my Indian cousins and Pakistani cousins.


this is what i feel. i had a pakistani chat friend. once i told him that before partition india and pakistan were single country and i wish they become single country again but he got angry and replied nooooooo india and pakistan are different.



Governments are just made up of few men who want to run things their way and they have to create stuff to look busy so they can keep their jobs.


But i feel in democratic countries govt cant ignore sentiments of citizens. distance betn india and pakistan is because there is strog feeling of hate in peoples mind
 
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