Forgetting Gandhi on International Non-violence day

Forgetting Gandhi on International Non-violence day

By Pablo Ouziel

October 2nd marks the birth anniversary of Human Rights Activist,
Mahatma Gandhi and for the first time, the United Nations is officially
proclaiming this day to be the International Day of Non-violence. Hopefully,
on this day we can all spare a little of our time to reflect on how little
we have all understood Mahatma Gandhi’s message, after all everyday we seem
to plunge into a worse state of affairs and drift away farther from Gandhi’s
respectable message; “I object to violence because when it appears to do
good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.”

I wonder what it means to have an International Non-violence day. Does it
mean that American soldiers, UN ‘peacekeepers’, Nato Forces, the Israeli
military and Blackwater USA will put down their weapons for the day and
reflect on the horrors that they are committing in the vague name of an
international war on ‘terror’? Does it mean that they will all continue
killing as a few peaceful marchers around the world proclaim in total
sanity, that the insanity that prevails is making it hard for peace-loving
humans to coexist with this madness? Or those it mean, that the United
Nations will clamp down on the killings perpetrated by the permanent members
of its own security council?

Whatever happens on that day we can all rest assured that the day will pass
and things will continue heading into the same almost unavoidable tragic
ending, one which the respectable Professor Noam Chomsky describes in the
following way; “The immediate fear is that by accident or design,
Washington’s war planners or their Israeli surrogate might decide to
escalate their Cold War II into a hot one ­ in this case a real hot war.”

Gandhi once said that, “an error does not become truth by reason of
multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.”
However since that now famous speech in 2001 when President Bush declared;
“You’re either with us or against us in the fight against terror,” our lives
have changed so much in so little time, that one wonders whether Gandhi’s
statement makes any difference to the lives of ordinary innocent people.

With so many dead since Bush’s statement and so many more suffering, with
our way of live being put upside down by secretive prisons, humiliating
airport security checks, increased racism towards our Muslim brothers,
students being tasered for asking inappropriate questions, and the president
of a country being insulted by a University President in the name of freedom
of speech, one wonders how long we will have to put up with this reality
until the people of the world regain their rights and react against this
vile oppression.

We are living in fearful times void of any reason, if one listens to the
words of world leaders and reflects on their actions, one will see the
incoherence which prevails. The ones promoting global democracy are
embracing imperialism and the ones asking for reason to flourish are being
labelled as enemies. Evo Morales the first indigenous president of Bolivia,
who was linked to Osama Bin Laden by the American ambassador in that
country, last week speaking with Amy Goodman of democracy Now! said; “I
think that in this new millennium, we fundamentally should be oriented
towards saving lives and not ending lives.”

Yet President Bush continues to raise the flag of peace and stability as
American defence company stocks continue to rise and people continue to die.
According to on September 26th; “The AMEX Defense Index, which
tracks 14 major defence company stocks, rose 14.25 to a high of 1,686.72 in
afternoon trading. Since last year, the index has risen roughly 47 percent,
outperforming the broader S&P 500 index, which has climbed nearly 15 percent
over the same period.”

While Hugo Chavez president of Venezuela, another ‘great enemy’ of the
American people during a UN address at the General Assembly in 2006,
recommends to the assembly, the presidents of the world and in particular
the American people to read Hegemony of Survival by Noam Chomsky, we learned
this week by the hand of an editorial in The Los Angeles Times that, “the
biggest beneficiary (of the business of war) has been Blackwater USA, a
private security firm with powerful political and personnel ties to an
administration that has awarded it more than $1 billion in contracts since

So while this real life scenario remains a despicable reality and some blame
Bush, while others blame corporations, I am inclined to blame the common
people who through a combination of indifference, fear and lack of reason,
are allowing their government representatives and a few corporations to
accumulate wealth and power, while destroying the planet in which we all
live. We must understand that the power is in the hands of the majority as
long as we are all willing to accept that responsibility and turn it into

If we use International non-violence day to reflect on Gandhi’s teachings
and his struggle for freedom, we might learn from his own words that, “as
human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the
world - that is the myth of the atomic age - as in being able to remake
ourselves.” If this reasoning can somehow ingrain itself into our thought
process, those Wall Street and industry executives who are trying to assure
investors that there will be little disturbance in military spending over
the next several years, regardless of who succeeds President Bush in the
White House, will be proved wrong. If however the people of the world have
forgotten what Gandhi really stood for, there is nothing that can be done.

-Pablo Ouziel is an activist and a free lance writer based in Spain. His
work has appeared in many progressive media including Znet, Palestine
Chronicle, Thomas Paine¹s Corner and Atlantic Free Press.