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Arun Gandhi: U.S. Needs Nonviolent Response To Terror

By       Message Sherwood Ross     Permalink

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 Americans need to understand the hatred of terrorists “and deal with it in a nonviolent way, as Gandhi did” (to) “find solutions that in the past were obscured by our own aggressive behavior,” Arun Gandhi, the grandson of India’s spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi, writes in a new book.

“In the crisis of war that we currently face, did any of us from the President to the media to the people ever ask what motivated the ‘terrorists’ to do what they did on 9/11, or even before that when they attacked us in Kenya and elsewhere?” Gandhi wrote.“Why are the people in that part of the world (Middle East) so determined to hurt us? To believe and to reflexively state, as the politicians and the media do, that these people are ‘crazy’ and ‘evil’ and must be eliminated at all cost is taking the easy way out,” he charged.

In an article in a book to be published imminently titled “American Wars: Illusions & Reality”(Clarity Press, Atlanta), Gandhi, who until January headed the M.K. Gandhi Institute For Nonviolence at the University of Rochester, N.Y.,  challenged the wisdom of the U.S. response to the attacks of 9/11.

“If we could learn to respond to crises intelligently, we could resolve many problems without bloodshed and remorse. Instead, our egos often override reason, and we conclude that someone who does something we don’t like is ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ and must be eliminated.”

“To facilitate our ability to fight and kill, our leaders have devised ways to dehumanize their opponents and then to psychologically induce the rest of us to believe that it is right to kill, that our enemies are inhuman and that they must be eliminated,” Gandhi writes.

By glorifying violent acts or their perpetrators in history, and depicting violence in movies and media as evidence of bravery, we are insidiously brainwashed into accepting the capacity to inflict violence as a laudable ability,” he said.Gandhi challenged the widespread belief that violence is part of human nature, just as killing is in the nature of predators in the animal kingdom.

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 “If violence, indeed, were innate in human nature, we would not need martial arts institutes and military academies to teach people how to fight and kill,” he pointed out.

Gandhi said his grandfather demonstrated the efficacy of nonviolence in South Africa and India. He noted, too, that others subsequently used this strategy effectively in the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and elsewhere.

“Once the objective---liberation---was achieved,” he wrote, referring to South Africa and India, “we threw the philosophy aside, much as we would a weapon used in combat. It is this attitude, and ignorance, that has given rise to the fallacy that nonviolence is just a strategy to be employed when the conditions are appropriate. But Gandhi said nonviolence is not like a coat that you can wear today and discard tomorrow.”

“Nonviolence,” he emphasized, “must become a part of one’s being and eventually replace the culture of violence that dominates every aspect of our lives.”For further information about the book, see Website                                                              #

(Sherwood Ross is a Miami, Florida-based public relations consultant and columnist that has worked for wire services and daily newspapers. He was active in the civil rights movement and served as press coordinator for James Meredith in his 1966 ‘March Against Fear’ into Mississippi. )  

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Sherwood Ross worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and contributed a regular "Workplace" column for Reuters. He has contributed to national magazines and hosted a talk show on WOL, Washington, D.C. In the Sixties he was active as public (more...)

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