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 does it mean that the United Nations will clamp down on the killings perpetrated by the permanent members of its own security council?
Gandhi once said "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 defense company stocks continue to rise and people continue to die. According to CNNMoney.com on September 26th, "The AMEX Defense Index, which tracks 14 major defense 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."
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 action.
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.