Sunday, September 17, 2006

September 11 -- A Century of Non-Violent Protest

Satyagraha -- meaning truth or soul force as a means of non-violently achieving justice and peace, first tested one hundred years ago on September 11th, is still a potent strategy. So argues David Cortright, one of the main organizers of the peace movement the Win Without War coalition which came together just before the Iraq war began in 2003. His book Gandhi and Beyond: Nonviolence for an Age of Terrorism takes a critical look at Gandhi the man, but distinguishes satyagraha as a strategy that has worked in many instances throughout this century. He outlines the influence of the strategy of non-violent social change through examples in the United States, such as Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, Dorothy Day, Saul Alinsky and others making a strong case for the strategy even in today's age of terrorism.

Justin Huggler, in yesterday's Independent UK has a great article entitled Mahatma Gandhi: A Century of Peaceful Protest. He writes....

Indians this week have been remembering the day which changed the fate of their nation for decades to come. A hundred years ago, on 11 September, 1906, a young British-trained barrister named Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi addressed a meeting of 3,000 Indians in the Empire Theatre building in Johannesburg and asked them to take an oath to resist white colonial rule without violence. It was the birth of the modern non-violent resistance movement- and it has not been forgotten.

Suddenly the Mahatma is back in fashion in India. Two years ago, it was unthinkable that the centenary of a speech by Gandhi, seen as a relic of the past by most young Indians, would be so much as noticed in a country that was obsessed not with figures from its past, but with its headlong rush to embrace modernity.


Post a Comment

<< Home