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Gandhi's method

NEWSPAPER EDITOR / Fighting for peace and reconciliation is not easy.


The joke sounds like this: The nervous patient asks the surgeon whether the surgery is dangerous, and the surgeon replies that he has done the operation 100 times already. The patient exhales lightly, while the surgeon says: "Once, it must be successful."

Well, fighting for peace and reconciliation is not easy. For the joke from Professor Henrik Syse came on the occasion of the 150 year mark of Gandhi (2.10.1869) at Bjørknes University College recently.

Among the celebrity guests we met Indian Neelakanta Radhakrishnan, one of the foremost Gandhi scientists in the world. He talked about how Martin Luther King and Japanese Daisaku Ikeda have continued Gandhi's nonviolence line. They have all relied on religion being a liberating doctrine where love is put into action. Such men have a dream, a vision, of seeing a world of equals, where ethnic divides are tolerated, where people are equal citizens. If not today, then at least something we want for our grandchildren's future.

The ideal of a unified and equal world may seem remote. And Gandhi himself unfortunately had to see India divided with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar. The struggle between Hindus and Muslims did not end.

Enemy images are seductive mechanisms – where the others' deserve to be
punished. "

India, the world's largest democracy, has a prime minister who is described as a "fascist" by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. Indian Prime Minister Modi favors Hindus. In February, he chose to bomb the Kashmir area, for the first time in half a century, with subsequent hostilities. As Khan just told the UN General Assembly in New York, the two nuclear-weapon states are now on the brink of a possible major conflict – mobile phone lines and the internet are blocked in the area to stagnate the controversy.

Now over 70 years since Gandhi was at the forefront of India's liberation, ancient enemy images between Hindus and Muslims are living at their best. So was it really a naive congregation we listened to during the celebration in Oslo, where love, unity, brotherhood, cooperation and other words were promoted by Gandhi's descendants – the advocates of peace?

For at another seminar in September, Iver B. Neumann described from the book The Steppe Tradition in International Relations. Russians, Turks and European State Building 4000 BCE – 2017 CE en
hierarchical and warlike culture based on the entire 6000 years of history. Only when some of the steppes' more successful cattle drivers helped others, as the retaliation ended as their subjects. Later riding warriors who acquired territories. Empires were built and out-competed by others. Not exactly some peaceful horizontal Gandhian sharing culture. As Neumann's co-author pointed out, master-client relationships have existed for thousands of years. That is, a few oppressors and many oppressed.

From this steppe land between the Black Sea and the Japanese Otari Mountains comes the tradition that criticism and disagreement are perceived as gross unfairness that should be punished. One does not discuss equality in Gandhi's way. The point of the book is that such attitudes still exist with today's leaders, such as Putin or Erdogan.


Gandhi fought both against racism in South Africa, for India's liberation from the colonial power, against India's caste system, against gender oppression and for human dignity rather than being exploited. One can often be different, and disagree, but horizontally equal.

So what has really been best preserved by Gandhi's philosophy and method today? How Johan Galtung begins the collection of Gandhi's writings, in the book We are all siblings (1999/63), the use of violence is counterproductive: "Violence fits a short period of time for the hero [...] before the aftermath comes with full force." No, we do not need to be religious to realize that retaliation and revenge for violence sit. deep in the soul of the wounded, or the victory of victory brings with it a desire for more conquests. Violence creates a vicious circle. Galtung also reminded us of Lord Mountbatten, who divided India between Hindus and Muslims, where Pakistan arose: "There is still war, both sides have nuclear weapons. Was real politics realistic? ”What Galtung wrote 20 years ago is even more relevant now, as it was warned in the UN recently.

The point of Gandhi's method is the possibility of a non-violent protest, of choosing non-cooperation. One fails to confirm power, either by civil disobedience or by "passive resistance".

Non-violence as a strategy and method actually came from Gandhi's reading of Lev Tolstoy The kingdom of God is in the dive (1893) Both Tolstoy and Gandhi came from better conditions, but chose that lifestyle. Gandhi believes that Tolstoy's "endless love can be a beacon and an inexhaustible source of inspiration." Tolstoy humbly acknowledged that ideals were not achieved. Nevertheless. Gandhi was also a pragmatic politician, but was principled on his deepest truths – the ones he was willing to die for.

Gandhi writes in the essay "Interpersonal Peace" i We are all siblings on the nonviolence line as applicable between nations. Not exactly what India and Pakistan are now practicing. The lesson is that peace and cooperation must be sustainable, one does not suppress or exploit the other: "A drowning man cannot save others" – nations must be able to be self-reliant with the most important thing before they can enter into fruitful cooperation with others. Imperialism did not belong in Gandhi's life plan.

He also emphasized the need for disarmament "in Europe, whether or not the secular part should commit suicide". Some must dare to lead by example. Contrary to what our military Storting target, Storting, just received clear notice from the US ambassador. Beyond security, isn't this just about greed and dominance?

enemy Images

Equally relevant is what the magazine Arr takes up in its new issue enemy Images. As Inge Eidsvåg describes from his small local upbringing environment in Western Norway, the neighboring island was the enemy. Destroying enemy images suppress – as he envisions lord of the Flies, Hitler's willing executioners or the Rwanda massacres. The point is that ordinary people are affected "especially from two conditions: obedience and conformity". Enemy images are seductive mechanisms – where the others "deserve to be punished". Steinar Bryn, also from Nansen School, has worked against the enemy images through his long peace and dialogue work in Europe's toughest war areas. His point is that enemy images live a long time, even ette rman thought they were resolved. If enmity is to change, one must focus on the local environment, home and school – a side he believes the West neglected in Kosovo.

Gandhi writes about the nonviolence line as prevailing between nations.

When, for example, should Israel humbly teach the school of historical nakba, the expulsion of the Palestinians? Or the Turks about the genocide of the Armenians? Enemy images are maintained on the common ground, or as mentioned in the Arr, in today's hate-promoting social media.

Kristeva is referenced in Arr from his book Strangers to Ourselves about the feeling of the stranger, as she was an immigrant in France. The stranger lies in the formation of language, in the myths we surround ourselves with. The callous, the "unholy", creates foreign fear. But as Ragni Indahl points out in the essay on Kristeva, there was once a tradition of being hospitable with the "protection seekers", the reassuring, strangers on the run, the refugees, who humbly pleaded to come inside – whether it was the walls of the castle or other types of community.

Autonomous community

Tolstoy's and Gandhi's nonviolence line has been brought forward. This peace work works. For example, American Rene Sharp stands for a pragmatic nonviolence line. In the recently released book Gandhi the Organizer by Bob Overy, however, Sharp is criticized for being more interested in "power-breaking" than in the contemporary and subsequent organization that Gandhi was so concerned with. The book mentions that in parallel with non-violence and non-cooperation, one should establish autonomous environments when moving towards – or preferably away from – existing power relations. As with Gandhi, alternative structures are required: "Autonomous structures can be gradually developed […] by taking over existing organizations and more generally expanding the sphere of an opposition civil society." Gandhi envisioned small self-sufficient villages, today this local can be continued (something Galtung has emphasized with its municipalism) in the city's neighborhoods, blocks and neighborhoods.

Finally: A few thousand years ago, according to Neumann, the steppes had at least "guest friendship", where they brought gifts to each other and were openly received and lodged – what later developed into trade. The question today is whether traditions of being siblings, comrades, cultivating brotherhood and solidarity can be established in most majorities – at the same time as isolationism, exclusion and populism are spreading. Or will kindness and hospitality mostly be found in our sleepy minorities, in smaller – perhaps more anarchist-inspired – environments?

Truls Lie
Truls Liehttp: /
Editor-in-chief in MODERN TIMES. See previous articles by Lie i Le Monde diplomatique (2003–2013) and Morgenbladet (1993-2003) See also part video work by Lie here.

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