Posts Tagged ‘Gandhi’
By John Scales Avery
The duty of individuals living under an unjust government.
There are many governments today that can be described unjust, and some that even deserve to be called fascist.
What is the duty of the individual citizen, living under such a government?
What was the duty of a German, living under Hitler?
The thoughts of Thoreau, Tolstoy, Gandhi and Martin Luther King can help us to answer this question. The Nuremberg Principles can also help us to answer it.
Henry David Thoreau and Civil Disobedience
We usually think of Thoreau (1817-1862) as a pioneer of ecology and harmony with nature, but he was also a pioneer of non-violent civil disobedience.
Thoreau refused to pay his poll tax because of his opposition to the Mexican War and to the institution of slavery. Because of his refusal to pay the tax (which was in fact a very small amount) he spent a night in prison.
To Thoreau’s irritation, his family paid the poll tax for him and he was released. He then wrote down his ideas on the subject in an essay entitled “The Duty of Civil Disobedience”, where he maintains that each person has a duty to follow his own individual conscience even when it conflicts with the orders of his government.
“Under a government that which imprisons any unjustly”, Thoreau wrote, “the true place for a just man is in prison.”
Thoreau’s “The Duty of Civil Disobedience” influenced Martin Luther King, and it anticipated the Nuremberg Principles.
Tolstoy: The Kingdom of God is Within You
As an old man, Count Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) had achieved all of the goals that humans normally set for themselves.
The Livia Foundation was initiated by The Danish Centre for Conflict Resolution with an aim to enhance its efforts to directly address conflicts in societies through nonviolent interventions – in Denmark and beyond.
The name LIVIA refers to the olive twig, an ancient symbol of ‘approaching peacefully’. Also, at the end of the biblical flood, a dove returned to Noah’s Ark with the twig from an olive tree to signify ‘end of troubles’.
The Livia Foundation aims to create hope by promoting nonviolent conflict resolution in the world:
• making visible all the courageous, nonviolent efforts in evidence on all continents;
• supporting projects and individuals who demonstrate that severe social conflicts can be efficiently resolved through a wealth of ideas and dialogue;
• inspiring politicians, media, organizations and the general public to apply constructive, nonviolent approaches to conflict resolution
• creating conflict preparedness, locally and internationally Economy and organization
The LIVIA Foundation has raised app. DKK 700.000 or well over US$ 100.000. The bulk of these funds is spent on awards and other events, while DKK 250.000 is tied up as the foundation’s statutory capital in the Merkur Bank.
The capital comes from personal donations, from the author fees of the book ‘Conflict and Contact’, from foundations and from the Centre for Conflict Resolution.
The Livia Foundation is a civic, non-political, non-religious, non-profit initiative. We work to promote new ways to support creative, constructive nonviolent conflict resolution.
The foundation is headed by its Board assisted by a large number of active persons, who are particularly active around the prize awards. All are volunteers.
More about Livia and who has been awarded its Prize earlier here.
The worldwide examples of nonviolent action are admirable, but only rarely do they reach the front pages of the media.
This is where the Livia Foundation is working to make a difference:
We will make the life-affirming ideas and solutions known to a larger public, by drawing attention and giving a voice to people working within creative conflict resolution.
Else Hammerich, TFF Associate and former TFF Board member, has been in the forefront of both the Centre’s and the Livia Foundation’s establishment and TFF is proud to help promote knowledge about it and identifying the best possible candidates for the Livia Prize.
See at the end of this presentation how you may nominate someone for this prestigious Prize. Read the rest of this entry »
By Johan Galtung
Mohandas Gandhi invented the nonviolent approach to basic social change, Satyagraha, in South Africa in the early 20th century; Nelson Mandela presided over the birth of a one person-one vote democracy at the end of the century. Both were lawyers, trained in English Common Law; good in the sense of a keen consciousness of what is right and wrong, bad in the sense of a court process identifying who is in the wrong rather than solving underlying conflicts, and wrong in the sense of punishing the wrong-doer; violence rather than cooperation.
Both built on the positive side of law – the indelible rights of the people for whom they were fighting by comparing empirical facts with normative rights; immigrant Indians in the case of Gandhi, original inhabitants in South Africa, the Blacks, in the case of Mandela.
Gandhi (1869-1948) did not live to see equality between Indians and whites in South Africa, but in India, his mother-father land; Mandela (1918-2013) did. They won their struggles – but the societies that emerged still suffer from other and major ones.
A deep culture united them: the culture of law. Read the rest of this entry »
By Johan Galtung
Let us start by summarizing. We are looking at six major leaders of forces and movements shaping centuries – Churchill-Hitler-Stalin-Mao-Gandhi-Mandela – comparing, two at a time. We are looking for similarities and dissimilarities. Some of them are out in the open, in their spoken ideologies. But most of them – maybe the most interesting–are hidden to the untrained eye. There are the similarities when they are from the same civilization and the dissimilarities when different – however much they profess to be on the same or very different lines. The six were themselves hardly aware of this factor.
As Churchill, Hitler and Stalin share the Christian-secular civilization; we would expect anti-Semitism, racism, and little hesitation when killing–by war, starvation (the Lord also did it), by revolution, millions – even with enthusiasm. Deeper down there are deductive reasonings from axioms about race and class and a final state: the British Empire, the Aryan Reich, for one thousand years, and socialism on the way to the final stage, communism forever; run from London, Berlin, Moscow. So we got the triangular Second World War with Moscow entering two alliances of convenience.
Enters Mao. He shares the word “communist” with Stalin (they still use it, long after it disappeared in USSR-Russia). But the Chinese civilization leaves its indelible imprint on that concept, giving the word a very different meaning, commune-ism, common-ism, doing things together, cooperating.
Enters Gandhi. An Asian like Mao, but watch out: there is no Asian civilization. There are West, Central, South–Hindu; Gandhi is here!–Southeast, East–Mao is here!–Asia; all very different–and a sixth, North Asia, Russian Orthodox. Read the rest of this entry »
By Johan Galtung
Who wrote this?
“The Aryan stock is bound to triumph”.
“The Dictator of the Red Citadel (Petrograd) – all Jews”
“The same evil prominence was obtained by Jews – in Hungary”
“The same phenomenon has been presented in Germany–preying”
“-the schemes of the international Jews /against/ spiritual hopes”
“-this worldwide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization”
“-it played recognizable part in the tragedy of the French Revolution”
“-the mainspring in every subversive movement in the 19th century”
Churchill did. Here quoted from Robert Barsocchini in Countercurrents in February 2015. His point was not that Jews were active in many places, the point is that for Churchill they were the cause of all the revolutions, the root of evil, not, for instance, feudalism gone mad.
What does Churchill, a top politician, believe in? (same source):
“-the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years”
“-100,000 degenerate Britons sterilized /to save the/ British race”
“-the increasingly rapid growth of the feeble-minded insane classes”
“Two fifths of Cubans fighting Spanish are negroes–a black republic”
“Gandhi ought to be lain bound hand and foot at the gates of Delhi, and trampled upon by an enormous elephant with the Viceroy seated”
Three million starved to death due to Empire policy. Churchill:
“why isn’t Gandhi dead yet?” Read the rest of this entry »
By Jan Oberg, TFF director
Lund, Sweden July 25, 2014
Violence is a dead end
Look at the violence in Gaza today, DR Congo (6 million dead), Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia etc: Isn’t it obvious that the world needs a completely new approach to conflicts?
We’ll never rid the world of conflicts, conflicts is part of human and social life. Conflict-prevention is a meaningless term.
But we can rid the world of most of its violence. If we want, if we educate each other and if economic and other interests stopped supporting killing as a tool in conflict-management.
Unrealistic? Hopelessly idealistic? Well, look at the places above and try to find the realism and hope there.
Look at the conflict not at the parties and the violence
It requires almost no intellectual effort to take sides in a conflict between A and B. If both parties use violence, that means endorsement of the violence – the justification both need: “They threaten and kill us, therefore we threaten and kill them.”
Those who support a conflict party who use violence also support violence. As long as violence continues, there will be no process towards peace – only more hate, traumas, suffering, wish for revenge and destruction.
Violence – not the conflict – becomes the main thing and tit-for-tat the rule of the game, with an increase in the violence for each round. Scorpions in a bottle, feeding each other.
Both those who are outside a conflict and debate it – for instance, 99% of the media debates – and the conflicting parties on the ground feed on violence. If A did not use violence against B, how would B justify its own killings?
Gaza today – both parties lose
This is where we are in Gaza today when reports tell that around 800 civilians have been killed without any positive effect, both losing.
It’s not about evil, it’s about desperation coupled with traumas coupled with a lack of insight and education.
This wrong-headed attitude is indicative of conflict and peace illiteracy: among the parties, our media and our decision-makers. Innocent people on both or all sides normally pay the price for it.
The world needs a completely different approach. It’s embedded in the UN Charter and called peace by peaceful means. Read the rest of this entry »