Nonviolence in Palestine

Nonviolence in Palestine
By Arun Gandhi

Arun Gandhi - Yasser ArafatNo one would dare go to a battlefield without proper training, equipment and plan of action. Yet, when it comes to nonviolent action it is widely presumed that anyone can simply walk into a struggle without any training, equipment or plan of action. It is also assumed that so long as one does not wield a gun, or resort to physical fighting that one is nonviolent. Nothing is further from the truth.

Most people around the world, including many in Palestine, feel that Gandhi succeeded in India because the British were kind and compassionate, implying that against Hitler or Israel he would have been killed even before he started his campaign. This could, perhaps, be true but only in situations of crisis management. Unfortunately, in the culture of violence we only take note of a situation when it becomes a crisis and urgent action becomes necessary. The power of nonviolence as practiced by Gandhi lies in its capacity to function both proactively and reactively. Gandhi would have done against Hitler what he did against the British – first build a relationship based on respect, understanding, acceptance and appreciation – making it difficult for the opponent to take ruthless action.

Because nonviolence is practiced without proper understanding administrations all around the world, determined to preserve the culture of violence, have decided to take ruthless action to quash a movement. When Gandhi said: “No one can oppress us more than we oppress ourselves” he was talking about the fear that inhibits us from taking bold and sensible

Liberation from fear is the first step in the Gandhian philosophy of nonviolence. The second step is not to wait until a situation becomes a crisis before launching opposition campaigns. Third, Gandhi was astute in reading his opponent and modified his struggle accordingly. At all times, the important thing to remember is that provoking the opponent is totally against the philosophy of nonviolence. In short, one must do nothing that would cause anguish or hurt in any manner. The purpose of a nonviolent action is to appeal to the goodness in the opponent. This comes from the ancient belief that every individual is endowed with an equal measure of “good” and “bad” and a person reacts according to the provocation.

When someone talks to you politely, one responds kindly. On the other hand if one is aggressive then the response too is aggressive. Two people under Gandhi’s training once had an argument that progressively got more and more heated. Finally, one of them was so frustrated that he spat on the other man’s face, provoking him to slap the culprit. Both went to Gandhi to resolve the issue.

“I wasn’t violent,” said the man who spat on the other’s face, “whereas he
slapped me.”

“Both of you were violent,” Gandhi admonished. “One was physically
violent and the other passively violent.”


Read full article here: Peace in Palestine