In addition to today marking the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, it is also the anniversary of another very significant (though perhaps lesser known) day in the history of the world. Sept. 11, 2006, marks 100 years to the day that Mahatma Gandhi launched the modern nonviolent resistance movement, called “satyagraha.”
Satyagraha can take different forms in different situations — indeed, many nonviolent practitioners believe, with Gandhi, that there is no situation, however extreme, in which it cannot work. There are certain basic principles, or enabling conditions, that most activists and scholars agree make up the core of Satyagraha:
* Means determine ends: we can never use destructive means like violence to bring about constructive ends like democracy and peace.
* Evil is the enemy, not the person committing it. In Christian terms, ‘hate the sin, but not the sinner.’ The clearest sign that ‘truth power’ is at work is when your opponent ends up becoming your ally, even your friend. Indeed, activists often discover that the more they can bring themselves to accept the person opposing them, the more effectively they can reach common ground.
* Our actions have far more consequence than the immediate, visible results. In fact, it is perfectly possible that our efforts may ‘fail’ to deliver the immediate result we want but succeed in doing more than we may have dreamed of.”
“The events that began September 11th, 2001, present us with a choice and a challenge: to respond with more destruction and hate, or to resolve to take our inspiration from that same date in 1906, when a different weapon to fight for good was conceived, and turned history in a new direction.”
On this day, I wish you all PEACE.