I recently posted some comments to an article regarding non-violence and revolution which seemed to argue that “good” revolutions are non-violent and “bad” revolutions use terrorism. It seemed a tad simplistic so I posted some criticisms regarding this and the author’s rather haphazard use of the term karma. The author did not take this is in a positive light. I didn’t think I said anything too harsh but apparently I can be more rude than I realize. So I apologized and moved on.
But then I read this post by Sultan Knish and realized I could have stated things much more stridently than I did:
Gandhi’s tactic of non-violence is often foolishly credited with the peaceful liberation of India. This claim would be more impressive if the British Empire hadn’t expired but was still around with a large retinue of colonies, instead of having disposed of its colonies, many around the same time as India. And considering the bloodshed of Partition, despite Gandhi’s best attempts at appeasing Muslims it was hardly peaceful. Yet despite the hypocrisies that have dotted Gandhi’s life, his ideas continue to have a powerful hold on the Western imagination.
Few would seriously argue that had Gandhi been facing Imperial Japan (whose brutal conquest of Asia he briefly supported) or Nazi Germany or even the British Empire of the 19th century, that non-violence would have been nothing more than an invitation to a bullet. Yet that is exactly what first world nations are expected to do when confronted with terrorism. Not long after 9/11 slogans were already appearing on posters challenging, “What would Gandhi do?”
We can hazard a guess at what the man who urged Britain to surrender to Hitler and told the Jews to walk into the gas chambers, would do. We can do better than guess at the outcome. The same outcome that surrender to tyranny always brings, whether in the name of non-violence, cowardice or political appeasement, a great heap of skulls shining in the sun.
Thanks, Sultan. You made my day.