Ahimsa and violent Intifada cannot co-exist
Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson visited the Palestinian territories recently, provoking some consideration of ahimsa in the Middle Eastern context. But the Electronic Intifada writes [via Infoshop] that Palestinian acts of non-violence are ignored by the international media, concluding that the myth of Gandhi is unsuitable in the context of the Palestinian reality. It also suggests that given the acts of violence by some parties, pre-and post-partition riots and the brutalities inflicted by the British authorities, India’s own independence was not achieved in a non-violent context.
The main fallacy in these arguments is the question of scale. The international media misses the commendable acts of Palestinian non-violence because of the rampant acts of Palestinian violence. As the writer himself points out, no one in the Palestinian leadership considers non-violence as an option. The noise of the intifada drowns out the exceptional acts of ahimsa, resulting in the inability of the Palestinians to prick the conscience of its own occupiers. The contrast with India’s independence struggle cannot be more stark – Gandhian non-violence was not only the overwhelming ‘battle’-strategy but also did not tolerate terrorism and violence coming from its own side.
Just like the Palestinian leadership, the Electronic Intifada does’nt get the point.