was Gandhi right?

Via Henry Schliff
on Nov 11, 2008
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Right or wrong in his non-violent approach Gandhi helped to win independence for the people of India without guns or bombs and with remarkably few casualties, bringing active non-violent resistance into the full view of the world. Now a recent study written by Maria Stephan and Erica Chenoweth has gone a long way in demonstrating that non-violent resistance is by far more effective than the violent variety. The two studied violent and non-violent resistance campaigns from 1900-2006 and focus in their article primarily on uprisings in Burma, the Philippines, and East Timor. Their conclusion is, non-violent resistance has a 53% success rate while violent resistance is effective a mere 26% of the time. I am personally overjoyed to see that what the Mahatma knew intuitively or through his religious/humanitarian faith, has now been corroborated by statistical analysis. This provides some hope that we are a species moved by justice and equality.

Reading this study brought to mind the ongoing struggle of the Tibetan people in what may be one of the largest contemporary global tests of our humanity (not forgetting here, the struggles of people in Darfur and countless others). Will we allow commerce and trade with the Chinese semi-superpower to blind us to the sufferings of the people of Tibet? According to the study on non-violence, a movements success is based upon its ability to meet its desired aims. When Charlie Rose interviewed the Dalai Lama back in the summer of 2007 His Holiness laid out the desires of the Tibetan people. Their aspirations have obviously not yet been made manifest, not through any lack of trying but perhaps as a result of the western world’s unwillingness to rebuke the Chinese government in any substantial way. Thankfully the Dalai Lama has always called for peaceful negotiation, but what will happen in his absence?

Here in the States under a new administration perhaps we can begin working for more non-violence in the world through the development of programs and departments focused on the spread of peace and not war. Programs that will support non-violent struggles against oppression.

And here’s a video link to Aung San Suu Kyi giving a fantastic assessment why non-violence is so important.

department of peace


About Henry Schliff


7 Responses to “was Gandhi right?”

  1. tom weathers says:

    good stuff, nephew

  2. Tim Crosby says:

    Mr. Waylon
    I enjoy checking out your elephants and though I currently have nothing to advertise I send you courage to please continue.
    Ala Mohandas, and this is just an opening, at some point will you be the brave one to flush the follicles of our comrades and mention the P-word (Palestinians) in future references to the blood and knuckle survival struggles for land and life that continue apace. I feel at times that the mediasphere focus on the catastrophes ongoing in Tibet and at least one place at any given time in Africa serve to divert awareness from complicity we Americans share in the since 1948 facts on the ground disaster being visited upon Palestine. This likewise for the continuing appropriation of resource and land base of indigenous tribes here and around the world.
    May we all embrace the Satyagraha necessary to say the strong words we are informed to say. May we recognize our vested tribal interests to be not less than those of all our relations’ (the Earth). Messaianic mythologies notwithstanding.

  3. Rudrani says:

    Non-violence also known as AHIMSA is very powerful. It is more then just ‘not harming’ people phyiscally. It is control of the mind and thus give ones the deep realization of how ‘things’ work. True Ahimsa is ultimatly control of the subconscious mind(which is yoga). IT should be noted that Ahimsa is but ONE of the Yamas in the PRACTICE of Raja Yoga and is but a begining to liberation.

  4. Yancie says:

    Henry, this is impressive. Your mom would be very proud of you. I am, too.

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