Sunday, July 21, 2013

Who was Right - Mahatma Gandhi or Che Guevara? Question of Violence vs Nonviolence, by Cecilia Brainard

It is 2013 and I continue to ask the same question about Violence vs Nonviolence, which I had asked years ago. I simply don't have the answer.

I'm reprinting here some earlier thoughts I had about the matter:

1.  Mahatma Gandhi Quote - (from my May 10, 2013 post)

"When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it--always." ~Mahatma Gandhi

2. In June 18, 2011   I was asked by a newspaper interviewer, what question would I ask the Philippine National Hero, Jose Rizal, if I could. Here is my question:

 Peace or revolution? “Knowing what happened to the Philippines after your death, which would have been more effective in achieving independence from Spain - non-violence as Gandhi used, or a bloody revolution?

Jose Rizal did not join the revolution; he sought reforms from the Spanish government. Would the Spanish government have given reforms if the Filipinos had not fought? Would non-violent means as Gandhi used, have worked? Or would the Spanish government have simply crushed and oppressed the Filipinos further if they tried to get reforms peacefully?” — Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Author

3.  From my June 7, 2009 Blog Entry: Working For Freedom - Violence vs Nonviolence

I've been thinking about Che Guevara (again) and how he chose to pick up the gun. I've been comparing him to people like Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi who have chosen nonviolence. I am not sure which is the more effective way. One wants to say that nonviolence is the way, but I wonder how many people have chosen this path and died and were never even heard of. I wonder if in some cases revolution is more effective in wresting freedom from the ones holding it.

I'm thinking about those empires in Egypt and in Turkey that swept in and replaced old empires; these did not happen peacefully. Alexander the Great, the Ottomans, and others had armies; they fought and conquered.

I agree that the more noble activity is to change the heart and mind, the actual chemistry of a human being - and this is what Gandhi, King, and Kyi have/are doing. But I think this works only with the help of the media.

When the media is repressed as in China and Burma, the world barely knows of the struggles for freedom within those countries. People die in those countries for their causes, and we don't even know of them.

Does change still happen even in these cases?

I'd read about how the anger of the oppressor is diminished when the oppressed does not fight back, but takes it. Theoretically, the oppressor runs out of anger.

Could this be true?

And yes, of course I'm still jetlagged, which is probably why I fill my brain with such conundrum.

Here is an addendum, things did change in Burma or Myanmar in the last couple of years, with the military giving some concessions such as  the release of political prisoners including Suu Kyi, and less repression. However, the two-year old democracy is still being assessed.

All for now,
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tags: Mahatma Gandhi, Che Guevara, war, peace, Violence vs nonviolence, God, love, Martin Luther King, Aung San  Suu Kyi, Myanmar, Burma

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