Edit: The core point below is that clashes of millions of adherents of different religions, i.e. Catholic versus everyone else, Muslim versus Hindu, are not new, and the past does indeed demonstrate that force of arms is an ineffective means–indeed a pathological means that makes it worse–for addressing such schisms. Gandhi, and Gandhi alone, has shown the way with proven success at the level of Nations and Peoples.
9-11 focused some of us, but not enough of us, on the monumental issues of war and peace such as have not occurred since World War II–the Cold War being, as Derek Leebaert documents so well in “The Fifty Year Wound”, a false war, one with enormous costs to all mankind.
I bought this video recently–having seen it many years ago–to refresh my memory on the essence of Gandhi and his proven concept of non-violent resistance. The DVD capped several years of reading in the non-fiction national security arena (see my other 470+ reviews on war and peace), and has proven to be the ultimate primer as well as the ultimate Master’s Seminar.
This is the movie to watch if you want to get down to fundamentals; Gandhi’s three basic lessons of war and peace as shown so beautifully here are these: 1) the only devils are in our own minds; 2) the separation of Pakistan and India, like the separation of Palestine and Israel, violated the civil order between Muslims and Hindus, and destroyed all that Gandhi had achieved: peaceful coexistence of peoples within a single nation; and 3) in the end, after great pain, truth and love inevitably triumph.
Although I was tempted to fast-forward to the current six-front 100-year war between radicalized Islam and militarized America on the one hand, and between impoverished billions and corporate America on the other, I paused to reflect on the past first. It was the Spanish who first committed genocide against the American Indians, who expelled the Muslims and then the Jews, who sponsored the Inquisition and the Crusades. It was the British who stupidly pitted Muslim against Hindu in their attempts to assert their imperial will–nothing makes them look as stupid as the movie’s coverage of how the “Empire” forbade the locals to take salt from their very own sea: the Indian Sea.
Now I fast forward to our current circumstances, with special reference to Jonathan Schell’s “Unconquerable World,” perhaps complemented by Clyde Prestowitz’ “Rogue Nation” (the US), and Chalmers Johnson “Sorrows of Empire”–and the other 470+ books relevant to war and peace today. Bottom line: boy, have we screwed this up. First off, invading Afghanistan made Al Qaeda stronger, not weaker. Second off, invading Iraq has made America weaker, not stronger, and inflamed the Middle East, Central Asia, Eastern Africa, the Pacific Rim, and the Muslim populations in the Americas.
We need a Gandhi. I cannot think of any modern leader who is even close, although the current Pope has certainly tried. This movie depicts, in terms stark and relevant, the opposite of 9-11–the clash of mobs driven by ideology or religion, completely oblivious to the core facts that Gandhi tried to teach: non-violence, love, truth, the Golden Rule. All else is evil.
If you have time for just one serious DVD, this is it.