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A Stone for a Stone Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Hussein Macarambon, Japan Aug 13, 2003
Peace & Conflict   Opinions


Life is very short. It is indeed passing yet full of injustice that one can only wish he or she does not encounter a life-threatening force such as a throng of bigots. Otherwise he or she is forced either to run away or to face them with equanimity and strength. If I were faced with an intolerant group of juvenile hoodlums, I would muster up great courage to fight back or (this would happen most likely) just eat humble pie and flee.

In the movie Gandhi, Mahatma encounters young boys about to attack him but he goes up to them anyway ready to take a blow. This is what he might call passive aggression which had been the center of his struggle for India’s independence. However, to lionize Mohandas Gandhi would mean to disregard his people’s love and respect for him, and their own contribution to India’s freedom. These people had thrown down the gauntlet but the thought of losing an enigmatic and magnanimous leader as Gandhi stymied their violent inclinations (at least temporarily). This resulted in the granting of independence to India by its British rulers. It was the turning point of passive resistance when its influence have started reaching the shores of foreign lands where an immense need to battle tyranny and colonialism had been touched with a new light of hope.

Fifty years have passed and fifty years of change have brought an arguably new world. A world with new hopes, new frontiers, new global and local developments, new wars, new social maladies, and new individuals. It is thus wrong to say that non-violence fifty years ago is still equal to how people conceive of it now.

Today the term non-violence or non-aggression can be defined in a multitude of ways. It can be a “way of life”, complete subservience, passive aggression, or paradoxically, involuntary violence. It is germane to consider that non-violence is always a reaction to a certain kind of action, be it pre-emptive or subsequent to an action that is bad or, at times, good. These elements alone make the definition of non-violence quite elusive.

The brass tack of my argument is that non-violence does not encompass everything as opposed to Mahatma Gandhi’s presumptions on the possibilities of resolving problems ranging from religion to politics, from social to individual, through the principles of non-violence. I wish Gandhi’s optimism would put all our present problems in the past but sometimes people are blinded by their own positive outlook in life. I do not intend to debate with the great Gandhi nor do I intentionally decline his beliefs. I only want to express my skepticism about the efficiency and reasonableness of using non-violence to solve many of the present-day convoluted problems.
One example of the drawbacks of non-aggression to attain peace and democracy is the case of Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma. She has campaigned for democracy through peaceful demonstrations (a.k.a. non-violent uprising) but this has only led to her incarceration. After her release from prison, she found out that nothing has really changed in the system of her government and all that she has worked for has been fruitless. She now implores the military aid from the UN for the dispersion of power in Burma and the release of several political prisoners, including herself, as she has been once again abducted.

I can give more examples such as how the human rights movements in many Islamic countries could have improved if only the advocates of these rights especially women’s rights would be attended by attacking the patriarchal systems of society in these nations; how effective the suspension of beguiling diplomacy, I call it non-violent sanctions, between North Korea and the US; and how much more favorable the immediate lifting of the economic and financial sanctions imposed by the UN and the US on Iraq, Libya, Cuba, Sudan, etc. In this regard, I would rather support a quick military action rather than years of inflicted suffering on these people.

We should not be swift in condemning force or aggression as evil because non-aggression can become apathy when an immediate action is not carried out. Some may disagree with me. They may employ the cliché that violence begets violence. I can never justify the use of force as something beneficial. If I were to choose between violence and non-violence, I would choose the latter; but, only under halcyon conditions when I know there is an alternative to crossing swords.

Again when I am faced with bullying gangsters with menacing stones in hand, it is wise if I merely take flight – and then I will yank my bigger cousins and friends along with me back to the troublemakers and teach them a lesson that violence indeed begets violence – so it is reasonable if they stop aggravating other people.



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Hussein Macarambon

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German Augusto de la Espriella | Dec 4th, 2003
. That's a great idea, tank you for your interest and I like your opinion stone a stone German de la espriella

Re: A Stone for a Stone
Matthew D. Stark | Mar 12th, 2004
Beautifully put! I like your styles and ideas!

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