Friday, October 2, 2015

On the International Day of Nonviolence a Call to Gandhian Nonviolence in Cuba

"There is no hope for the aching world except through the narrow and straight path of nonviolence." - Mohandas Gandhi

Mohandas Gandhi was born on this day 166 years ago
October 2 is the International Day of Nonviolence in observance of the birth of Mohandas Gandhi that presents an opportunity to reflect on the continuing relevance of Gandhian nonviolence today.  Nonviolence it is argued has no political or ideological hew. President Ronald Reagan, a conservative,  gave a definition of peace straight out of a nonviolent paradigm when he said "Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means." Mohandas Gandhi, a self described social democrat who was denounced as a "romantic reactionary" by the Soviet Union, expanded upon this idea stating: "It is the acid test of nonviolence that in a nonviolent conflict there is no rancor left behind, and in the end enemies are converted into friends."

Cuba has been in the news regularly since President Obama announced a new Cuba policy on December 17, 2014 that could best be described as neo-appeasement. Thus far the fruits of the new policy have been disappointing, with a deteriorating human rights situation in Cuba and an emboldened dictatorship. Nevertheless, Cubans need to embrace nonviolence by not ignoring conflicts but developing strategies to confront them nonviolently not only in action, but in speech and in spirit as well.

Following the path laid out by Gandhi offers practitioners of nonviolence an effective alternative to war that leads to liberation and the end of tyranny by becoming soldiers of peace. If Cubans want to be free then they should follow in Gandhi's footsteps and resist evil without perpetrating evil deeds.

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