The atom bomb has clearly demonstrated to me that truth and non-violence constitute the mightiest force in the world. Before it the atom bomb is of no effect.
The opposing forces are wholly different in kind, the one moral and spiritual, the other physical and material. The one is infinitely superior to the other which by its very nature has an end. The force of the spirit is ever progressive and endless.*
Its full expression makes it unconquerable in the world. In saying this I know that I have said nothing new. I merely bear witness to the fact.
What is more, that force resides in everybody--man, woman and child, irrespective of the color of the skin. Only, in many it lies, dormant, but it is capable of being awakened by judicious training.
It is further to be observed that without the recognition of this truth and due effort to realize it, there is no escape from self-destruction. The remedy lies in every individual training himself for self-expression in every walk of life, irrespective of response by the neighbors.
Peace will never come until the Great Powers courageously decide to disarm themselves. It seems to me that recent events must force that belief on the Great Powers.
I have an implicit faith, a faith that today burns brighter than ever, after half a century's experience of unbroken practice of non-violence--that mankind can only be saved through non-violence.
Peace is unattained by part performance of conditions, even as a chemical combination is impossible without complete fulfilment of the conditions of attainment thereof.
If the recognized leaders of mankind who have control over the engines of destruction were wholly to renounce their use, with full knowledge of its implications, permanent peace can be obtained.
If they or any of them could shed the fear of destruction, if they disarmed themselves, they will automatically help the rest to regain their sanity.
Thousands, indeed tens of thousands, depend for their existence on a very active working of the force of truth or love. Little quarrels of millions of families in their daily lives disappear before the exercise of this force.
Hundreds of nations live in peace. History does not, and cannot, take note of this fact. History is really a record of every interruption of the even working of the force of love or of the soul.
It is a force that may be used by individuals as well as by communities. It may be used as well in political as in domestic affairs. Its universal applicability is a demonstration of its permanence and invincibility. It can be used by men, women and children.
It is totally untrue to say that it is a force to be used only by the weak so long as they are not capable of meeting violence by violence. This force is to violence, and therefore to all tyranny, all injustice, what light is to darkness.
In politics, its use is based upon the immutable maxim, that government of the people is possible only so long as they consent either consciously or unconsciously to be governed.
I hold the opinion firmly that civil disobedience is the purest type of constitutional agitation. Of course, it becomes degrading and despicable, if it's civil, that its non-violent character is a mere camouflage.
If the honesty of non-violence be admitted, there is no warrant for condemnation even of the fiercest disobedience, because of the likelihood of its leading to violence. No big or swift movement can be carried on without bold risks, and life will not be worth living if it is not attended with large risks.
Passive resistance is a method of securing rights by personal suffering; it is the reverse of resistance by arms. When I refuse to do a thing that is repugnant to my conscience, I use soul-force.
For instance, the government of the day has passed a law which is applicable to me. I do not like it. If I do not obey the law, and accept the penalty for its breach, I use soul-force. It involves sacrifice of self.
That we should obey laws whether good or bad is a new-fangled notion. There was no such thing in former days. The people disregarded those laws they did not like, and suffered the penalties for their breach.
It is contrary to our manhood, if we obey laws repugnant to our conscience. Such teaching is opposed to religion, and means slavery.
A man who has realized his manhood, who fears only God, will fear no one else. Man-made laws are not necessarily binding on him. We are sunk so low, that we fancy that it is our duty and our religion to do what the law lays down.
If man will only realize that it is unmanly to obey laws that are unjust, no man's tyranny will enslave him.**
(article accompanied by photograph of the Mahatma Gandhi, captioned:
...power of truth)
*-LIVING IN VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA AS I DO, I DID CHECK OUT THE CONTROVERSIAL NOVEMBER, 1997 A.P.E.C. SUMMIT IN THIS CITY.
ACTUALLY, THE ONLY SIGNIFICANT EVENT I ATTENDED WAS AN ALTERNATIVE FORUM.
BUT IN LOOKING THROUGH THE VARIOUS DISPLAYS THERE OF LITERATURE AND PARAPHERNALIA AVAILABLE IN THE BOOTHS I FOUND THE FOLLOWING ON A POSTER OF BURMA'S 1991 NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE, DAW AUNG SAN SUU KYI:
"THERE WILL BE CHANGE BECAUSE ALL THE MILITARY HAVE ARE GUNS."
ALSO ON THE SUBJECT OF CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE IN VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA, CONSIDER WHAT YOU FIND IF YOU TAKE A BRIEF SIDESTEP HERE.
ALSO ON THE SUBJECT OF DAW AUNG SAN SUU KYI, RESPECT FOR HER IS REPORTED [HER NAME IS ANNOTATED BY ME] IN WHAT YOU FIND IF YOU TAKE A BRIEF SIDESTEP HERE.
TO CONSIDER AN AUGUST, 2000 TERM OF REFERENCE ABOUT MS. KUU KYI, TAKE A BRIEF SIDESTEP HERE.
**-THIS IS THE ORIGINAL ANNOTATION IN THE SUBMISSIONS TO CARDINAL CARTER AND THE CANADIAN AND AMERICAN AUTHORITIES INVOLVED. I WAS MAKING THE POINT AT THE TIME THAT I WAS DRAWING THE LINE SHORT OF THEN OVERTLY ENCOURAGING CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE IN CONTINUING THE "INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC WORK...ON A DIRECT BASIS" FOR THE WORLD'S CHILDREN BEYOND THE RIDICULOUS UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE DISENTITLEMENT PROCESS AFTER I QUIT THE TORONTO AREA PRIVATE SECTOR JOB (TO WHICH I WAS TELEPHONED BY THE OFFICE OF THEN-ONTARIO PREMIER WILLIAM DAVIS AND MS. CLAIRE GREGORY OF ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI'S CARTER ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER'S OFFICE) 2 DAYS AFTER THE ASSASSINATION OF ANWAR EL-SADAT.
DON'T THINK THE WISDOM OF THOMAS JEFFERSON IS PASSÉ YET IN WHAT YOU ARE ENTITLED TO FROM YOUR GOVERNMENT? LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD: TAKE A BRIEF SIDESTEP HERE TO SIGN MY GUESTBOOK.
TO SEE THE LIST OF CONTENTS FOR THE MARCH 14, 1984 LETTER TO GERALD EMMETT CARDINAL CARTER, TAKE YOUR NEXT FOOTSTEP HERE.