While there is no reason to believe that solutions to all problems flow from the barrel of a gun, there is no reason to believe that all problems can be solved peacefully. My grandfather, Mohandas K. Gandhi, an indisputed votary of peace and noviolence in the modern world, wrote in 1934: "The world is not entirely governed by logic. Life itself involves some kind of violence, but we have to choose the path of least violence."
Of course, the militants, the groups, the countries, and the international organizations protesting against the war (both the first one, in 1991, and the current one) will counter that they are (were) not protesting against America or the American people, but only against their leaders, the White House's policies, and the scourge of war in general. Still, when I read another paragraph in the article by the head of the M K Gandhi Foundation, I thought of the following:
- the castigating of Dubya and Rumsfeld et al;
- the cartoons and the editorials in the French press;
- the conversations I have with condescending Frenchmen on a regular basis;
- the pacifists and governments who only protest when Uncle Sam and/or the U.S. military is involved (directly or indirectly);
- and the same pacifists and governments who, conversely, ignore the bloodletting in places like Cuba, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Algeria, Biafra, Chechnya, Rwanda, Sudan, and last but not least, the killing fields of Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
If the peace movement wants to gain momentum, it must remember that its struggle is not against people but against policies; that the work for peace is a continuous exercise, and not just when war becomes imminent; that there are some issues that cannot be solved peacefully; that, in a peaceful struggle there is no room for anger, hate, taunting or any action that would evoke disgust; that the only weapons in the armory of a pacifist are love and suffering.