Ithaca Blog

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Non-Violence and September 11

Since 2001, September 11 has been an anniversary of violence and terror. But September 11 is also the anniversary of one of history's great moments for peace and justice: Mahatma Gandhi's announcement of Satyagraha, or a campaign of non-violent resistance, against racial oppression of Indians.

The announcement came 100 years ago, on September 11, 1906.

Ultimately, the campaign led to Indian independence from the United Kingdom.

The principles were adopted by Martin Luther King in the civil rights movement in the U.S., and by Nelson Mandela to end apartheid in South Africa.

Groups aroung the world, particularly in New York City, will commemorate the events together this year. In the words of one group, the goal is to show "there is another response to terror."

Before the invasion of Iraq, peace groups in England met with prime minister Tony Blair to discuss alternatives to violence between the west and the mid-east. Blair chose to comply with the Bush administration, and the invasion of Iraq rages on today, for a longer duration than the time spent by the United States in the war against Nazi Germany, with casualties worsening, and no end in sight.

Today, Tony Blair announced that he will step down as prime minister of England within a year, in the face of mounting criticism and opposition for his acquiescence to war.

Americans have seen the Bush administration obliterate the will of the world to condemn violence in the wake of 9/11 with its own campaign of violence, which has killed thousands of Americans and Iraqi citizens, ruined countless lives, engendered hate and violence, and solved nothing.

It's not too late to learn. Nor to act. Demonstrations and events for peace are being planned by New Yorkers for a Department of Peace ( and the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Non-Violence.

Find out more - and talk to people.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

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