Yes, the title is a preemptive tactic against charges of me being only superficially informed and the subject not being properly researched. I write this before I read all those editorials in hard and soft media, on the quiet and peaceful dignity with which the people of Egypt drove out an autocratic ruler who had the backing of the mighty big brother and the small brother who piggy rides on him. It's an emotional response, i admit. But i would like to have it out before my feelings are tempered by common sense.
“Amazing, isn’t it Sunny, that for 18 long days such a huge movement should remain bloodless, that too after the efforts of pro Mubarak miscreants to trigger off violence?” I told my husband.
“I guess’, he said, “it has something to do with the fact that it is a very ancient civilization. The inherent strength is what we saw these past eighteen days.”
I thought he’d hit the nail on the head. Nonviolence is possible only if you are strong. That applies to an individual and a nation. I thought of how Gandhiji baffled the British, both in India and South Africa, with this weapon. It unnerves the opponent – particularly if the opponent has some redeeming human qualities unlike Hitler. Mubarak knew the game was up, particularly since he failed to incite the crowds into violence, which would have given him a reason for suppression.
Today’s newspapers carried pictures of the peopleof Egypt helping the army to clean the 18 days’ mess on the streets of Cairo!
These are a truly evolved people. Wasn’t Nonalignment Nasser’s idea? Was not Egypt the first Arab country to accept the reality called Israel? Anwar Sadat had the foresight to see that Israel had come to stay, and when you cannot avoid the inevitable, it is best to accept it. That’s the only road to peaceful co existence. He took this policy decision knowing fully well it would endanger his life. And it did. He succumbed to an assassin’s bullet like Gandhiji did. Like many champions of non violence, he too had a violent death, sacrificing his life to the idea of a nonviolent Middle-east of tomorrow.
Just a couple of days back, I had to, out of sheer courtesy, listen nonviolently:-) :-( to an Indian citizen cursing Gandhiji for accepting Muslims like brothers. I could have told her that Gandhi was being pragmatic (like Sadat when he went for a truce with Israel). I could have told her that civilizations once evolved through invasions, the violence which followed them and the eventual merging of races comprising the invader and invaded into composite cultures leading to the happy ending of peaceful coexistence . Owing to a historical phenomenon, lakhs of Muslims have become part of India. Gandhi knew that we cannot and should not wish or will our Muslim brothers away. They have as much right to the subcontinent as anyone else. So the best and the right thing to do was to see them as Indians and human beings. That’s the right way out - to make the best of a difficult situation.
But it takes strength born of an inherited inclusive philosophy to rise to such an occasion and address a crisis situation in a nonviolent way.
What happened in Egypt validates the Gandhian method of resistance. Violence strengthens the opponent. Nonviolence disarms them, in every sense of the word.
Today, India seems to have shelved Gandhi. Hence, it is heartening to see another nation following his footprints. The great man would not have lived and died in vain if the middle east became democratic in bloodless coups.
Nostrodamuses of the world have prophesied that the saviour of modern strife torn civilization would rise in the Middle East. Could this be the beginning? Would the fever for democracy that is spreading in the Middle East now result in dispensations that embrace nonviolence? Will Islamic nations which unfortunately had been stigmatized as the breeding ground for violence become the epicenter of a new political philosophy derived from the Gandhian principles of a spiritualised (not religious, please) politics, where ends do not justify means and truth will not be compromised?
One never knows - - - -
I hope the post Mubarak Egypt will not disappoint.