By Esther Sprague In August, Ashai Arop Bagat, a good friend and a native of Abyei, asked me to help raise awareness about and support for the (…)
I’m reading a book, The Peacemakers, India and the Quest for One World by Manu Bhagavan. I thought the following section does a nice job of illustrating the complexities of Syria that unfortunately are not new.
So in 1938, [India’s] Congress passed a resolution at its meeting in Haripura adopting an anti-war stance. They specifically charged Great Britain with fighting to defend their imperial interests, rather than the cause of liberty as they claimed.
Gandhi also wrote if not favourably of Hitler, at least of him as an opponent who needed to be confronted the same as any other. He counselled negotiation and reason and saw no reason why Hitler, as the British themselves with regard to India, could not eventually be made into a friend.
But as the forties dawned, so too died the realization that Hitler was someone categorically different from almost any other person Gandi had encountered. Gandhi had trouble coming to terms with this. His entire philosophy and way of life was premised on the ideal that anyone - everyone - could feel the kinship of humanity. By resisting opponents in a certain way - one that treated them with respect and dignity while simultaneously shedding none of one’s own - a certain empathic bond would be created between the clashing parties. It was Gandhi’s universal principle, and it meant that all people, in a sense, were one. All were capable of realizing the error of their ways, and thus all were potentially good.
Hitler confounded this view. Gandhi struggled with reconciling his deeply held beliefs with Hitler’s existence. Gradually, he came to see Hitler as the exception to the rule. Hitler was the opposite of everything that Gandhi stood for, the Moriarty to Gandhi’s Holmes. He was Gandhi’s negative and had to be stopped. But for Gandhi, there was only one way to achieve this. He counselled: ‘Hitlerism will never be defeated by counter-Hitlerism…If my argument has gone home, is it not time for us to declare our changeless faith in non-violence?”
Gandhi saw Hitler as the ultimate expression of violence, and thus only non-violence could effectively combat this kind of threat. If Hitler was beyond reach, this was not so for the millions of Germans who followed him. They could be touched, and empathic bonds built, he concluded.
But few understood these details of Gandhi’s thinking. To many people, even his closest friends and admirers, Gandhi seemed erratic. Many feared that the old man was in decline. To an extent, Gandhi realized his own marginalization and therefore named Jawaharlal Nehru his successor in January 1942.
While I don’t know the right thing to do for Syria, I know I hate war and violence but if I was being attacked on the streets of San Francisco, I would expect someone to use violence if necessary to protect me. It’s not easy and the Syrians, Sudanese, etc. have suffered for far too long while the world has watched. As a human race, we can do better.
Sudanese turned to the U.S. for a better life not only for themselves but in order to support their family and friends back home, and to advocate for help in stopping genocide, mass atrocities, and human rights abuses committed by an oppressive regime
An October 2012 Vanity Fair article, “Obama’s Way”, explains how and why Obama decided to engage in Libya, the role some of our friends played in making that decision, and what they all were up against. Perhaps this can help us as we think about how to influence US engagement in Sudan.
By Michael Lewis
Vanity Fair, October 2012
Excerpts from the Article that Explain How and Why Obama Engaged in Libya
By Esther Sprague May 13, 2013 - The White House has invited Nafie Ali Nafie, the Advisor and Assistant of Sudan’s ICC indicted President, to the (…)
The White House has invited Nafie Ali Nafie, the Advisor and Assistant of Sudan’s ICC indicted President, to the United States for high level talks. Since Nafie’s proposed visit was announced, reasons, such as the following, have surfaced almost daily to explain why the visit would be inappropriate and counterproductive.
8 things to learn about US policy and perspective on Sudan from Ambassador Lyman’s presentation at the Ford Institute at the University of Pittsburgh on March 7, 2013, an event organized by the Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition.
Communication on the Situation in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan State
I am writing to draw your attention and the world attention on the situation in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan State where there has been continued killing of civilians by Sudanese Government warplanes that has been dropping bombs targeted towns and settlements.