19 September 2006


September 11th marked the 5th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in the US. In the publicity given to remembering that event, another significant anniversary was all but overlooked. A reader of this bulletin Br Lawrence Colaco from India reminds us that it also marked the centenary of the birth of Satyagraha.

"On 11th September, 1906; a young barrister named M. K. Gandhi stood on the stage of the Empire Theatre in Johannesburg, South Africa and announced a Civil Disobedience Movement for equal rights for all the subjects of the British Empire, immaterial of their race or ethnicity.

He called this movement Satyagraha. - insistence on truth - Truthforce. Born in South Africa, Satyagraha., for the past hundred years, has been used all over the world as a non-violent weapon of civil and political change, be it the Freedom Movement of India, the Civil Rights Movement lead by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., in the U.S., the Solidarity movement in Poland, the Liberation of South Africa lead by Nelson Mandela, and many more across the globe, they have all used Satyagraha to achieve their goals."

At a time when the failure of violence as a means of resolving problems has again been demonstrated eg Iraq, Israel/Lebanon it is worth recalling that respect, tolerance and non-violence are key values in any authentic expression of the world’s great religions as demonstrated at the recent gathering in Assisi For a World at Peace – Religion and Cultures in Dialogue sponsored by the Sant’Egidio community.

Click here for some further reflections on non-violence including Satyagraha.

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