October 2: International Day of Non-Violence

Press review : week from 29/9 to 02/10/2008

On October 2, 1869 in India was born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. This little man would change the face of India, but also the world by leaving to humanity a wonderful example: the example of non-violence. Sixty years after his death, this legacy is still alive and yesterday, 2 October 2008, was celebrated for the second time the World Day of non-violence. Unfortunately, on this date the news has remained essentially violent and few media have mentioned the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The press agency of the United Nations, the instigator of this world day of non-violence, reports that the General Assembly dedicated its morning session to remember the examples of Gandhi, Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela, men who have chosen to fight by other means. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherji said that the principle of non-violence, from the Sanskrit ahimsa, included the concepts of fairness and equity, which means that « political and economic order current methods based on unfair and profound inequalities, is also a form of violence that requires an urgent solution (…).  »

The Mediterranean and European newspapers have for the most part not identified the importance of the date. Only the Palestine News Network (PNN) took yesterday advantage of the anniversary of Gandhi to discuss the non-violent struggle of the Palestinian people.

Questioned on this occasion by PNN, Sami Awad, Director of the NGO Holy Land Trust spoke about the resistance of the Palestinian people. According to him, non-violence is the best way for the Palestinian people to defend their rights. It is not a capitulation or a synonym for negotiation. Sami Awad did not criticize the armed resistance but stressed that non-violence is undoubtedly the best strategy in the current situation of the Palestinians. The Palestinian nonviolent fight, although examples during the British mandate, has really taken shape during the first intifada. In 1987, the Palestinian people then raised together with a common strategy and a common goal. Today it is difficult to achieve the same results when not all Palestinians have the same vision for the future.

In conclusion of this round of news on the day of non-violence, it should be stressed that non-violence is still far from stealing the spotlight at the violence. The United Nations may have introduced October the 2d to celebrate non-violence, but what does it mean if nobody knows. Violence sells, and non-violence is only handled by the specialized or alternative information media. A broad awareness work remains to be provided.