ON PASSIVE RESISTANCE

During early stages of the Holocaust as scattered reports emerged from Europe about Hitler’s program of murdering each and every Jew, someone asked Mahatma Gandhi, the great Indian believer in non-violence who was a major influence in the life of Martin Luther King, how Jews should respond to the Nazi program. He responded that violence was not justifiable and Jews should work by their policy of peace and love to overcome hate in the heart of Nazis. I am reminded of that advice reading about groups of people in some American cities who oppose use of force against Gaddafi. I am NOT comparing Gaddafi to Hitler. The issue is: how does one respond to brutality, murder and possibility of genocide? Should we allow Gaddafi to march into Benghazi which is the center of the last major groups who oppose his rule? Should we allow him to proceed with a program of murder?

I have not not, am I today, a believer in passive resistance IN ALL CASES. Gandhi could use passive resistance against a democracy like England because there were people able to publicly denounce government policy and work for changes. No such possibility exists in Libya. If Gaddafi triumphs, thousands will be murdered. In such cases, we, as decent humans, have a moral responsibility to do whatever is in our power to help the helpless. Dealing with Gaddafi is NOT like the stupid invasion of Iraq. We have a clear picture as to what Muammar will do if his troops enter Benghazi and deal with the remaining rebels. If I am not a moral being, who am I? If not now, when?

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