“An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind” (Gandhi). It seems like I’ve heard this quote a million times in my lifetime, but the meaning behind it didn’t set in until now. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was a world renowned political and spiritual leader and arguably one of the most influential people of all time. He pioneered ‘satyagraha’, the resistance of tyranny through non-violence and believed in and stood by this even in the most extreme circumstances. His actions not only led to Indian independence, but it sparked the civil rights movement here in America and Nelson Mandela used Gandhi’s non-violent methods to help end apartheid in South Africa. These weren’t the only situations where non-violence succeeded either, Khan Abdule Ghaffar Khan, Steve Biko, Aung San Suu Kyi and Benigno Aquino, Jr. used Gandhi’s non-violent tactics to win out over their enemies. Aquino even succeeded in freeing his Philippine people from the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. All of these victorious situations show us that non-violence does work, but only in certain circumstances. I could be naïve and say that non-violence is a plausible solution to the world’s problems today, but I’d be lying to you and to myself as well; and in the following paragraphs I’m going to elaborate on my views.
First of all, the majority of the problems that non-violence has solved in the past were centered on people ignorantly accepting racism and people being suppressed by non-desirable governments. As I stated earlier, Benigno Aquino, Jr. used the non-violent approach to free his people from the dictator leadership of Ferdinand Marcos. And in South Africa Nelson Mandela had to deal with both of racism and a non-desirable government since the country’s government was a strong supporter of apartheid. Another common denominator in all these situations is that the problem is within a country. Yes, they used the non-violent approaches that Gandhi taught...
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