Why Libya No Fly Zone may be a pathway to peace...
"Gandhi said flatly that if a madman is raging through a village with a sword (read: assault rifle — or Glock Automatic) he who "dispatches the lunatic" will have done the community (and even the poor lunatic) a favor.
Open warfare has already broken out: the scale and stage of the violence are extreme. Yet there is still a way to respond that, while extremely difficult to pull off, could be called nonviolent. We in the nonviolence field will recognize this as a "madman with a sword" analogy. Gandhi said flatly that if a madman is raging through a village with a sword (read: assault rifle — or Glock Automatic) he who "dispatches the lunatic" will have done the community (and even the poor lunatic) a favor. Here are Gandhi's exact words, from The Hindu, 1926:
Taking life may be a duty…. Suppose a man runs amok and goes furiously about, sword in hand, and killing anyone that comes in his way, and no one dares capture him alive. Anyone who dispatches this lunatic will earn the gratitude of the community and be regarded as a benevolent man.
From other sources, however, we see that to use lethal force without actually being violent is extremely tricky. Remember always, by the way, that we are talking about an extreme emergency. One cannot prepare to use lethal force against such a situation because if one has time to prepare one can prepare nonviolence. Arming airline pilots in case there are hijackers does not count. That understood, several other conditions must be met:
One must act as far as possible without anger or fear. One must harbor no hatred of the deranged party. Even lunatics are people.
One must not complain if one is injured in the process. Life will not always appear fair to our limited vision.
And by far the most important condition: One must not feel that s/he has solved the problem once the maddened person is successfully stopped and innocents protected. Instead, one must dedicate some serious time and effort, to asking how we have created a world where this can happen — and how to change it.
This last, crucial point brings us squarely to the second question. As things are, we have very few options that are not military. Conceivably, the Arab League or some other trusted party could offer to mediate; if the tension were to somehow subside a superb mediation agency like TRANSCEND could also be used. But hatreds are so high now that neither side is likely to call in such a resource. If, or to the extent that, one could intervene with force in the spirit described above and, for example, impose a ceasefire, it could be considered a nonviolent act. Remember that the literal meaning of ahiṃsā (nonviolence) is actually "the absence of the desire to injure." In other words, if one really acts to protect and not to punish, one is being nonviolent even while using coercive force. But how many of our military personnel are trained not to hate and dehumanize their intended victims? Alas, their training is precisely the reverse. It's as bad as the "training" young people get from video games — but that must be the subject of another article."