Saturday, July 14, 2012

57 more reasons non-violence must always be eschewed...,



WSJ | A ceaseless self-promoter, Gandhi bought up the entire first edition of his first, hagiographical biography to send to people and ensure a reprint. Yet we cannot be certain that he really made all the pronouncements attributed to him, since, according to Mr. Lelyveld, Gandhi insisted that journalists file "not the words that had actually come from his mouth but a version he ­authorized after his sometimes heavy editing of the transcripts."

We do know for certain that he ­advised the Czechs and Jews to adopt nonviolence toward the Nazis, saying that "a single Jew standing up and ­refusing to bow to Hitler's decrees" might be enough "to melt Hitler's heart." (Nonviolence, in Gandhi's view, would apparently have also worked for the Chinese against the Japanese ­invaders.) Starting a letter to Adolf ­Hitler with the words "My friend," Gandhi egotistically asked: "Will you listen to the appeal of one who has ­deliberately shunned the method of war not without considerable success?" He advised the Jews of Palestine to "rely on the goodwill of the Arabs" and wait for a Jewish state "till Arab ­opinion is ripe for it."

In August 1942, with the Japanese at the gates of India, having captured most of Burma, Gandhi initiated a ­campaign designed to hinder the war effort and force the British to "Quit ­India." Had the genocidal Tokyo regime captured northeastern India, as it ­almost certainly would have succeeded in doing without British troops to halt it, the results for the Indian population would have been catastrophic. No fewer than 17% of Filipinos perished under Japanese occupation, and there is no reason to suppose that Indians would have fared any better. Fortunately, the British viceroy, Lord Wavell, simply imprisoned Gandhi and 60,000 of his followers and got on with the business of fighting the Japanese.

Gandhi claimed that there was "an exact parallel" between the British ­Empire and the Third Reich, yet while the British imprisoned him in luxury in the Aga Khan's palace for 21 months ­until the Japanese tide had receded in 1944, Hitler stated that he would simply have had Gandhi and his supporters shot. (Gandhi and Mussolini got on well when they met in December 1931, with the Great Soul praising the Duce's "service to the poor, his opposition to super-urbanization, his efforts to bring about a coordination between Capital and ­Labour, his passionate love for his people.") During his 21 years in South Africa (1893-1914), Gandhi had not opposed the Boer War or the Zulu War of 1906—he raised a battalion of stretcher-bearers in both cases—and after his return to India during World War I he offered to be Britain's "recruiting agent-in-chief." Yet he was comfortable opposing the war against fascism.

Although Gandhi's nonviolence made him an icon to the American civil-rights movement, Mr. Lelyveld shows how ­implacably racist he was toward the blacks of South Africa. "We were then marched off to a prison intended for Kaffirs," Gandhi complained during one of his campaigns for the rights of ­Indians settled there. "We could understand not being classed with whites, but to be placed on the same level as the ­Natives seemed too much to put up with. Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilized—the convicts even more so. They are troublesome, very dirty and live like animals."