The joke goes like this: The nervous patient asks the surgeon if the operation is a risky one. The surgeon replies that he has performed the operation a hundred times already. The patient sighs with relief before the surgeon continues: «…so one time I must succeed».
Well, fighting for peace and reconciliation never was easy. The joke was told by Henrik Syse on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Gandhi (2.10.1869), recently held at the Bjørknes College in Oslo.
Among the distinguished guests, we met the Indian Neekalanta Radhakrishnan, one of the world’s most renowned Gandhi scholars. He spoke about how Martin Luther King and the Japanese Daisaku Ikeda has continued Gandhi’s creed of non-violence. They both set out from the premise that religion is a doctrine of emancipation, transforming love into political action. Such people have a vision of a world of tolerance, where ethnic diversity is embraced and where all people are equal citizens. Even if it can’t happen today, it remains a dream on behalf of our grandchildren.
«Enemy images are seductive mechanisms – where others deserve punishment».
India, often termed the biggest democracy in the world, is described as «fascist» by the Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan. India’s prime minister favors the Hindus. In February he chose to bomb the province of Kashmir for the first time in half a century, followed by more acts of violence. As Khan recently expressed towards the United Nation’s general assembly in New York, the two nuclear power are now bordering on a possible large-scale-conflict – and internet and cellphone networks are blocked in the area in an attempt to curb the conflict.
Now, more than 70 years after Gandhi led the liberation of India, old concepts of the enemy are still very much alive among Hindus and Muslims. Should we therefore assume that it was a naïve congregation that shared its ideas at the event in Oslo, where love, unity, brotherhood, …
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