This is a reminder to those who believe in targeting of civilians as justifiable under doctrines of rules of engagement, sedition, laws that restrict freedoms and rising totalitarianism.
Gandhi and India’s experience of totalitarianism was felt most harshly through the British Empire. This was touted as a democratic system. When totalitarianism replaces democratic rights then the people are in danger of becoming targets. Propaganda can demonise anyone as a ‘terrorist’, ‘provocateur’, ‘dissident’ or whatever label is chosen. Bullying uses labels to demonise and undermine the other party as the ‘evil other’. It is a tactic to make wrong the other and open up acceptance to harm that other. It may state they are inferior, terrorists, dangerous, law breakers (criminalised) as a means of creating an enemy to place them on the defensive rather than solving the problem as is understood in conflict resolution. When power is no longer representative of the people it becomes the weapon of those who wish to retain power, it becomes total when they want all consuming power without any counterveiling viewpoints as this is viewed as a ‘threat’ rather than an opponent who will show them to themselves. Always the one critical is a teacher, you can look within for true or untrue but always they assist in the expansion of consciousness. That is why we have opposition as it moves us towards unity in truth.
This scene out of Richard Attenborough’s movie ‘Gandhi’ is about the Jallianwala Bagh massacre which was an example of targeting of civilians by the military under the guise that disobedience (self rule) was an enemy of the state (Britain) and it was believed that ‘zero tolerance’ was the way to ensure there was no rebellion no matter the harsh conditions many Indian’s lived under.
General Dwyer the soldier who ordered the massacre is interviewed by a panel in the end, it is very noteworthy as it shows how blind totalitarianism is. Beware of voices that are a wolf in sheeps clothing – promising progress, advancement
The message from this time is for India as well given the situation in Kashmir. There are real lessons to be learned about what democracy looks like and how we treat those who are different from us. Yet when pain is felt it is felt the same by any person no matter colour, creed, religion and culture.
I spoke about this in my latest video as it felt important. If we want democracy we must speak up and ensure that all parties are heard, that we find peaceful pathways to resolve conflict between those in power and civilians.