FORTY FIRST DAY REPORT
GANDHI SWARAJ PADYATRA
by Jeff Knaebel, sojourner free
28 September 2009
To me Truth is God & there is no way to find Truth except the way of non-violence. (Mahatma Gandhi in Tendulkar 1960)…
For a non-violent person, the whole world is one family. He will thus fear none, nor will others fear him. (Tendulkar 1960)…
Obedience to the law of bread labor will bring about a silent revolution in the structure of society. (Tendular 1960)…
Oppression thrives only when the oppressed submit to it. (Tendulkar 1960)…
Peace enforced by police & military will emasculate us still further. (Tendulkar 1960)…
Human life being an undivided whole, no line can be drawn between its different cultures, nor between ethics & politics. (Tendulkar 1960)…
If my non-violence is to be propagated, I must acquire greater control over my thoughts. (Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi).
This writer believes that the last quotation above is both the solution and also the greatest challenge of our dilemma as a species, since “We must be the change we wish to see.” We can only evolve to higher level of consciousness necessary for our survival by each one of us gaining control of the mind.
Today we left Timbi for Shillai at 0416 hrs. Except for the first kilometer back to the Naira River crossing, we faced a relentless uphill pitch of trucks in first gear gradient.
We arrived at Shillai at 0931hrs, with Jeff almost ready to collapse from exhaustion. The old grey mare ain’t what she used to be. Our host Sri Rambhaj Tomar arranged a room for us at the PWD guesthouse.
A raucus band plays for a marriage party of drunken revelers who try to force their way into our room. The room condition itself cannot be described without risk of hurt feelings. This is no reflection on Sri Rambhaj, who was eminently sincere and earnest in caring for us – it is rather a reflection on the PWD.
We rested, bathed and did laundry and shopping for fruits and medicines. Two of us slept in chairs and two on the double bed in our small room.
Interestingly, Jeff’s 101st day of statelessness coincides with the date of this year’s Dassera, the sacred Hindu festival at the end of the nine days of Navaratri which symbolize the victory of Lord Ram over Ravana, of good over evil. For me, this simultaneity is an auspicious sign that today, “the first day of the rest of my life” augurs well for a life continuing to be free of State slavery.
In the evening we presented our program to an assemblage of village elders and leaders.
ADDENDUM TALKING POINTS
by Jeff Knaebel while walking the Gandhi Swaraj Padyatra
August and September 2009
The greatest menace to the world today is the growing, exploiting, irresponsible imperialism (Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi). [Today, imperialism is deployed behind the veil and euphemism of “globalization.”]
These additions to the Talking Points link on our Padyatra website have been developed through interactions with villagers, teachers and professors, activists and supporters who gave us more insights into systematic corporate exploitation and destruction.
They are presented here in no particular order, and the dear reader is asked to bear with repetitions and overlaps – this is being written usually at the end of long days of walking and presenting, sometimes sitting on the floor, sometimes propped up against a grain bag, sometimes on a board held across the knees, always tired.
• There is only one nonviolent way to deal with a violent and abusive relationship in which you are the victim. And that one way is to leave it. We must leave, quit, abandon a system-structure of violent rule by corporations and adopt the way of Hind Swaraj.
• Would you invite a gang of thugs into your own home, set up a theatre stage for them, and pay them to perform their violent actions for the viewing of the innocent minds of your children? Would you then have them invite your children onto the stage to learn their violent methods?
Well, this is what we do when we turn on the TV and the video game and allow our children to view and participate in its obscenities and gratuitous violence. Thus do young minds come to accept that insane violence is normal and acceptable human behavior.
• A personal story. I was flying as a volunteer pilot in a campaign to stop a World Bank and American industry financial collaboration to cut down the last remaining old growth virgin forest of the Sierra Occidental of northern Mexico. The business plan was to feed these great and ancient trees to a pulp paper mill.
In this forest lived one of the last remnants of Tarahumara Indians.
A Tarahumara elder came to the speaker’s podium of a big conference at the University of Chihuahua. Holding a cheap pulp magazine – a transmission of rubbish – in one hand, he spoke quietly to the audience of businessmen, bureaucrats, bankers and financiers, and us environmental activists.
The Tarahumara said, “You people are cutting the last of my people’s forest. The forest is the life of my people. When you have cut the last of our trees, we will die, and you will read this.”
TV images on the same day in Chihuahua City were showing American bombs raining death on Iraq during the Gulf war of Bush the Elder.
I was an American. This destruction – of a great forest in Mexico, and a civilization in Iraq – was being carried out in my name and with my tax money. The weight on my heart was too great.
I made the decision that day to leave my country forever, and to come to India in search of wisdom and Truth.
• For industrial civilization, indigenous people and villagers who live by subsistence livelihoods as dwellers in the land are irrelevant and superfluous, fit only to be wasted.
• We must lift the veil from our eyes and see the reality of this so-called “civilization.” It is set up as a corporate system-structure designed only to exploit and extract for money profit. The corporate structure allows men to act on the basis of their greed without accountability or responsibility to humanity and the human commons. It is an anti-social, anti-life institution of structural violence. Its violence is so obscene that it can be sustained by lies only. In the century just past the corporate-state nexus murdered an estimated 230 million people, the majority of whom were women and children.
• Wetiko is a disease that displaces love in favor of greed.
• Native American people, to whom I have devoted most of my work during last 35 years, refer to us white people as “Younger Brother,” in the sense of youth without wisdom. They say we are the carriers of a disease they call “Wetiko,” the disease of cannibalism. It is a highly infectious mental disease that has by now spread throughout almost all of humanity. Its vector is the mass media of TV and corporate controlled news media. Its executioner is the Corporate Warfare State.
• How can we expect to survive when our science, technology, industry, finance, and governments are all organized into a giant mechanized War on Nature?
• We must understand that this system-structure is non-human. It is a heartless, soulless machine that cannot feel, cannot love, cannot touch the earth, suffers neither shame nor guilt because it is without conscience and cannot know compassion for living beings. It is designed only to accrue money profit or political power for its revolving door operators – no matter the operators may change from time to time, the machine continues its relentless destruction. It is like a train that keeps coming even as its drivers are changed in rotation.
We cannot negotiate with a non-human machine which has no vision of a livable future. We cannot succeed by litigating within the frame of rules it imposes upon us. We can only withdraw our participation in its functions and build our own self-reliant lives.
Today we walked 16 km – tally 728.
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