I have a pacifism problem

Mahatma Gandhi Ghandi GandiIf a pacifist falls in the forest, does he save anybody? I do not mean in the metaphysical sense.
If a hundred thousand pacifists fall, out of sight from anyone to witnesses their deaths, struck down every last one by anti-pacifists, do they increase pacifism or simply deliver their own extinction? What if it’s a half a million in East Timor? Or several million in a Turkish desert? If there are no witnesses to report it, no writers to remember it, no masses to empathize, there is no outrage, no call to common humanity.

Gandhi had the accruing outrage of the British people built on a century of brutal massacres of unarmed Indians. He also benefited from an honorable free press. Both ensured that Gandhi’s non-violent actions could spark an outcry and tip the scales of social justice. The Native Americans had no such good fortune, quietly annihilated far from civilization’s eyes. The Palestinians are not faring any better, interned by the Jews, suffering the steady attrition designed into concentration camps and Indian reservations.

My problem with pacifists such as the Dalai Lama is that their goals lay in another world, the next. Their escape for the Dark Ages would have been to proceed further into darkness. The answer to getting Tibet back from the Chinese lies not in relinquishing it. Pacifism may soothe the soul and calm our anger only that it allows us a serene death. Pacifism resolves the conflicted feelings we have about losing a homestead. It will not win it back.

As the barbarians breach the gates, religious leaders always call for non-violent acquiescence. The purpose may be to die with dignity, or else it’s the hopeful belief that “they can’t kill us all.” But history has shown, from prehistory to the present, they most certainly can. Look up barbarian in the dictionary. Their savagery extends beyond the scope of human beings to imagine it. Had that feeling lately about today’s unspeakable acts? Is it beyond your comprehension that elements of mankind might be immovably barbaric?

Perhaps you are of the mind that if barbarous cockroach man dominates the earth, it will be a world in which you no longer choose to live. But be square in such case about your call to pacifism. Others may not share your abdication of responsibility to this life.

1 thought on “I have a pacifism problem

  1. Eerie. I remember a book of short stories I got hold of when I was supposed to be studying in junior high, maybe sixth grade. More than thirty years ago, and I just neglected to steal the book. Nobody else in class would have even missed it. Had such neat stuff in it like By The Rivers of Babylon by Stephen Vincent Benet, but there was one story in particular, try to get the theme, it was only about 4 pages long. It was about the last hippie.
    Guy was explaining to some teenager about what the movement was like, had one of those now-dinosaur tape recorders, the first generation of cassettes, played the Beatles on it. Kid was kind of inspired but unsure, the old hippie gave him the cassette, kid leaves.
    As he is sitting there musing, his old hippie childhood friend comes up to the door, they had a code from school where they called each other Tonto and Kimosabee.
    His friend says Hey, Kimosabee,! He says Hey Tonto! then Tonto falls through the door with an axe buried in his back. Guy sits back down. Knows it’s the end, the rednecks have hunted him down at last. Redneck comes through the door following the trail of blood, sees Tonto laying dead, walks into the kitchen, Kimosabee smiles and holds out a flower and says as the confused redneck raises his .44 and blows the flower through his head.

    But of course, the kid has the tape, and the memory. All is not lost, or is it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *