“For someone who is trained in non-violence of thought, the whole universe is one family, not afraid to love someone who is not afraid of him.” Mahatma Gandhi
While traveling in South Africa Mahatma Gandhi was thrown off a train by a ticket inspector because of his skin color. This event led the young barrister to create a nonviolent struggle against discrimination, segregation and injustice for his compatriots in India.
I was just eighteen when my right to return and live in my homeland Iran was revoked. In the throes of revolutionary excitement and passion, the religious dictatorship that rules Iran today was gradually expanding and fortifying its position in my country. Every day I heard tragic news of execution, murder and assassination of my compatriots or got new updates about attacks on my homeland by Iraqi forces. During these years of exile, while the atmosphere of resistance and fight for freedom- both inside and outside of Iran- was full of violence, my thoughts and beliefs were getting close and closer to that great man – Mahatma Gandhi – who is the icon of nonviolent movements.
Mahatma Gandhi was an unknown nineteen-year-old man when he departed from his country, and he returned back to India after 20 years as the founder of nonviolent resistance. Gandhi founded the movement of the civil disobedience for freedom, justice, equality and prevention of war. He initiated and led the nonviolent campaign known as the “Salt March”, which resulted in the cancellation of British monopoly on the salt trading.
Mahatma Gandhi spread the idea of nonviolence to his people. The movement of “Leave India” – one of the results of the Salt March campaign that finally resulted in the Indian Independence Act on 15 August 1947 – was a turning point in the history of the nonviolent movements for freedom.
64 years has passed since the assassination of Gandhi, who is often referred to as “Mahatma” meaning “The Great Soul”. I cherish today, in the name of Gandhi, Justice and Freedom. A great man whose way of struggle for justice and freedom has always inspires me as I read each line of his books.
The beliefs of Gandhi will never vanish because his adherence to the moral principles of a nonviolent movement to achieve justice has become a source of inspiration for freedom activists around the world. Today, India is one of the world’s great democracies. She enjoys a stable and democratic government, social freedom, an independent justice system and a free media.
I believe in nonviolent civil disobedience as an effective method for bringing fundamental change to Iran because I believe that the outcome of such a movement will be pervasive and permanent. This cannot be referred to as a passive approach; rather it is an active and powerful struggle. These efforts are based on specific principals like the separation of religion and government, free and fair elections, governance by the people, and a progressive civil society. Such a movement is capable of engaging all the segments of Iranian society that seek to remove the religious dictatorship without vengeance and beyond any violent motives.
The Campaign of the Peace Activists in Exile celebrated on January 30th the memory of Mahatma Gandhi. This sends the peace message to Iranians and to the world which says “No to war, No to dictatorship and No to violence”. I warmly shake the hands of each peace activist and believe that Iran once again will be the symbol of love and peace and glory in the world. If we believe in ourselves, with good thoughts, good words and good deeds, we can reach our final destination where justice, equality, peace and freedom exist for every Iranian regardless of ideology, religion, gender and ethnicity.
God Bless Iran