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This is not a book review, but the inspiration did come from a book I just received in the last week: Legacy of Love: My Education in the Path of Nonviolence, by Arun Gandhi. I cannot diary it as a book review, because I have yet to read the entire book. But the first early story was so striking, I had to write about it tonight.

I described it to a friend earlier this week. With a few edits (and a couple of corrections, additions and typo replacements!), this is basically what I shared.

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In the book, Arun Gandhi tells a tale of Mohandas Gandhi's return to South Africa in January of 1897. News of Gandhi's arrival preceded him, and a group of angry hooligans laid in wait for him. South Africa attempted to get the ships carrying Gandhi and a group of Indian indentured laborers sent back to India, to no avail. Gandhi wasn't going to be intimidated, and he wasn’t going to chicken out.

Naturally he was afraid, but submitting to fear is cowardice, and Grandfather despised cowardice more than violence. With great courage he began his walk, determined to not be provoked. He prayed for restraint to prevail, but the infuriated mob was ready to attack as soon as they saw him. They pushed the white agent aside and surrounded Grandfather. They began to beat him savagely, kicking and swearing in rage.

Though blood streamed down from the gashes on his head, Grandfather did not retaliate in any way. His peaceful response was not motivated by any articulated doctrine of nonviolence (Ben's note: which he had not yet developed), but by a sense of reason. If he also resorted to violence, it would aggravate the situation.

It is quite likely the mob would have killed Grandfather that day if it were not for the fortuitous intervention of a white lady who came to his aid.

The lady who rescued him was the wife of the police chief of Durban, blocking the mob with an umbrella. After some imaginative machinations, Gandhi was smuggled to safety. Some of the mobsters were identified and arrested, but Gandhi would not press charges. The police told him they'd have to release the thugs if he did not.

Gandhi refused.

They acted out of anger and ignorance, and if I do not forgive them, I will be as guilty of perpetuating hatred as they are.
Arun Gandhi analyzed the incident.
Grandfather understood that his decision to forgive those men would liberate him from the burden of revenge and compel his opponents to evaluate their actions. He succeeded in planting a seed of doubt in their minds. Perhaps they had been wrong to attack this civil and compassionate gentleman. Having them repent was more important to Grandfather than having them imprisoned. He knew that placing them in prison would not teach them anything. Incarceration would only make them more bitter, and their prejudice would take deeper roots.
(All of the blockquotes are from Legacy of Love, by Arun Gandhi. North Bay Books, 2003.)

The story brings tears to my eyes. That marvelous man sets a standard I could not hope to meet. But I admire him all the more for his deep principles and insights. Those came, once again, before he had formulated so much of his philosophy. He was much much younger than I am now, when that happened. Respect!

On to tonight's comments! (And welcome to our NN-returnees, and to our non-NN friends!)

From TrueBlueMajority:
Just because a comment is short does not mean it cannot carry great power as a rant, as this comment from Trix proves!
From foresterbob:
In Cheers & Jeers this morning, commonmass had this to say in a thread about Snowden and the Fourth Amendment. Very well put, in my opinion.
From psychodrew:
I'd like to nominate this sobering comment by corvo in Meteor Blades's diary about Obama's climate change speech.
From Dave in Northridge:
In Aji's New Day recap of this week's American Indian news, One Pissed Off Liberal did some creative reading of NMRed's  initial comment and side pocket marveled at the technology that let people who weren't at NN 13 know more about it than people who were.
From Puddytat:
In a nutshell, this comment by Robobagpiper is the very best assessment of the discussion on Snowden and his revelations.
From Dragon5616:
MinistryOfTruth tells it like it is about the media in Jed Lewison's front page post Darrell Issa just had a bad day: IRS 'targeted' groups with 'Occupy' and 'Progressive' in names.

I got a really good laugh from this ironic comment by stellaluna in weatherdude's non-political diary Derecho w/ 70-80+ MPH Hits IA/IL, Moving Through Nrn. IN.

From Rick Aucoin:
But, really, this comment from RocketJSquirrel deserves top comment acknowledgement.
From BeninSC:
Flagged by asterkitty, this comment (out of recommendability) by xxdr zombiexx skewers the NSA!
Top Mojo, courtesy of mik!
  1) "Stretch" is an idiot and a shill for the 1%. by OutcastsAndCastoffs — 171
  2) In a democracy... by Trix — 163
  3) I loved Greenwald's response: by 4CasandChlo — 156
  4) it's bureaucratic talk for by Lepanto — 135
  5) Ask him about dancing with another felon by chrississippi — 131
  6) Missing Deadlines in Miami, circa 2099 by JekyllnHyde — 131
  7) No, no, you're believing the Propaganda! by detroitmechworks — 125
  8) Well hell. I guess we (the United States by Lisa Lockwood — 120
  9) It's a vast conspiracy across the world by Dallasdoc — 116
10) With any luck, these exposures herald by MrJayTee — 110
11) I Don't Have a Clue by JekyllnHyde — 108
12) Thank you for this. Too often we forget that... by dream weaver — 103
13) False equivalencies, or comparisons, aren't by The Troubadour — 98
14) Interesting statement on Wikileaks by Lisa Lockwood — 96
15) A DNC has nothing to do with a rape kit by Chinton — 94
16) wow by Laurence Lewis — 89
17) Funny by Dallasdoc — 85
18) ... and the horse you rode in on. nt by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo — 83
19) It is the accumulation and the secrecy that matter by Mimikatz — 83
20) That was my question.   by dkmich — 81
21) This. Also not used as much in the US anymore ... by susanala — 81
22) This statement is bordering on ludicrous... by markthshark — 78
23) The notion that Gregory is a "journalist" is by blue in NC — 77
24) BTW by jamess — 77
25) It's shameful that foreign countries by Puddytat — 77
26) Neo-Libralism is a form of Neo-Feudalism by Ojibwa — 76
27) Great diary. How often do most Americans even by YucatanMan — 74
28) Very much agree by RocketJSquirrel — 73
29) nt by BOHICA — 71
30) Indeed it does. by twigg — 68
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