Monday, March 9, 2015

Gandhi's Assassination: Some Comparisons

Gandhi and King:

I have previously posted some of the similarities between these two figures.  You can read about it here.  I don't know if I mentioned how similar they were in death.  ...Two day's before Gandhi's assassination, he said, "If I am to die by the bullet of a mad man, I must do so smiling.  There must be no anger within me.  God must be in my heart and on my lips."

And King, in his famous, "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech said, "Well, I don't know what will happen now.  We've got some difficult days ahead.  But it doesn't really matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop.  ...Like anybody, I would like to live a long life.  Longevity has it's place.  But I'm not concerned about that now...  I've seen the Promised Land - and I may not get there with you, but we as a people will get to the Promised Land.  So I'm happy tonight - I'm not worried about anything.  I'm not fearing any man."  King said this the day before his assassination.

It says speaks to their preparation, does it not?  To their convictions, their principles?  Add that to their long list of similarities.

Comparisons on other assassinations:

Of course, we can also compare the assassination of Gandhi to the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin in 1995, or the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981.  In all three cases, these leaders were assassinated because they were working toward peace.  Members of their own groups felt they would give too much away - and the pendulum would swing too far to the other side - giving their enemies the upper hand rather than bringing about peace.

If I have a class where some students still seem baffled as to why a Hindu (Godse) would kill another Hindu (Gandhi) when it seems like they should be on the same side, I ask them this question:

Have you ever been friends with two people who don't get along?  And have any of you been in the situation where one of those friends comes up to you and tells you that you have to choose?  Who are you going to be friends with?  How do you decide?  What do you do if, while stalling one friend starts making fun of the other behind their back?  If you join in, you're in trouble with the other friend.  If you don't join in, are you taking their side?

Maybe you said to the person demanding you make a choice: why can't all three of us be friends?  Why don't we try to work it out?

And what if  that friend replies, this is impossible?

That was the situation Gandhi was in.  And when he continued to argue for peace between Hindus and Muslims, Godse interpreted that as Gandhi having made up his mind - and siding with the Muslims.

If you want extra credit tonight for reading and discussing the blog talk about what Gandhi decided to do.  Did he make the right choice, or not?  Could he have done anything differently?  If so, what?  Have you ever been in a situation where you were caught in the middle?  How did it work out?

When you're finished, write a paragraph of some thoughts from your conversation.  Have the adult you read with sign the paper.  Turn it in tomorrow.

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