Recent political events in Bahrain have been heavily influenced by historical advancements and solid success stories. One great character that the Bahraini "peaceful" protestors have used is Mohandas Gandhi, an individual widely regarded as a champion of the nonviolent resolution of conflict. His views of nonviolence and violence have been explored in history by analyzing his concepts of truth and sovereignty. For Gandhi, nonviolence respects the integrity and autonomy of each of the parties in a conflict and lays the basis for future settlements which enable the parties to live together peacefully and in mutual respect. The Gandhi revolution has been used as a basis, a study guide or walk through for the rebellious protestors in Bahrain. They have used and abused the teachings of Gandhi, his ways, habits and his accomplishments to stir up a "revolution" that is based on a very easy method that could be called the "cut and paste technique". Gandhi's revolution has been taken out of context and put into one that is completely different, but before more details on that is illustrated, it is rather crucial to go back in time and review Gandhi's methods.
Gandhi's Civil Disobedience
Civil disobedience is the active, professed refusal to obey certain laws, demands and commands of a government or of an occupying international power. Civil disobedience is commonly, though not always, defined as being nonviolent resistance. It is one form of civil resistance. In one view it could be said that it is compassion in the form of respectful disagreement. Gandhi first employed civil disobedience while expatriate lawyer in South Africa against the British, during the resident Indian community's struggle for civil rights. He pioneered satyagraha which is defined as a resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience, a philosophy firmly founded upon total nonviolence. This concept helped India gain independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.
Bahraini's Uncivil Obedience
As for the Bahraini version, the protestors have utilized Gandhi's Method of satyagraha or nonviolence since the very beginning of the "revolution" while labeling themselves "peaceful" protestors, and used a phrase of "they meet us with bullets while we meet them with flowers". Even after some casualties caused by their uncivil obedience, they still refer to their movement as a peaceful one. The protestors were uncivil at all while obedient to their cult leaders. In reality, they had weapons, some held in their hands, others hid in their socks to stab the policemen, Molotov cocktail bombs, swords, and many more. This was one of the first ways the protestors abused Gandhi's method and principles.
The main goal Gandhi looks for is satisfying both parties to a conflict while honoring both positions. He would look at the principles of both sides, and agree which are valid and important to solve any problem. Gandhi believed that backing away from a fight was cowardly and sought to find the truth and deception of both sides and cautioned about a sense of certainty of one's position. He had the skills and effort to fight a clean fight yet being faithful to his principles. (ex. Gandhi had a famous protest called the Salt March where he encouraged people to go to the beach and collect salt crystals so they don't have to pay them with high taxes from the British).
The protest in Bahrain did not look at any kind of peaceful method to overcome the scare they have caused in the country. Instead they have moved from a "peaceful" protest to acts of terrorism and vandalism in the which is not at all what Gandhi has taught. In addition to that, when the Crown Prince of Bahrain has given them a chance for a National Dialogue to choose peaceful dispute over violent conflict, they chose the latter. Many of the forms used by the protestors were more like militant Hezbollah than peaceful Gandhi. (ex. The protestors barricaded roads, ministries and used violent guerrilla warfare tactics to be heard).
Gandhism: Principles, Practices and Beliefs
"God is truth. The way to truth lies through ahimsa (non-violence). Gandhi dedicated his life to the wider purposes of discovering truth, or Satya. He tried to achieve this by learning from his own mistakes and conducting experiments on himself. On the contrary, the protestors have used fallacy in reporting accurate news, spread sedition between the people and on the internet to add more fuel to the fire, and of course had no truth to begin with. The protests had 2 or 3 requirements that were met since Day One, and then proved that the whole "protest" was based on getting more and more from the government until they just called for its downfall.
Before Gandhi left for his studies, he made a promise to his mother that he would abstain from eating meat, taking alcohol and engaging in promiscuity. He held fast to his promise and gained more than a diet: he gained his basis for his life-long philosophies. As he grew into adulthood, he became a strict vegetarian. To Gandhi, a vegetarian diet would not only satisfy the requirements of the body, it would also serve an economic purpose as meat was, and still is generally more expensive than grains, vegetables and fruits. He abstained from eating for long period, using fasting as a form of political protest. He refused to eat until his death or his demands were met.
As for the carnivorism that is taking place in Bahrain, it's evident that many of the protestors made their way to the Pearl Roundabout to munch on shawarma's, burgers, and of course the mother all taboos, Mita'a which is indeed promiscuity. There were lists with women's name on them, their mobile numbers, their city/village, profession and EVEN their characteristics! Also, many of the Molotov cocktail bombs were made from old soft drink bottles and of course beer bottles, which a lot of them make at home and sell under the table.
Gandhi had a spiritual principal that he lived by which is that knowledge and work are not separate. He promoted an educational curriculum with the same name based on this pedagogical principle.
The three pillars of Gandhi's pedagogy were its focus on the life-long character of education, its social character and its form as a holistic process. For Gandhi, education is 'the moral development of the person' a process that is by definition 'life-long'. Again even the simplest form of action was misunderstood and altered by the protestors in Bahrain.
Bahrain witnessed the closing down of schools for almost a week, the rioting of teachers and students alike, in addition to students leaving in their school hours to protest; a scene where a child should not be close to especially when its violent and filled with hatred.
Ultimately, the so-called protestors have not only violated every principle that the legendary Mohandas Gandhi was known for but raped it. Despite them looking up to Gandhi and trying excessively to copy, which is seen in their protests, only they had discovered that the little man of India had big shoes to fill and it was hard for them to follow in it so they changed and altered it to fit their needs. Had Gandhi been alive today, he would be offended by the likes of the Bahraini protestors that have clearly disgraced his image and teachings with their pathetic misinterpretation.
Note: This article is not intended to downgrade any of Gandhi's teachings, but instead shed some led on how massively his teachings have been misinterpreted.