Greenpeace Southeast Asia

Marking Gandhi’s birthday by Chuck Baclagon
October 2, 2009, 4:14 am
Filed under: Greenpeace Core Values, Stop climate change | Tags: , , , ,

From Making Waves

One of our Communications Managers, Prajna Khanna, writes:

With the simple act of making salt, Gandhi concluded one of the most successful Non violent protests in History – the Salt march. He mobilised millions with his vision of a free state, symbolized by the freedom to make salt – the essence of Indian food. The United Nations marks the anniversary of Gandhi’s birth today as International day of Non Violence. And Greenpeace marks it with 22 activists in Svalbard – near the top of the world — by blocking a shipment of coal..

Gandhi’s non-violent protests were part of the struggle to gain India its independence from foreign rule. Greenpeace’s vision is for the future of the Earth. I grew up to the sounds of “vaishove janto” (Gandhi’s favourite hymn) with a Gandhian scholar as a mother and a grandfather who lived and breathed the principles of the Mahatma in every aspect of his life. My natural instinct was to steer far away from any means of livelihood that would have a mention of Gandhi or Nonviolence.

So what do I do? I join Greenpeace (more by accident than intent) and become part of an organization for which “business as usual” is the practice and mastery of the lofty and incredibly difficult principles of non violent action. When the basic human instinct is aggression in the face of danger, I am in awe of the activists who stand, calm yet firm, when confronted with extremely agitated people, just because of a belief in the right to a planet not devastated by an unthinking lifestyle.

I came to Greenpeace, expecting (like many) to find lentil munching, dreadlocked hippies, hugging trees. Instead I have had the privilege to work with unbelievably intelligent, committed colleagues: scientists and campaigners, communication specialists and sea farers – who at a moment’s notice will navigate their way to disaster zones to assist in bringing relief or put their own lives in danger for the sake of a green and peaceful planet.

My country is free because Gandhi had the courage to take action. My hope today is that enough people will have that same courage to save our planet from the destruction of global warming.


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