the Spirit of Mahatma Gandhi lives through every nonviolent action

report on "Shanti Now" Peace Mission for Libia

On march 26 I have sent an email to Arya Bushan Bhardwaj , the Founder of Gandhi In Action International….

Dear Arya, I have been following the evolution of the situation in Libia and 
felt compelled  to think of something that could be done as Gandhi In Action in 
 Europe... Shall we protest? and organize some sort of "stop the war" 
 manifestation? Are there groups and NGOs moving in that direction we can join 
 and support?... After some search on the web, I came to the conclusion that 
 protesting and manifesting against the war would be, as usual, useless and 
 ineffective.. If the concern of the world is for the civilians in Libia, which 
 are victims and spectators of the conflict between the government of Gheddafi 
 and his opposition of armed rebels (that rashly expected his surrender, after 
 Ben Ali and Mubarak), it is not from the European nations, the NATO and USA 
 leaders to provide for the safety and protection of the innocent people, as 
 they are just competing to provide for their national interests on natural 
 resources.... an effective action can only come from the fearless and 
 nonviolent rainbow people of Europe. Therefore I came to this idea to launch....


SHANTI NOW IN LIBIA   Peace mission  for a nonviolent solution of the conflict  in  Libia .

 A few days after the outbreak of the war, it is evident to all that the violent solutions pursued by the leaders of the European nations involved, including the NATO intervention, is opening the way only to a gradual escalation of hate and destruction, with the potential involvement of all nations of the world, as the so called “humanitarian operations” to protect  the civilians  are, in fact,  motivated by the greed and competition for the natural resources of the area.

We all know that violence feeds violence and the spiral of violence and hostility of this war is expanding fast, manifesting collateral effects that are shaking the consciousness of the citizens of the world.

The time seems appropriate for us, as a network of Associations  devoted to peace and nonviolence, to take action, claiming the right to call the leaders of the armies to cease the fire in the region and explore alternative ways to solve the problem.

The flood of refugees that are reaching Europe at the island of Lampedusa, in Italy, with boats overloaded with  people trying to escape from the war, is creating serious problems to the inhabitants of the small Mediterranean island which are now outnumbered by the asylum seekers  and, at present,  plans to receive and host  these people are still uncertain and undecided.

The idea…. Remember MIR SADA, the march towards Sarayevo organized in 1993 during the Balcan conflict by several NGOs and nonviolent activists?  In this time,  in the same way and with the same principles, mobilizing all the nonviolent activists available, a Shanti Now March towards Tripoli could be organized in few days on the web. Some of the NGOs which have a relationship with the governments of European countries could ask for basic and logistic supplies  together with a political support for this mission, such as…

-          Accept  and pressure the Libia’s government  too for  a  temporary cease fire in the region to allow this nonviolent  people’s peace mission.

-          A free ride of the volonteers  from the harbors and airports  where boats and planes are departing from Italy’s mainland , with destination Lampedusa, to transfer the refugees to the tent camps organized in various military bases in Italy and Europe.

-          To free the seized boats arriving in Lampedusa loaded with the refugees from North Africa coast  and allow them to go back where they come from, loaded with the volonteers. This would represent  a strong message to the people waiting to flee and therefore could prevent  further departures.

The marchers could  gather at a certain location and from there, march towards Tripoli, with the help and participation of local people.

The solution for the Libia civil war should refer to the Gram Swaraj  concept, and  apply to the constitution of a Federation of free and independent communities, selfgoverned by direct democracy and a federal parliament  of the representatives of the local communities. It is a proposal that  can easily be understood ad applied  to a political solution for Libia as Gheddafi had already implemented a sort of federation of tribes and provinces…

All people in North Africa that have freed themselves from their dictators could agree towards a North African Federation of Communities and dissolve their national boundaries. It is the same solution we thought for the Balkans in occasion of the “Shanti Now Mission” in 1999, when Gandhi In Action proposed for Jugoslavia to transform into a Federation of communities to bypass the problem of the secession of Cossovo and resolve the conflict.

Gandhi In Action doesn’t have the capacity to organize and manage this initiative, but offers all possible support and participation to the Associations that could make it their own and be the point of reference to organize the expedition. Nonviolent Associations and activists  interested can contact the European Coordinator of Gandhi In Action International  Riccardo Gramegna (+39 329 2298 656

Immediately I’ve  got  the answer from Arya B. Bhardwaj….  Dear Riccardo, Excellent, if your inner voice say, please go ahead immediately, my blessings are wirth you, keep in touch with the progress, I am reaching Milan on 15th evening, Arya.

The proposal has been sent to different Peace and Nonviolence Associations in Italy and, up to today’s date,  only few sent a feedback of interest, while protest manifestations have been organized yesterday in several Italian cities….

We are still waiting for their response, while the proposal for the peace Mission is being sent to groups in Europe…

updates will be posted soon....


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Comment by Douglas Jack on April 3, 2011 at 9:55pm

Riccardo Gramegna,

I support your statement that present interventions in Libya are violent and uncalled for.  Libya like nations around the world including our own are wise to uphold its own system of values in the face of commercial-industrial and western coveting of their oil.  No nation in the world would tolerate the kind of violent attacks, which Libya is suffering from foreign armed insurgents and mercenaries as well as bombing of its peoples and sovereign territory.  Our Gandhi in Action commitment to Satyagraha (Truth-search) can provide some practical channels for the present impasse.


Are you with Gaddafi's Green Books in which he outlines their present or target system of community councils and other values upon which their form of direct-democracy operates?  A story which is not being told in our illiterate and exclusionary press, is of a large proportion of Libyan people in favour of Gaddafi's approach.  The Libyan government isn't supported by nor include everyone, which is a statement we can make about every government in the world.

One should revisit Saddam Hussein's Iraqi and regional Bath party which focused upon a similar system of local community councils in Iraq.  Our mainstream press never mentioned this.  I am not particularly in favour of these village councils (basic definition of the Russian 'Soviet') uniquely because they are missing the essential element of economic democracy. However no satisfying system of democratic (Greek = 'demos' = 'people' + 'kratein' = 'for the purposes of' or 'rule of') governance presently exists.  As you know from Indigene Community it is the foundation of economic democracy which makes political democracy possible.  Economic democracy is something that only those few areas of the world with intact indigenous sovereignty still enjoy.

As we are looking to support a Satyagraha (truth-search) non-violent process for Libya, it is important that we begin by including all the voices of Libya including those who support the Gaddafi led government and those who don't in dialogue.  We can publish these dialectic voices in all the media we have access to in order to break the mainstream media blockade for Iraqi perspectives. Gandhi in action will do best to support the expression of these voices and the wisdom they hold for their country as the core of any relief program.

Gandhi as a lawyer immersed in the court system, almost took dialectic (two-sided) expression by adversaries for granted.  I suggest we offer to mediate 'debates' between Libyan government supporters and those who oppose them.  Both Sides Now, equal time recorded dialogues  can provide a structure for recording and publishing the voices of Iraqi advocates and adversaries.

It is essential in Satyagraha to 'manifest' (make apparent through positive constructive efforts) rather than 'protest' (demonstrate-against) so I support your statement about protest as a no-go. Mohandas Gandhi's program of Satyagraha was led by economic collaboration among those who had been left-out of the British imperial system (the whole population).  Rather than street protest we can learn from this non-violent system of often hidden economic building.  We must recognize that our western controlled Facebook and other social media are being used as 'hate' tools not unlike what Georges Orwell portrays in '1984'.  In 1984 this hate is used as a medium for alienation and control.  We should be asking ourselves why our corporations are so hungry for control of the resources of other nations?

It is interesting that you mention both village councils and North African federation.  Gaddafi is known in Africa for his promotion of pan-African government yet this story is absent from the mainstream.

Let's support those initiatives already underway.


Douglas Jack



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