posted on Nov, 21 2009 @ 10:44 PM
I was always a fan of Ghandi and passive resistance, and the influence of this on the Civil rights Movement and the anti-apartheid struggle (at least
partially). But then one reads history and finds repeatedly that passive peoples become lambs to the slaughter when their more aggresive neighbors
rise against them (and often the worst genocides are commited against neighbors: the Protestant/Catholic wars; the Germans and Jews; Tutsi and Hutus;
the partition of Hindustan and Pakistan, and in Yugoslavia and the current divisions in the Middle East).
I just read a case that makes me seriously question my pacifism as a moral dictate. It concerns the Moriori - the native people of the Chatham islands
east of New Zealand. They took a vow of pacifism (Nunuku) early in their history, and the elders refused to be swayed even when a tiny force of
mainland Maori threatened to over-throw them. The results were tragic, perhaps even more tragic than resistance:
"A council of Moriori elders was convened at the settlement called Te Awapatiki. Despite knowing of the Maori's predilection for killing and eating
the conquered, and despite the admonition by some of the elder chiefs that the principle of Nunuku was not appropriate now, two chiefs — Tapata and
Torea — declared that "the law of Nunuku was not a strategy for survival, to be varied as conditions changed; it was a moral imperative." A
Moriori survivor recalled : "[The Maori] commenced to kill us like sheep.... [We] were terrified, fled to the bush, concealed ourselves in holes
underground, and in any place to escape our enemies. It was of no avail; we were discovered and killed - men, women and children indiscriminately." A
Maori conqueror explained, "We took possession... in accordance with our customs and we caught all the people. Not one escaped....." " (Moriori
This little known, harrowing history is also better narrated on New Zealand History www.zealand.org.nz...
. Can one blame either the
Moriori or Maori for acting according to their established customs?
Perhaps as a pacifist, one shouldn't be too critical of the arms industry and gun-owners. One never know what "neighbor" may arrive from space.
Perhaps one could say that both overly aggresive and overly passive peoples face a risk of extinction?