From Colin Rule’s blog.
Kristof in today’s Times: ‘“We see war coming,” Mr. Nkunda said, and he pulled out his laptop to show a map indicating that various government-backed forces are being dispatched to attack him. He added: “The only reply to war and ammunition is war and ammunition.”
I told him — a bit nervously — that such tribalism and fighting has torn apart a country that should be one of Africa’s richest. But Mr. Nkunda, who quotes Gandhi, emphasized that what counts here is simply force. “You go by strength,” he said.’
Whatever aspirations one has for peace, the truism that Mr. Nkunda speaks above cannot be denied. If someone responds to your negotiation offer with a fist, it is almost impossible to resist responding in kind. Likewise if they respond with a knife, or a gun, or a bomb. It is truly a race to the bottom, where a single player who defects (resorts to violence) can compel all the other players to do the same.
Only Ghandi proposed a solution — non-violence. I remain awed by the power of his faith and commitment, but I can’t get mind to follow him to that place. I think Kristof’s description of the Congo is a good example of the very clear limits of non-violence. Sad, but true.