Tag Archives: Africa

Rest Well Golden Eagle, – in memory of Nelson Mandela


Português: Brasília - O presidente da África d...
Português: Brasília – O presidente da África do Sul, Nelson Mandela, é recebido na capital federal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people, his country, he can rest in peace.

“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”
—–>>>
South Africa’s first black President who led his country out of apartheid died at the age of 95 today. Tributes are pouring in from all over the world as the general sense is that “A great light has gone out”.   Mandela’s greatest powers and values could not be taken away from him during his lifelong struggle for freedom. In his simple humanity he was able to harness the force of love. He loved the case for which he fought for both his country and fellow countrymen, – in ways only a few were able to do before in history.
There was no ceiling or limit towards his efforts of dismantling South Africa’s system of apartheid which institutionalised racism in extreme varieties. In all this he became an international symbol of reconciliation and human rights.
Therefore Mandela never forgotten under the stone. Time has its favours and so has clay its own, but his legacy will be remembered through the generations.
He exercised his power eventually with gratitude and humility, which kept him connected with both many of black and white South Africans.
The transition of South Africa without major civil war has been actually a miracle considering the existing dynamics at the time where only a few made the real difference.  Nelson Mandela was one of them and in his capacity as the first black South African President he had to balance at all sections of life and did reach out to both black and white. He did this with wisdom , determination, love and generosity.
Many people in South Africa did resonate with his example of leadership and the nature of this leadership was the trigger of making the nearly impossible possible.
Depending on the way his legacy and love to make such difference will last in the hearts and minds of the South African people will decide the way this new South Africa will continue to develop in the spirit of “his founding father”.
He said once: ” I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination”. The determination of working without domination from any kind and respecting human rights of all kinds will nourish the garden of South Africa’s future.
Poverty includes the feeling of being poor.
With the legacy of Nelson Mandela South Africa may feel rich.
Thanks
Paul Wolf
If you are interested read the articles about Mandela’s leadership and him embracing his love for the life he stood for. See below in  “Challenges of our times and generation.”
->>>>>>>>

 

The Question As How To Serve…


Albert Schweitzer, Etching by Arthur William H...
Albert Schweitzer, Etching by Arthur William Heintzelman. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

–Marten Luther King,Jr.

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

Robert F. Kennedy

“We need to find the courage to say NO to the things and people that are not serving us if we want to rediscover ourselves and live our lives with authenticity.”
Barbara de Angelis

SOME PEOPLE ASKED  me in which way they could serve in the best possible way, – and I smiled because they asked me.

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For those who don’t know, I serve my patients from a comfortable position being paid as a Family Physician in Australia. However I love what I do and look with gratitude on the things I received and still receive, – knowing that in all of this I am dependent on the work many people did before I was born, and during the time of my life until the present.

The best answer on the question as how to serve in the best possible ways can be given by those who serve or served best.

Those who went out in any kind of wilderness, – lacking money and recourses and build up their heartfelt dreams.

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There are different ways of serving.

I have neither vivid memory on my school friend who died to early at the age of 6 as due to childhood cancer, nor do I remember his face, – but he “served” me in the way he died with a peace you don’t often see.

Besides this he left me with one of Bach‘s most beautiful organ plays, played by Albert Schweitzer. This left me at an early place in life with a memory on something different from life itself. I am still grateful that this old school friend passed my way, not because of what he was, – but of what he was able to “plant” without knowing it.

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Sometimes, many years later, we do realise. In a way this is a secret of a kind we need to cherish, not by speaking about it when we do realise, but by allowing it to grow. So are human encounters at times of a nature we better not speak about, but our “awareness” is enough on its own and as such we respect life as it is without touching it. On other occasions we do good to show our gratitude at least ten times more than we tend to do.

There are 100 billionaires all over the world who could wipe out hunger with little more contribution. The difference between rich and poor is getting bigger and bigger. Some of them indeed do contribute but they are not the people who work in the front line against poverty, against war and against various abuses of human rights. If people ask me as how to serve, I tend to say to look at those people who do and find the answer in your own heart.

We are limited perhaps in our potential as due to nature and living conditions but there is neither limit nor ceiling to our potential to love and work our imagination the desired direction in our own circumstances.

It is as Albert Schweitzer once wrote about his work in Lambarena less then 100 years ago, – that anybody can create his or her’s own Lambarena. An affirmation only to illustrate that everyone can create his or her’s domain of care, and serve as such. Those who care do serve and the options are endless. Many examples are not seen by the world or valued for what they are.
Child soldiers who lost their innocence at an age far too young. Many of them did do terrible things but some of them reacted amazingly well by saving lives. People who fight the cruelty in central Africa, – within the domain of strong discomfort but perhaps with peace at heart. People who reach out without fame or name, saving friends and family amidst war.

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Fire- fighters entering houses with people, children, at risk to be burned, and they do this at risk for their own life. People providing aid in Syria now. Fathers and mothers protecting their children in the Congo, without caring for themselves anymore. People providing polio vaccinations in Pakistan despite Taliban death threats. Journalists working at the forefront of all those things to bring the news, at risk of their own life.

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Human encounters are essential before being able to serve as the memory of some people may enlarge what we are able to do.

And in our memory those people deserve honour.

The question as how to serve best is an interesting question, but much depends on the situation where you are and on both your desires and imagination, besides the level of love you feel for those desires.

Sometimes people may be put in a situation where they have no other choice than to serve as staying on the side line would be betrayal of one’s own conscience. Sometimes people go out and meet those situations by
choice.

Again it’s hard to say.

One thing is sure, we can’t wait for the moment everything and everything is ready because in such case we are not likely to begin to serve or reach out.

The other thing is true as well, – true that if we want to work on a dream, to build a ship, – that it is no point to drum up the people to collect the wood and other material. That there is no point to give them tasks of the work due to be done. Working this way is an error of judgement, as the starting point is to help people see what you see, and teach them the ways to get the dream into a reality, – to help them to buy into the endeavour themselves, and then it’s time to collect the wood and all the other things.

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Faith is to believe the things you don’t see, rewarded at times by seeing the things you believe. Time might seem to be a limiting factor but not where it comes to the frequency of love. Love is the prime substance of both our life and nature, the prime substance of both earth and heaven. Without this love there would be neither cosmos nor sun, neither earth nor life.

“For everything there is a time and place”, – so to say.

The other thing being true is that you don’t travel as you think, but you think as you travel. Neither is it true that as you attract you do love, – but as you love you do attract. True love and real care are indispensable and we don’t always touch what is beautiful, neither do we lose the opportunity to see anything which is beautiful, – whether it is a fair face or a plant, a fair sky or a dark cloud. We absorb the seeds in our own soul and this gives life, – and may give direction as where to go, as alert we need to be. One spark of fire may light ourselves and from that fire we may light the world. None of us is too small to serve and freedom can be gained by giving more of ourselves.

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Real love may reach the frequency of “the universe”, the last which may transform us as a transitional “human-being”, – through the awesome grace of God.

Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/

 

Macbeth, the power of evil and the evil of power.


“And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, The instruments of darkness tell us truths, Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s  In deepest consequence”

William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616), Macbeth“, Act 1 scene 3 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Shakespeare)
 Macbeth
Macbeth is one of William Shakespeare’s  great famous plays and tragedies.   There’s murder, battles and the foreshadow of things going to happen. Macbeth is considered one of Shakespeare’s darkest and most powerful tragedies. Set in Scotland, the play entertains in sustained ways the corroding psychological and political effects at a particular time when its leading person, the Scottish lord Macbeth, chooses the deliberate killing of his King Duncan of Scotland, – as the only single way to fulfill his ambition for power. Considering the options  both he and his wife reflected on, this was frankly the most evil choice, – driven only by blind ambition at all costs. It starts all with choices with sometimes huge implications as we will see.
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Shakespeare’s Macbeth has been for centuries a worldwide famous play. A play often still performed, not always completely understood, but giving an insight in the power of evil and the evil of power where they meet together by choice. Though not always well liked by students who have to struggle with the concepts at eg secondary school it is still an actual theme as the nature of people does not change and Shakespeare had a talent to bring his insight in the nature of some people in power up as a play, with all the required drama. If you tell a story as such it has not such an impact, however if you make the story into a dramatic play as Shakespeare did it resonates through the centuries, – if people understand both “the play ground” and the concept.
Shakespeare knew his time, including the dynamics of power at times. Obviously Macbeth was a play but who knows Shakespeare observed more of the political circumstances of his time than we know. How often indeed in the real world before and after Shakespeare’s creation of Macbeth do “those characters” occur and recur in different identities and circumstances?
Well if we look around, history is full of betrayal and murder, killings and evil powers often at the background. Powers represented by characters who played their own role in the days they existed. History tends to repeat itself time after time. Sometimes when people stand up to do good at the highest levels of power they get assassinated under brutal corrupting powers who either collaborate to keep the things as they are or alternatively want to change the way history evolves in different ways. Sometimes people affected by “evil spirits” indulge themselves in the games of power with catastrophic results. It may start positive or reasonable harmless but during the events as they evolve people make choices by which they show their true nature, their identity and destiny.(We can see this eg with Idi Amin in Africa‘s Ugandahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idi_Amin ).
We can see this in East and West, both eg in Russian and American history, but also in the history of the Middle East, Africa, China and many other countries until recent days. It still happens and it will always continue to happen, – unless certain powers are stopped at an early stage. A more recent example is still evolving in Syria, the holding on to power of President Assad http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bashar_al-Assad )
The Macbeth story goes back in time where Scottish Kings went to war on local battle grounds, fighting their ground in frequent fierce battles with often many casualties, War and battle grounds have often been themes through the centuries. The difference now is that they are fought on a larger scale and the  strategic Generals have been always important in various war’s, as we know. What happens in Shakespeare’s most powerful Macbeth drama is that Macbeth and Banquo, both brave Scottish Generals, return one day from their battlefield. They fought for their Scottish Head of State, King Duncan. Whilst on their way back to their military camp through forests dark and deep with miles to go before they sleep, they meet interestingly “three witches” in the dark. Meeting witches (sometimes the dark side of our conscience) means often trouble, sometimes double trouble because this may bring you in contact with evil, or potential evil. It’s the old story of temptations and the question whether you can resist them if they are bad . A matter of conscience indeed. However it would seem pleasurable stuff is on offer in this case, a prediction for the future. Pleasurable for those hungry for power. The witches do not kill Macbeth. No they tell him convincingly he will get a special title which is the “Thane of Cawdor” (an extra dimension of influence)  and that afterwards he will become the new King of Scotland. Too good to be true for Macbeth! For Banquo the witches had “something special” in mind as well, but he would never become King himself. The last was true! Whether his special treat was on earth or in heaven they did not say…The two men (friends perhaps) continue their journey but are sufficiently skeptical about those prophecies. They kept talking about it as somehow what was predicted bothered them. However, when the two come closer to their military base, they meet a messenger from King Duncan who announced that Macbeth has been made the “Thane of Cawdor”, a reward for the General’s bravery and success. Well, – there you go! With the prophecy immediately being put into perspective, Macbeth started to wonder how he might become King of Scotland. A real temptation now.  It seemed to start pleasantly and he invited Duncan to dine at his castle that evening and goes ahead to tell his wife of the day’s events. Macbeth however still doubts his future and the 2nd prophecy but his wife, Lady Macbeth, is very certain of her husband’s future. Lady Macbeth is well-respected like Macbeth. King Duncan calls her “our honored hostess.” She loves her husband but at the same time she is very ambitious, and she wants Macbeth to be King of Scotland as soon as possible as such an outcome would both benefit her and her husband. She decides not to wait until King Duncan gets ill or dies in battle but her assessment is that “the fastest way” for Macbeth to become King of Scotland is by murdering King Duncan. They discussed the matter and Macbeth simply listens to his wife in her wish to take initiative and murder Duncan that same night after dinner. Macbeth strongly influenced by his wife can’t wash his hands in innocence. As we can see bravery in battle does not guarantee principle centred decisions when it comes to reaching or holding on to power, – and the moral spectrum when it comes to this can be overwhelmed by blind desires. It shows here the more than significant flaw in Macbeth’s character and with his choice it sets the scene how his future and those of others unfolds.What happens is that the two plan to get Duncan’s higher officials (being present)  drunk enough that they will not remember the evening and blame them for the murder. In other words they “frame” those not being responsible for the murder. Interestingly “framing someone else for murder” is not only a theme in eg the recent American TV series “Revenge”, – it happened both on many occasions in the past as it still happens at the moment. It has been and still is widespread used eg in the name of “National Security” on many occasions, anywhere on the world, – both in democratic countries and non-democratic states. Obviously however used as well in any crimes at times, – the last not always being high-profile.
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Anyhow, when the body of Duncan is discovered in the morning, Macbeth quickly kills the “culprits” and assumes the Scottish Kingship, as if justice was done. The King’s government supported investigations, in retrospect, do support the higher officials being responsible for the assassination of King Duncan. Obviously the truth was wiped underneath the carpet.
Meanwhile, Duncan’s sons flee the country, afraid for their own lives. No need to be surprised about this. Most likely they sensed that no justice was done and likely they distrusted the facts as they were presented. We see a domino effect now as what happens is that Macbeth’s misgivings and trust in the prophecies force his hand in the murder of Banquo and his son Fleance as well, afraid that his heirs will seize the throne eventually.Besides this he does not like the idea that Banquo would dig into the murder plot of King Duncan perhaps, as Banquo was very familiar with Macbeth (and his nature perhaps). What happens is that Banquo gets killed, however the murderers fail to kill Fleance.
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The night of his murder, Banquo’s ghost appears to Macbeth. Macbeth was perhaps sensitive for those things or the injustice of also Banguo’s murder brought him to feelings of guilt, paranoia and extreme hysteria, – scaring “the hell” out of his guests and angering his wife. His very presence as the King of Scotland had infuriated some of the other nobles and further provokes Macbeth’s misgivings and paranoia. He feels he needs support as he gets fearful and visits the witches again, – who offer him more prophecies. It gets a bit complex. People are complex at times, as shown in Macbeth. People in positions of power are very complex at times.
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Coming back again on Macbeth (as this is the topic) the witches told him to be aware of Macduff, a chief opponent to Macbeth taking the throne. He should be killed. This happened and still happens all over the world. Get rid of your opponents, one way or the other. The evil of power and the power of evil at times. The witches told Macbeth interestingly that he cannot be harmed “by any man born of women” and he is safe until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane Castle. He feels he really has to go after Macduff, as implicated by the witches. He returns home and finds that Macduff has fled to England to join Malcom. Malcom is the eldest of King Duncan’s son’s who fled after his dad’s assassination, because of fear of his life.  Macduff now sensed the dangers for himself and made wisely a  timely move  to prevent his own assassination.
Macduff went to Malcom, – a risky move as Malcom did not surprisingly suspect  Macduff for treachery in the first instance, as Macduff was in a way sided with Macbeth. However Macduff was favourably tested by Malcom in the circumstances which followed:
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In fear, Macbeth seizes Macduff’s castle and makes sure that Macduff’s  wife and children are murdered by a hired team of assassin’s, – provoking as such Macduff to further rage. I guess we can understand Macduff’s situation. With Malcom now, the two raise an army now and travel to Scotland to fight Macbeth as part of an all over revenge, with the support of the Scottish nobles who had enough of Macbeth’s tyranny and murderous ways. Macbeth became aware obviously and waited confidently for his opponents, – however this time not with the witches on his side. They had not warned him about the extra (but vital) “dimension” of Macduff, which was the way he was born.
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Lady Macbeth meanwhile was not doing too well at all and became insane, unable to wash her hands of all the blood it took to keep her husband in power. In a deeper sense she felt possibly a huge guilt leading to her sudden suicide. This last news reached Macbeth just before the English forces arrived led by Malcom and Macduff, and created major despair for Macbeth. He trusted however the prophecy of him being invulnerable as “he could not be harmed by any man born of woman”. Macduff confronts Macbeth with his own truth that he was “ripped off from his mother’s womb” through surgery, which gives an interesting twist to the play as the power of Macbeth invulnerability was based on the fact that “nobody born of women” could harm him”.Apparently Macduff appeared to be an exception which the witches did not tell Macbeth. We don’t know about the reason behind this, one of Shakespeare’s secret’s perhaps. Macbeth therefore loses at this stage his invulnerability and became decapitated when caught. What happens then is that  Malcolm became the new King of Scotland in a rightful way, some time after the assassination of his dad, – former King Duncan of Scotland.  At his Coronation at Scone the play ends…
Evil gets defeated somehow in this dramatic Macbeth play. Does not happen everywhere or at any time, – however it still happens both in Macbeth and at times in the real world.
Obviously this play at the time did honor the English system of nobility against the evil of ruthless powers with “spirits” working at the wrong side of the moral spectrum. The struggle of power being evil at times and the occasional evil of power as such has been an ongoing theme in history, with some implications we all know.  Life is very different now since the days of Shakespeare and Macbeth, but what never changes is that we have the gift of conscience and a free choice, the last being the baseline of everything. If conscience takes over control of people’s actions the world may change into a better place. The opposite is true as well. If evil at the darker corners of the heart takes over control within the dynamics where we live, things will change and people will influence each other interdependent in the more negative, – and at times for the worst possible actions.
We have however a free choice, we can resist or coöperate. Doing nothing at times of crisis is the same as supporting crisis, whatever the nature of the crisis. We can assist chaos or resist chaos. In times of anarchy and killings we can support it or resist it. Again, – doing nothing is the same as supporting it. The best way to resist is  “non coöperation”  ( http://aeinstein.org/).  As Dante once wrote:”The hottest places in hell are reserved for those in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality”.
It is good to put  Shakespeare’s Macbeth play in a broader context. It’s a “drama” with historic dimensions and the dynamics of those dimensions are touching base on the moral high ground of either “taking the high road or the low road”, – as the Scottish tend to say. It’s a matter of choice and character.

Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf
Below some additional information,
if interested>>
>>”For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence–on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War, in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match”. <<  (US President John F. Kennedy – assassinated in Dallas 22/11/1963)
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_assassinated_people   (List of influential assassinated people all over the world)

 

The Art of Leadership and Lessons from the Past – Gandhi.


 
Mohandas Gandhi gave rise to a whole new gener...
Mohandas Gandhi gave rise to a whole new generation of nationalists, and a whole new form of revolution. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.”
  Mohandas Gandhi

Gandhi had been on the political stage for more than fifty years before three pistol shots put an end to his life at the early beginning of 1948. Two generations of Indian patriots were inspired by him apart from millions of others. He shook the British empire and was at the frontline of a peaceful revolution which he initiated by his vision to change the face of India, but Africa and Asia took his example. To the people of his own, millions,  he was the Mahatma the great soul. Despite being ridiculed by many and considered to be suspicious, by the end of 1947 he raised the frontier of revolt against racial imperial domination and racial suppression. His ideas began to resonate in some of the finest minds in the world. “Generations to come, it may be”, Einstein had said of Gandhi in July 1944, “will scarcely believe that such  one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon earth.”His life had been ongoing at the centre of drama which did not seem to stop but Gandhi himself was the least dramatic of men. Well balanced in many ways. He had neither the “popular” reputation of a heroic person nor the trappings of political eminence where efforts keeping up a public image not rarely hides a complex private image. He did not try to create an image as he was as he was. A man with steel-rimmed glasses, rough sandals, a toothless smile, a voice which rarely rose above a whisper and dressed in his loin cloth. He had an impressive humility. Gandhi’s, deepest strivings were spiritual. Not in the usual way of retiring in a cave for salvation in his country, but salvation to be achieved both within the context of meditation and expressing himself amidst the challenges of his time. He had not a complicated childhood. Thereafter molding experiences amidst the political struggles of South Africa and the struggle for freedom in India. The last lifting him at the world stage of triumph and tragedy.Gandhi’s leadership was effective in a particular set of circumstances and he moulded the requirements of his leadership to get both independence from England and a future for India. Besides the principle of non-violence never being compromised, a person like Gandhi most likely would have shown different aspects of leadership in different circumstances – dependent on the priorities and actions being required.

Embrace change

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Gandhi’s  life  story  was  about  action  and  positive  change.   Whilst  he  was  succesful  in  some  areas  he  failed  in  others,  however  he never  gave  up his  efforts  for  improvement.   We  are  all  allowed   to  make  errors  as  long  as  we  learn  from  them.   This  is  what  he  said  on  various occasions.  This  is  part  of  life.   This  is  part  of  leadership  as  well.   Mistakes  or  errors  from  the  past  are  lessons  for  the  present  in  order  to  be  successful in  the  future,  as  long  as  we approach  them  with  honesty  and  humility.  Life,  politics  and  business  are  full  of  dynamic  changes  and  we  have  to embrace  those  changes  as  long  as   the   principles  of  approaching change  are  right  at  the  centre  of  our  thoughts   and actions,  who  (if well-selected)  find  the  future  of  the  many  who  are  involved.

“Action expresses priorities.” 
Mohandas Gandhi

We may hear at various times that actions speak louder than words; and Gandhi proved an example of this. More often action is far stronger than words though the power of words and language can be equal strong to create the action being required, the action of non – violence wich in the specific way Gandhi dealt with matters made the British empire decide to give up their aspirations on India. Action is an expression of our desires or intentions and the priorities of our actions is determined by our desires for the future, – in the role of leadership by the strong desire of what we want to achieve as part of our long-term plan’s and/or goals. The biggest challenge facing India was “callousness of intellectuals” as far as Gandhi concerned. He was far more concerned about building a sustainable society and not having independence only. Gandhi was proactive in his actions as well

 “Anger is the enemy of non-violence and pride is a monster that swallows it up.”
Mohandas Gandhi

There is neither pride nor gain derived from violence as in the nature of things those manifestations will get back to us in a way which we not always are able to either sustain or endure. The corner-stone of Gandhi’s movement was non – coöperation and the principle was non-violence regardless the violence at times of an oppressive police force. When at some stage villagers in a rural area of his home land responded in a barbaric way too such police violence, Gandhi based on his conscience reflected that the key tune from the non-violence movement was violated in this act and he judged firmly against this. Gandhi once said: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”.

Obviously this is true but the strict non violent approach is difficult to apply in any circumstances where a dictator stands up with a large armed following of people applying the same violent principles as the dictator himself. The only way to disarm a dictator is with the approach of non-cooperation by both the whole population and his generals, which is not the usual approach to be followed if we look at reality. Whilst the principle is excellent where leadership is able to enforce this as part of “self-rule”, disciplined as it needs to be, – circumstances may arise where such approach is not effective. In terms of international politics the “doctrine” of not attacking nations unless we are attacked is achievable, whilst accepting mass attacks by repetition of a different country or movement is the same as not protecting own citizens.  On the other hand, like Gandhi once said: “The policy of retaliation has never succeeded.”

Character traits like humility, persistence, assertiveness and self-awareness are likewise important as a mindset willing to learn and to change through experience in the perceptions of Gandhi. In  the discipline of this with the above notations incorporated people are ready for “self-rule”, as far as Gandhi concerned.

Proper values

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Value systems being properly assessed on their implementation were important in Gandhi’s way of thinking. For Gandhi, truth and morality was crucial.  It was in and on its own linked with the concept of non-violence and spiritual renewal and it did determine his conduct in events to be absolutely right before proceeding. If he considered the conduct of certain events not to be right he would rather not act. Often as a result of this he called off protests or other actions.

The importance of vision:

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“There’s nothing more demoralizing than a leader who can’t clearly articulate why we’re doing what we’re doing.” –James Kouzes and Barry Posner

“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion.” –Theodore Hesburgh, President of the University of Notre Dame

Gandhi’s vision of the future was both spiritual, moral and practical, and it was through his consistent application of his vision that he led. He and his vision were one, as he lived it with clear articulation. When people have no self-respect others are able to rule them and so felt Gandhi about the Indians and he felt that they should approach their place towards British rule in a proactive way. What Gandhi emphasised was not only political independence from the British empire, but also spiritual renewal for the people of India and the means he emphasised this was of an absolute non-violent nature.His ideas were rooted both in the beliefs of the Gita’s with a Christian influence and in this he reached the hearts of millions. He not only tried to bring justice to the people of South Africa, but his endeavours in the direction of Indian Independence were based on justice as well. What he was unable to meet was his own deeply felt vision for a just society in his own country.

Based on the experience in both South Africa and with British rule, Gandhi felt that “the violence of all Governments” meant that the people should move to a situation in which they control their own destiny in small-scale groups and sort their issues out at this level. A concept which proved at a larger scale not to work far earlier in history when the Greek had their experiments with democracy. Gandhi did not argue for a plural democratic India. There is a plural society, when different sections of the community (eg the Indian, the Chinese, the European) do live side by side, within the same political unit. They do mix but do not necessarily combine. It was Nehru who was the driver of mass democracy in India.

The importance of Unity

If a leader and his followers pursue a shared goal with similar motivation to go ahead in positive action, to try with the similar positive energy and strategy to meet what they so dearly want to do, –  they have the potential to make history as they will leave a legacy. This requires great team work and coaching, support and empowerment when people have been rallied to buy into the principle direction by own choice,  to follow a common goal with diversity of talent and qualifications. Gandhi did understand the importance of unity, like Martin Luther King,jr, Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama did understand the importance of unity. Regardless direction, we find the principle of keeping unity back in both the leaders with conscience and integrity, besides the leaders who are lacking those virtues.

The importance of integrity and respect for human rights.

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Hitler was neither the only leader who understood the principle of unity nor was he last leader who was lacking integrity and respect for human life.  This virtue does not come from physical capacity but from an indomitable will to show strength in this direction, being the most cohesive and enduring force of our unity in diversity, the most cohesive force and a test for civilization.

Gandhi expressed this differently in terms of respect for life. He said:  “Power based on love is thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.” Gandhi is correct in his assessment that if the arms race continues all over the world, with today more countries having access to weapons of mass destruction, the last resort is a slaughter such as has never happened in history and if there is a victory for a nation this victory will be a living death for the nation being able to claim victory, – if there is one. The approach of Gandhi which is based on respect for human life calls for unconditional action to refrain from violence. The concept is not the easiest, but the background is clear.

With all respect there is violence right at the heart of nature but humans have the ability to apply respect for life and restrict violence by noncooperation with evil. Whilst violent noncooperation has the potential to multiply evil, sometimes evil needs to be eradicated to prevent a “cancer” which could abolish life and respect for human rights & life.

Evil violence can’t be tolerated as this type of evil could multiply itself if the forces of noncooperation with such evil are not strong enough. History teaches us that leaders can stand up with both the worst intentions and followers and if evil does manifest as a result of this at a larger scale it needs to be resisted with right and proportionate means to stop it. Absolute non violence might be highly regarded in terms of values and whilst ignoring provocations can be helpful, non – violence regardless the circumstances at times could be the same as being indifferent to evil, – the last which is wrong.

Whilst Gandhi claims that the law of love governs the world, this is not the reality of day-to-day life.  Respect for human life however is able to conquer hate, but the same respect for human life means as well the willingness to protect human life.

Integrity is a different entity, however whilst integrity and honesty based on conscious are part of strong leadership, integrity in the avenue of respect for human life embraces the quest for truth “to nourish the soul and life itself, as untruth tends to corrode it”.

Leaders are different

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Even  with  some  failings  Gandhi  is  still  considered  as  one  of  the  most  positive  and  effective  leaders  of  our past century.  He  made  a  major  step  forward  and  broke with  all  existing  perceptions  by  solving  the  problem  India  faced  with  a  different  level  of  thinking,  – escaping  from  a  war  with  the  British  empire  and  gaining independence  by  applying  the  principle  of  non  violence  and  noncooperation.  He  considered  the  use  of  violence  an obsolete  paradime  and  proved  to  be  effective  in  the  way  he  approached  the  subject,  – both  with  integrity  and  leadership.  He  was  able  to  mobilise  most  of  the  Indian  people  at  all  levels  of  society  and  despite  the  many dilemma’s  he  achieved  a  quality  movement  of non-  violence  with  a  legacy  all  over  the  world,  – last  but  not  least  affecting  the  movement  for social  justice  in  the  US  where Martin  Luther  King,jr  was  the  leader  in  the  early  1960ties.   Gandhi  had  despite  failures  and  despite  the  concept  of non-violence  not  being  applicable  in  all circumstances  both  at  least  great  courage  and  vision,  – both  great  compassion  and  integrity.   He made  a  choice  to  be  used  for  a  purpose  larger  than  his  own  self  and  he  did  this  with  both  joy  and  balance  of  mind.   He  inspired  people  to  follow  his  steps  based  on  a  foundation  of  trust  and  influence  which  had  a  long  lasting impact  in  the  last  century. But  even  today!

If  more  people  would  buy  into  his principles  we  would  indeed  end  up  with  a  better  world,  however  by  free  choice  people do  opt  to  create  more  arms  and  use  more  violence  and  at  international  level  the  principle  of non-violence  is  only  practical  if  all  stakeholders  buy  into  this  principle. This  does  not  happen  as  yet  and  is  not  likely  to  happen  in  the  future  as  many  countries  live  by  the  application  of  achievable  politics, –  and  non-violence  is  still  a dream.  A  dream  however  with  great  value  as  it  asks  from  us  to  act  with  wisdom  and  restraint  in  a  world  potentially  more  dangerous  than  ever  before.  The measure of  the  man  (his  leadership)  is  what  he  achieved  with  this  and  tried  to  do  without  seeing  “the  promised  land”.   He  did  add  value  to  life  and  we  can’t  say  this  from every  leader.  

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The  last  principle  of  good  leadership  with  all  above  ingredients  included  is  perhaps  indeed   > to add  value  to  life <. 

Together  with  creating  the  margins  to keep  the  mission  going  and  to  make  “the  dream”  come  true.

Thank you!
 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/10/29/the-art-of-leadership-lessons-ted-kennedy/