Is War Ever Justified?

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  • Watch our full interview with Satish Kumar (below)!

    Meditation Magazine: You say that violence is never justified. But what about in clear cases of unjust oppression and war? For example, shouldn’t we fight back against the Russians in Ukraine?

    Satish Kumar: No. Violent intervention is neithernecessary nor justified at any time. Anybody can justify their violent intervention: Russia can justify their violence, and European countries who are supporting Ukraine can justify their violence. Justifying violence is not the right way.

    If Ukraine wants to do nonviolent resistance, then
    all the citizens of Ukraine can stand there without
    arms, without tanks, without weapons, without
    airplanes, and say, “We are here. If you kill us you kill
    us, but we will not kill you back.”
    If the Ukrainians did not fight back, the Russians
    could not fight. They could not kill unarmed people.
    They can only kill if you are fighting back.
    And I would go stand there with the Ukrainians,
    unarmed. And I would ask the Germans and French
    and Indians and British… we would all go to Ukraine,
    unarmed, and say “We are prepared to die for a good
    cause, but we are not prepared to kill for any cause.”
    That is the non-violent resistance that we have
    to learn. That was the method of Mahatma Gandhi,
    Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King… we have many
    wonderful examples of non-violent resistance. So if
    the Russians are aggressive, we will resist, but we will
    resist nonviolently.
    Anybody who thinks that they can “win” war in this
    modern day is living in a cloud-cuckoo land. Nobody
    can “win” war. You cannot win the hearts and minds
    of people with weapons. You can only win the hearts
    and minds of people with love.

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