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
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.