A Lesson for 9/11 Truth Activists from Gandhi's Assassin

I was at home in Abbotsford to see my family this past this past weekend...

Being the democratic socialist, 9/11 Truth activist, and pacifist that I am, it is rare that I can have political conversation with members of my conservative voting family in a fair and non-judgmental way. This visit however, the conversation was very respectful, with an ending of agreement. While standing around in the kitchen watching my mother steam vegetables and try to make something out of the disappointingly sized duck one of my brothers brought over as his contribution to the semi-pot luck style dinner, the conversation I was having with two of my brothers turned to entrepreneurship. My brother Jayson, is a self-employed graphic designer, and Jordan, is a dentist in his first year of practice. We talked about the growing gap between classes is Canadian society. We also talked about how sometimes the “wealthy” can be misjudged by the “poor” just as much as the wealthy misjudge the poor. We talked about stereotypes of both Aboriginals, and Indo-Canadians, the roots of these stereotypes, and why they persist. We also discussed differences in Eastern and Western business practices. All three of us, living different lives as we do, and experiencing different experiences, added the views we have seen through our own individual experiences into the conversation. Sharing each others insight, we had no reason to become offended, or offend each other. We slightly disagreed on minor points, and quickly stood corrected when appropriate. It was quite a pleasant conversation.

In this conversation each one of us was able to learn from each others experience, and accept that experience as a good reason for why that individual believes what he does. Why can the same not be said for the larger, more important issues, like 9/11? Why is it, that whenever we talk about 9/11, the War on Terror, or American hegemony, agreement can never be reached? Are these issues not factual? Is the fact that a wage earner in Canada making $89,000 a year is in the top 10% of all wage earners less controversial then the fact that no steel framed building has ever collapsed due to fire before or after 9/11? Are both these facts not facts? How can one stir up emotions more than the other? When Jordan told me this fact about wage earners, why was I not offended?

The only difference is that one fact imposes less damage to a long held belief system then the other. The facts of 9/11 attack a belief of American benevolence. Facts about Canadian wage earners do no such thing. So why is it that we get offended when our beliefs are attacked?

Beliefs are something that are developed over a long period of time, or are simply passed down to us from our parents and grandparents. Whether the strongly held belief is in religion, what you believe to be patriotism, or an advocation of your favorite political ideology, we often get offended when they are questioned. To question a strongly held belief is to admit that there is a possibility that you may have been wrong about the belief for a long, long time. Our pride can prevent us from making such admittance. Thus, instead of correcting ourselves as we would in a discussion about the persistence of stereotypes, we tend to make things worse by trying to hold onto the belief at all costs. Like a declining empire, we start to make moves that are illogical and irrational in order to save face for one more day. Defenders of American benevolence or the official 9/11 conspiracy theory will go from intellectual conversation on 9/11, to childish tactics such as voice raising, and name calling. The fact that this is what the media shows us to do when beliefs are attacked can compound the situation. Pride begets irrational defense, and this irrational defense begets anger.

History does show us however, that this has not always been the case. Intellectual people have many a time strived to find faults in their way of thinking. Sometimes they have indeed found themselves to be wrong, and have become the better man because of it. Anyone can have a strongly held opinion, but it takes real courage, to continuously question your view of your reality. This is a courage that is mandatory in legitimizing your beliefs.

Nathuram Godse was such a man. His beliefs were so strongly held that he assassinated Mahatma Gandhi January 30th, 1948. Godse was a man of logic, and reason. He was very intelligent, and was willing to give up his own life for what he believed in. Although I personally believe that his decision to kill the Mahatma was wrong and wounded India is such a way that it still has yet to recover from, his views here are not to be used as an example of what is right or what is wrong, but as an example of how we all need to continuously question our views, and pride ourselves in doing so.
After Nathuram and his co-conspirators were sentenced to death and / or transportation for life, all the defendants went on to appeal the verdict, and a special court of appeal was instituted. During the appeal Godse received a letter from Gandhi’s 3rd son, Ramdas. In Ramdas’ letter, he asked Godse to “repent for his sins” and that it “was not too late to ask for forgiveness from God”. Here, Ramdas was asking Godse to question what he had done. In this questioning, if done truthfully, Ramdas believed Godse would see that he was in fact wrong in assassinating Gandhi. Ramdas believed that this man, a man that was so strongly convicted to a belief he had held for 20 years, would be willing to question his entire belief system at this late stage in his life. Ramdas paid close attention during Godse’s trial and knew that he was an intelligent man, and not just some poor lonely assassin that got swept away with some revolutionary zeal, or a man in search for fame or money.

Godse wrote a respectful letter back to Ramdas. He first expressed his grief for Ramdas and his loss of his father, and went on to say how much he respected Gandhi. In response to Ramada’s request to rethink his position Ramada’s stated that he is an “open-minded man always subject to correction”. He ends his letter with the following:
… Anyways I must request you to see me and if possible with some prominent disciples of your father, particularly those who are not interested in power politics, and to bring to my notice my most fatal mistake. Otherwise I shall always feel that this show of mercy is nothing but an eyewash.
If you actually see me and have a talk with me either sentimentally or with reason, then who knows? You may be able to change me and make me repent. Or I may change you and make you realize my stand. The condition of the talk must be that we stick to the truth alone. Again, I express utmost regrets as a human being for your sufferings due to the death of your father at my hands. Yours sincerely, Nathuram Godse.
Godse, a man who had voluntarily given up his free life for a cause he believed in, was still willing to have a conversation based on logic and reason. Godse wanted his faith challenged. If he was in the wrong, he strived to know it, and sought correction. Godse’s pride did not lie in the fact that he was right. His pride lied in the fact that he was in a continuous search for truth.
The example of Nathuram Godse is one we should all take note of. Pride should not be made in the fact that we are right, but in the fact we are in a continuous search for truth, and are seeking correction of any flawed belief. Defenders of the official 9/11 theory should act in the same way as Godse. 9/11, as the assassination of Gandhi, was a world changing event. Defenders of the official theory and members of the 9/11 Truth movement alike, should all strive for correctness, and willingly face naysayers of our respective beliefs. This issue is too big to avoid due to our pride in being right. Now we need to remember what Sigmund Freud once said “From error to error, one discovers the truth”

9/11 Truth, as the life of Gandhi had truth that others did not want to see, and somehow produced ‘controversial truth”

Although vastly different situations bring about vastly different outcomes, demands, and actions, the closest mass movement that can compare at all to the 9/11 Truth movement would be – in my opinion – Gandhi’s Satyagraha. Remember, the Satyagraha had very little to do with Indian independence. 90% of it had to do with changing the hearts and minds of Indians to accept non-violence, and truth as their primary political ideology. Everything else – including India’s independence - was second to that. Perhaps, the 9/11 Truth movement, is spending too much time debating facts and not enough time discussing why these facts are not being accepted. Given, there are other important issues such as media cover up and such, but I believe the psychological impact of 9/11 on defenders of American benevolence is not receiving enough attention. Before anyone is convinced about being wrong, they need to know that it is a courageous thing to acknowledge being wrong. We all need to give it more thought, and spend more time learning first how to remove pride out of the hearts of those who take pride in being right. If everyone can understand that pride is the mask of one's own faults, and that humanity will only better itself with our constant revision and correction of beliefs, 9/11 Truth will be as simple as one plus two.

Drew Noftle