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A letter to the village of Bil’in

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Friday, 28 August, 2009

"Non-violence...is ethical activism at its political best." Ela Bhatt writes an open letter to the residents of Bil'in.

Dear brothers and sisters of village Bil’in,

My visit to your village was like a pilgrimage to me as a Gandhian. As a Gandhian from India, I believe that you are showing the right path to this war-torn world.

I believe, like you, that if the politics of peace and recovery centres around village people like you, then non-violence has to be the matrix for it. Non-violence is not a passive idea, as you have shown. It is ethical activism at its political best. It demands invention, a collective, creative, constructive heart, which your village has shown. And, it is the only way of cleansing the society of the tiredness, brutalization, despondency it has been forced into.

We can’t stop with ‘how much longer?’, we have to move to alternative constructs. As villagers, let us build our borders with craft cooperatives, agriculture cooperatives, new ideas of university, new acts of ecology. As villagers let us jointly police our society till neighbours become ready for peace.

Your sister,

Ela Bhatt

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