Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas K. Gandhi and cofounder of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence in Memphis, Tennessee, and Ann E. Helmke, a Lutheran minister and director of the San Antonio Peace Center, recently traveled together on a nonviolence tour to Palestine and Israel. Their trip provided the opportunity for this dialogue.
Ann Helmke: The world and its leaders are busy redefining, justifying and rationalizing, spinning and executing actions based on words. Words without actions are empty, but actions without discipline are very dangerous. How can we responsibly use the words "nonviolence" and "war on terror" in the same sentence? How can we bring the debate and actions to higher ground?
Arun Gandhi: Words without action and actions without discipline is a dangerous concoction. This is the nature of politics. My grandfather [Mahatma Gandhi] regarded politics without principle as one of the seven sins of human society. Politicians have ceased to be servants of the people. They have become masters, taken control of our lives. They decide the fate of a nation and its people. We, the people, are content with this because we simply want to enjoy our rights without responsibilitiesthe eighth sin of humanity.