Radical Politics

From a transcript of an Interview with Shamcher Bryn Beorse

J=Jelaluddin Boru, S=Shamcher

J. There are some people, all them radicals if you will, who believe that you can only change the world, and you don’t need to change yourself…
S: Yes. They are a little bit further out of balance than most sufis are, and that is fine, it is their task, and they may do a lot of good. But if they say they don’t need to change themselves, they are wrong for whether they know it or not, they are still doing it… So many of them have come back entirely changed! For instance, how many people who in the ’60s threw bombs and everything, have come back now with an entirely different attitude? And maybe they didn’t think that they had changed themselves, but they have anyway.
Of course it is always wrong from an absolute point of view to use violence. You hit the wrong people.
I know of a case where a black killed a journalist who had been been with them all the time. He had been fighting for the blacks and came down to see what happened. He was just another ‘whitey’ in this situation and got killed. And this kind of thing is just typical. When you throw a bomb at a house, how do you know who inside that structure will be killed? It may be the very people you want to protect and help. And the same goes for the police. They are paid by the community to do a certain work, and they don’t have any choice. So to challenge them is wrong, you are challenging the wrong people!
Or take the case of a strike against a factory owner. He could be the best man in the world and really trying to help his workers, but the strike is against him instead of the thoughtless president, the more thoughtless cabinet members, the sometimes thoughtless scientists…the people who are really to blame, the greedy ones whose only thought is how they can enrich themselves.
It is this kind of confusion that makes violence totally unacceptable. Violence is never acceptable as a way of helping or promoting a good cause. And the people who use it are only acceptable as primitive extremists on an individual course, just like criminals are acceptable.
Inayat Khan was once approached by criminals, with guns, because they knew he was a holy man and they wanted him to perform a marriage for one of them. And he said–“O yes, of course. With pleasure I will come.” And the criminals in great surprise put away their guns, and he went out there and married them and came back…

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