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President attends the "Peace, Non-Violence and Empowerment Gandhian Philosophy in 21st Century" in India

New Delhi, India, 01/29/2007  |  press release, speech


The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr Janez Drnovšek, today attended the conference "Peace, Non-Violence and Empowerment Gandhian Philosophy in 21st Century" in India, New Delhi. At the conference President Drnovšek gave the following address:

Click to enlarge"Mahatma Gandhi gives us all great inspiration. But his messages and his example are not something that we should only admire in the context of the history of the past century. It is something that should give us strength and inspiration to make the changes that humanity needs for the future. Humanity today faces serious challenges, the most serious challenges in its history. We all know that the imbalances in today’s world are huge and that they do not diminish but on the contrary they become bigger and bigger. We can speak about poverty and the huge differences that exist in the world and that creates the perception of injustice to the majority of the people living in the world today. We can speak about the rule of the stronger and about the rule of the wealthier. And we can see that today’s politics, business and media are all too often influenced by – as I call it - a low level of consciousness, coming out of selfishness. Selfishness of the individual, of human beings, selfishness of nations.

Click to enlargeIf we look at today’s world institutions, including the United Nations, we can perceive that very often the members, especially those who have the decisive powers, pursue their own interests, they call them geopolitical interests, often these are economic interests, their own interests and the interests perhaps of their friends. But sometimes there is nobody, or very often there is nobody who would defend the interests of humanity as a whole. That is why today we cannot fight the challenges that present the injustice in the world, the terrorism linked with it, the threats coming out of this; and what is even more threatening, we cannot face the destruction of the earth or the destruction of our climate, which is accelerating. These warnings we receive every day, each day they become more obvious. But still those who have the opportunity to do something, to reverse the behaviour of institutions, of business, of individuals, and to do something to stop these developments, they do not. They do not use their powers for this purpose. They do not look for the interests of humanity. Their consciousness is unfortunately too often reduced to selfishness, to power, to wealth, to profit. And we destroy the earth and our climate for profit. And it is very obvious that with arms and the most modern technology behind them we cannot face the challenges of today. The imbalances will continue to grow and at a certain point they will destroy humanity. At a certain point our climate will be destroyed so much so that it will not be possible to do something later. Then just agony would follow. And we are still not capable today or conscious enough to face this challenge and to do something seriously.

Click to enlargeThat is why I think that in the world today we need new Sathyagraha, that we need new Gandhis, that we need values, higher consciousness, that we need people who can face these institutions of profit and power and defeat them, of course without violence, as with violence we cannot achieve any sustainable change, history has proven that clearly. Only without violence and only with a higher consciousness of the majority of the people on the earth. This is the only way to raise the consciousness of people, to tell them the truth, to seek the truth, when we will see the truth, then we will wake up, and then we will start to move and try to change our behaviour, to influence our institutions, national and international institutions. So this is the only way to go. We are coming to a period where probably these efforts to raise the consciousness of the people of the world, especially politicians and business people, will be accompanied by catastrophes, more and more catastrophes, mostly natural catastrophes coming out of the change of climate, probably accompanied by some other kinds of catastrophes too. And catastrophes usually have an effect of a shock, a shock that can wake people up, make them change for the better in their thinking and living. This will be an additional impetus to raise the consciousness of humanity as a whole. But we should not count on this only. It is very likely that this will come. We have to do something ourselves, everybody in his surroundings everywhere. So that more and more people will be conscious and more and more people will join the effort to change the world for the better. To establish a more just world and to ensure the sustainable development of humanity. What I have learned from Gandhi and Sathyagraha is that even if things look as though they are unchangeable, one can change them, if he or she is completely sure that bringing about change is worth it, that there is truth and that it should be done to help other people, to help humanity. To make the impossible possible. Today it seems that it is impossible to change the institutions of the world, the institutions of power, of profit. But I think that we will have to change them. If we do not succeed, then the world will collapse at a certain point. And I should say in the foreseeable future. And when we will realize this, when we become conscious of that fact, then I think that we will move. And we will make the impossible possible."
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