–Gandhi (Day to Day with Gandhi, vol. 4, p. 166)
Wow, even Gandhi did not love endless meetings. Not surprising actually–he emphasized that the only way to win Independence was through action; through, in his words, “blood and sweat.” He was not down on meetings held for a certain purpose; if you remember, he spent most of his day in meetings and interviews, but they had a specific purpose: to educate others about the movement and its goals; to refine strategies, to reinforce unity among opposing parties. And in contemporary settings where it’s hard enough to bring people together for nonviolent, collaborative ends, meetings– opportunities to see one another, get to know each other, hear from one another– are important. Restorative justice, for example, works primarily through meetings. But they are only part of the picture; words alone do not make a person or an entity nonviolent–only practice can do that. Take the United Nations. To what extent do they talk about peace and to what extent do they implement strategies to build it? Think about it: What would a United Nations be capable of if they went beyond the “talk-shop” format and took the form of a strategic council for world friendship, where good ideas were not just applauded, but implemented and even funded?