panel discussion – CINÉ-ONU (02.10.2023)


Summary of the panel discussion
after the film Ahimsa “The power of the powerless” – Gandhi

In our ever-changing society, our patterns of life are shaped by social interaction with other people, and we are aware of our habitual behaviour.

Mahatma Gandhi, the world-famous freedom leader, had a great influence on the Indian independence movement against British colonial rule. He was and is an icon of the political and social movement for equal rights. His approach emphasizes peaceful protest, non-violent resistance and civil disobedience. This manifests itself in a strong, ever-growing mental strength to turn away from violence.

The film shown beforehand: Ahimsa “The power of the powerless” – Gandhi, is based on a true story. The subsequent panel discussion was moderated by Martin Nesirky, Director of UNIS-VIC.

Simran Bedi, the executive producer of the film, which aired today, answered the questions, that the Oscar-winning film and the message of non-violence mean a lot to her. This can be spread through patience and persistence, because non-violent movements require long-term commitment. We can therefore learn a lot from Ramesh Sharma’s vision.

Moritz Ehrmann, who works as a peace mediator and director at the Austrian Center, said that we are confronted with a multitude of challenges and their complexity in the world. Finding answers is, therefore, a great challenge. It takes many approaches and actors to implement them, and he said that we need to practice discipline and a non-violent attitude. It will take some time to find a solution.

Ashis Ray, known as a broadcaster and journalist who worked for the BBC and CNN, mentioned that Mahatma Gandhi is an international icon of India. Mr. Ray shared his personal views with us, pointing out the one incident that changed Mahatma Gandhi’s life. It happened on a trip to Peters Mary’s Burgh when he was sitting in the 1st class compartment and was removed from the train for no valid reason.

Gandhi’s approach to social and economic justice was rooted in his commitment to the poorest of the poor, and one of his most famous acts of civil disobedience was the Salt March.

Rebecca Jovin, Chief of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), discusses projects with policymakers and academic institutions. Providing an e-learning platform and having cooperation with key decision makers. She works on the vision of making people’s national and collective security visible through control and regulation to eliminate harm. The focus of disarmament affairs is to secure trust and confidence through necessary agreements between states.

Ms. Jovin particularly mentioned that disarmament affairs are not a utopian idea. It is an instrument of national security. In fact, to understand M. Gandhi’s philosophy, it should be added that it is characterized by forgiveness, trust and dialogue.

The summary of the panel discussion states: To live in a peaceful area, we need to cooperate and work together in all possible ways. We need international organizations, partnerships, campaigns, NGOs, and media, as well as film screenings, to raise the awareness of young audiences early through digital and non-digital platforms.

Article: Christine Ojo
Photo: Irene Hoeglinger-Neiva
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