Colombian guerrillas to embrace Gandhism: Art of Living

Havana, June 29 (IANS) Colombian guerrillas now holding peace talks with their government here in Cuba have agreed to embrace Gandhism, the Art of Living said on Monday.

The guerrillas made the commitment to Art of Living’s spiritual leader Ravi Shankar when he met them during a three-day visit to Cuba, an Art of Living statement said.

The statement quoted Ivan Marquez, a commander of FARC, as saying: “We will work for peace and justice for all the people of Colombia.”

Marquez, Pablo Catatumbo and his group thanked Ravi Shankar for his “patience, understanding and wisdom”, the statement said.

After a lot of discussions, the FARC finally agreed to embrace the Gandhian principle of non-violence. Marquez announced this at a press conference.

“We will work for peace and justice for all the people of Colombia,” he was quoted as saying.

One of the members, Commander Pastor Alope, remarked that spiritual wisdom had been missing and was very much needed.

The Art of Living Foundation said there had been “a historic change of heart and strategy” by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC.

The FARC, a leftist group, has been waging a bloody guerrillas war in Colombia since 1964. Varying reports put its current military strength at around 10,000 fighters.

The statement said FARC requested Ravi Shankar to actively participate in the peace process now on in Havana.

“In this conflict, everyone should be considered victims. And inside every culprit there is a victim crying for help,” Ravi Shankar said.

The FARC has agreed to speed up the process and give a surprise breakthrough for peace building in the coming days.

On June 24, Ravi Shankar had an hour-long meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in Bogota.

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