[The message from Lisa refers to an attachment: an October 1 article by Mike Nizza of The New York Times. Mike Nizza operates The Lede, a blog on nytimes.com. To read the article, and to read more recent articles on The Lede tagged Burma, click here.]
[message from David McIntosh]
Further to Lisa’s message about Burma.
It is imperative that we understand, and inform others, something that appears in none of our media coverage of the current Burma situation. The heinous crimes being committd by the Burmese regime would not be taking place were it not for the longstanding complicity of our own corporations, who have been mining for oil and minerals and sending tourists to the pristeen state-monopoly beaches since before I visited that beautiful land 22 years ago. The Burmese junta is a convenient slave-driver regime for the same corporate hegemonists exporting faux “freedom” and “democracy” to Afghanistan and Iraq. The following link provides a list of accomplice companies doing business in/with Burma. If they were for democracy, it would have happened long ago. Please distribute widely, to make up for media silence.
Peace, not “security”
[message from Lisa]
Dear ISC Friends,
The article in the NY Times attached below seems to confirm the message further below from an NGO friend in Nepal. Many of you have likely been watching the news about Burma. My motivation is less regarding Burma, as there are many conflicts and atrocities around the world we would all wish to see an end to.
While I have particular affection for Buddhist monks, because of the unconditional kindness and teachings I have received from them, I have a similar concern for all of our spiritual leaders, especially those who try to set the example of leadership through non-violence. Although Gautama Buddha taught us that all human beings have an equal desire to be happy and all beings have the potential to follow the path to “salvation”, still our spiritual teachers hold a special place in our society, do they not? It is precious enough to bring a human into the world, yet it seems to be more rare and precious to see a human who has gone forth to lead by example in a spiritual path and to reach a level of respect and accomplishment such that they teach and lead, is it not?
It troubles me that in any conflict, our precious teachers of any faith and any tradition should be targeted and assaulted. They should be protected as precious to our human heritage and common well-being. Hundreds of monks in Burma have been killed and many who have survived beatings and brutal incarceration are on a hunger strike and will die of hunger within a week, if they have not been killed already. I wonder if we could have a sharing from ISC leaders of various faiths about activism generally and the right course to activism on the part of lay people, in order to protect our spiritual teachers/leaders in times of conflict. I seek your advice, not just because of the political sensitivity of this issue generally (first, whether one human has the right to be protected more than another is problematic; Canada-China relations; boycotting olympics, not to mention the myriad other conflicts in the world, such a discussion might unearth) but also because there may be valid faith-based reasons why spiritual leaders and lay people choose at times not to be politically activist.
What are ISC members’ viewpoints on these matters? We likely come from many different stand points on this, culturally, spiritually, politically. Thus, I would be grateful for any guidance and discussion. I like the possibility of some small peaceful and unifying demonstration at the Vancouver Art Gallery as soon as possible, in honour of spiritual leaders/teachers for nonviolence of all faiths, that they be protected in conflicts and that we recognize our collective heritage in them. It could be a vigil/public prayer/meditation for all spiritual leaders caught in conflict, it could be a public prayer for the protection of spiritual leaders around the world; could be a stronger message that we do not accept the punishment of non violent activism; it could be a public voice in support of non violent movement generally. It could be a candle lit vigil and series of prayers led by leaders of all faiths in one evening. It could go further of course but it might be beneficial to keep it as meaningful -yet “generic” (not tied to any one conflict or faith or issue) as possible. I would like to hear about your ideas/experiences! Are there great risks in doing something like this? I think it would send a touching message to the rest of the world and may fall on the ears of people of influence. (If there is interest in a meeting in this regard, please mention so).
THE LEDE | October 1, 2007
Hints of a Vast, Grim Toll in Myanmar
A Burmese general who defected says that thousands are dead.
Personal message from Georgia
Hello dear readers,
Today I received an e-mail from Shirley Blair, who runs the school in Nepal for which my website raises money. The e-mail is from a monk who details tragic news from Myanmar.
It is almost impossible for information to get out of the country. I am sending you this message in the hopes that someone can help get this news into the media. (I have already sent this e-mail to the papers and magazines I deal with.)
Fwd: Some Fact from Yangoon
This just came from a monk friend in Nepal.
28 Sep 2007 10:44
Some Fact from Yangoon
We just got phone call with our sister living in Yangon about a few hours ago.
We saw on BBC world, saying that 200 monks were arrested. The true picture is far worse!!!!!!!!!
For one instance, the monastery at an obscure neighborhood of Yangon, called Ngwe Kyar Yan (on Wei-za-yan-tar Road, Yangon) had been raided early this morning.
A troop of lone-tein (riot police comprised of paid thugs) protected by the military trucks, raided the monastery with 200 studying monks. They systematically ordered all the monks to line up and banged and crushed each one’s head against the brick wall of the monastery. One by one, the peaceful, non resisting monks, fell to the ground, screaming in pain. Then, they tore off the red robes and threw them all in the military trucks (like rice bags) and took the bodies away.
The head monk of the monastery, was tied up in the middle of the monastery, tortured , bludgeoned, and later died the same day, today. Tens of thousands of people gathered outside the monastery, warded off by troops with bayoneted rifles, unable to help their helpless monks being slaughtered inside the monastery. Their every try to forge ahead was met with the bayonets.
When all is done, only 10 out of 200 remained alive, hiding in the monastery. Blood stained everywhere on the walls and floors of the monastery.
Please tell your audience of the full extent of the fate of the monks please please !!!!!!!!!!!!
‘Arrested’ is not enough expression. They have been bludgeoned to death !!!!!!
P.o Box 1287