Elaine Meinel Supkis
The 'one god only' religions frighten me because they are all focused on on spot on earth: the Middle East. And the Muslims, Christians and Jews can and are egging each other into the Apocalypse, in other words, World War III. So if I go off to pray with others, I go to the Grafton Peace Pagoda to pray for peace. But the Buddhists can be politically active as we have seen over and over in history. In Burma, the non-violent monks are marching and marching for regime change. They want to end the CIA-sponsored coup that is supported by all the major empires for the same reason other hard regimes are supported: for oil.
The government said its security forces opened fire Wednesday on demonstrators who failed to disperse, killing one person, and witnesses said police beat and dragged away dozens of Buddhist monks in the most violent crackdown against the protests that began last month in Myanmar.
While dissident groups reported as many as five dead, including monks, the military junta’s announcement on state radio and television was the first acknowledgment that force has been used to suppress the protests and the first admission that blood had been shed. The dissidents also said about 300 monks and activists were arrested.
A group of monks and students from Burma came 17 years ago to help put on the roof of the Peace Pagoda's main buildings. They were very sweet people and were, back then, worried about Burma's future and about Burma's oil. Since then, the government there has become increasingly like North Korea's government or Saddam's government: cruel and capricious. Come to think of it, this is increasingly like our own government. One becomes what one's friends already are! The US has supported tyranny repeatedly across the earth and likes to talk about liberation but instead, rips nations into smaller and smaller units and then rules them by force using puppet regimes.
All the empires do this. Russia did this in the past and is trying to do this today. The Ukrainian 'orange revolution' is falling flat and once again the Great Powers squabble over that place, ripping it apart even further. The reason why Americans should heed what is going on in Burma is the same reason we celebrated the Ukrainian experiment: it shows us how popular unity can pull down despotism.
The US supported dictators in the Philippines and when the dissedent presidential candidate refused to stay in exile and tried to come home, he was assassinated on the tarmac when his plane landed. Recently, when Pakistan's puppet military dictator supported by the CIA was challenged by two presidential rivals he had exiled, he re-exiled them but didn't kill them, he was so weak. But he enjoys little popular support just like Marco and his million shoes wife, Imelda.
The junta running and destroying Burma are very unpopular. The rival presidential candidate, Aung San Suu Kyi, isn't in exile but is under house arrest, waiting for her freedom which, I hope, comes today. The pictures from Burma are very moving. The monks are taking the lead because they are oganized and trained to march and chant without flinching or being shaken of purpose. The Buddhist nuns and monks I have known will march despite wind, rain, hail, snow or the dark of night. And since they are uniform in appearance, wearing their robes, they give body and shape to any march that mere crowds can't give.
The pictures at the blog below are quite moving. The monks asked people to protect themselves and not try to stand between them and the military. Yet picture after picture shows brave, selfless individuals holding hands, along the entire march route, sheltering the marching monks. The streets were lined with people holding their hands in prayer and bowing, etc. The masses are with the monks in classic fashion: a state can defy the Church or the People but not BOTH at the same time.
today.... 26/9/07 my duty time part is working on Emergency YGH... at about 2:00 pm 5 patients was coming to our Emergency ... for Gun Shot from Government militaries... 1 patients died on d spot on arriving Hospital... ( shot on Bladder ) 4 r still bad in Diagnosis... The patient's attendant said " the patient r not in d line of protest... they ( victims ) are just chatting and watching d protest line and sitting on Cafe Bar near Shawe Dagon Pagoda , some r pedestrians" when they watching.... Government military Car was crossing to d protest line and randomly shot all of them ... what the insanity and inhumanity of their mind don't they have self-mind.. that can desire to do or shouldn't do? don't they have Family? don't they have Brain? i was very sorry for victims ( pateints ) and victims' relatives really insanity , really inhumanity, really selfish to get holding their stupid military Government... really unintelligence .. how to manage the country like in this situation ... i always ready to support Protest Monks and People... and wanna treat whenever they get injuries ... and all my friends ... u also wanna see like that or not .... This PROTEST is our chance to get improving our country among neighbours ...
When Mao swept into China, the religious establishment was not and had not fought for the people for a very long time, hundreds of years. They were appendages of the state. So Mao could use military force and radical anti-religious students to bring down both the government and the religious establishment. But the cruel suppressions under Mao and especially, Madame Mao who was very cruel, caused a reaction and religious faith and resistence to the state is growing, not shrinking. This is why various religious minorities are persecuted viciously. But it is a losing game for the communists and I suspect they will retreat on this matter and already, they are trying to subvert the Church and Pagoda and make them more pro-state.
But in Burma, the dicators in the military have lost everyone and now must rule by brute force. The more unpopular the leader, the less secure. Stalin and his communist apparatus would have been overthrown by 1945 if Hitler hadn't come in and tried to annihilate the Russian people and steal everything and enslave the survivors. He single handedly make Stalin a hero.
But no one is invading Burma. And across the globe, Buddhism is on the move, it is not weakening but is growing. Like so many other religions, it has gotten a second wind here. In Muslim lands, Islam was weak and a dry, musty museum piece in 1900 but today, it is bursting with energy and action and millions of people are very motivated to spread it and to honor its rule.
The Jews were moving towards secularism and individualism in 1900, they were the mainspring of many of the arts and sciences of Central Europe at that time, creating a rich, vibrant secular culture that was crushed under the wheels of WWI and then by WWII, the Jewish people were nearly annihilated by a totally insane Hitler.
Now they are in a big religious revival that is running into the Muslim revival and perhaps, triggered it all. But then, there is even a pagan revival and this is where I stand, pretty much. Paganism was crushed by all the main religions for a while except in India. Now it is on the move, too.
Aside from the religious angle here, we Americans should realize, we won't win our liberties or rights by complaining. The Republicans and Democrats in Congress don't represent us. They have cleaved to greater forces and don't care if we go without these rights or even if we financially survive. We can see that if we go into the streets and refuse to be intimidated, we can win. The monks and the people of Burma will win in the end no matter how long this is.