When Non-Violence is the Wrong Way

Over at Progressive Buddhism, Kyle suggests a violent solution to the situation in Burma.

The time for non-violent, peaceful civil disobedience is quickly coming to an end, and in my opinion the truly compassionate route for the populace of Burma to take, including the monks, is to take off their robes, pick up a rifle and decapitate the despotic, tyrannical and repressive leadership of the current Burmese regime. The good people of Burma have been abandoned by the rest of the world and therefore should join the remnants of the rebel guerrillas and other repressed minorities such as the Karen, Karenni, Shan, Tavoyan, and Mon, and take the most unpleasant route of armed confrontation. The Burmese people can not afford another Cyclone Nargina [sic], they can not afford 40 more years of quietly waiting while their young girls continue to get sold into the human sex slave trade and their small children are forced into hard labor. They can not afford 40 more years of hunger and disease, of poverty and repression, 40 more years of wasting away into a black hole of endless suffering. No longer does the path in Burma lay in peace and civility; the way to end this suffering, unfortunately, lies in the gun.

When I was much younger, I held opinions not too far removed from Kyle’s, but these sentiments are both naïve and misguided. As I mentioned in comments to a previous post, I feel very conflicted about the situation in Burma, especially from a “Buddhist” perspective (whatever that means). Hopefully I’ll be able to set aside enough time to discuss these issues more thoroughly (and yet succinctly) over on Dharma Folk

One thought on “When Non-Violence is the Wrong Way

  1. Archivist’s Note: Comments have been preserved from the original website for archival purposes; however, comments are now closed.

    NathanAugust 15, 2009 at 7:22 AM

    Violent takeovers of oppressive governments tend to create a new oppressor, as well as a hell of a lot of suffering that lasts for generations. We could even say that the uprising that led the U.S. to “freedom” also allowed a small group of privileged white leaders to set into place new forms of oppression that were worse than anything the British had done. I don’t see how it would be any different in Burma.

    I have a lot of students from Burma, mostly Karen. I’ve asked them before what they think should be done in Burma, what would most help. Answers vary, including a few that sound similar to yours. But I also know they all have expressed a great exhaustion with warfare, and no desire to live in the middle of it anymore. These are people that have been there, know what war does – my Hmong students have similar statements about the wars in Laos.

    I my opinion, even if it still sounds naive, large scale wars solve nothing.

    I don’t know what’s best for Burma. I don’t know what it will take to end the terror that is going on there. But the same can be said for those living in North Korea, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Iran, and so many other nations.

    NathanAugust 15, 2009 at 7:26 AM
    Opps, Arun – sorry, with my unplugged computer having a dull screen, I didn’t notice this was all Kyle’s comments. I will post the comment on him post. Look forward to seeing your actual post.


Comments are closed.