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

The Saffron Revolution Continues in Utica

The New York Times LENS blog is exploring the lives of U Pyinyar Zawta, U Gawsita and U Agga Nyana, three monks who were involved in Burma’s Saffron Revolution, and who now continue their struggle in New York. You can view the full video here.

In September 2007, thousands of Buddhist monks led the “saffron revolution,” a series of peaceful marches in response to military oppression and a dire economic situation in Myanmar, formerly Burma. Since then, three monks who escaped Myanmar and settled in Utica, N.Y., have continued campaigning across the United States for democracy and human rights for their country with the All Burma Monks’ Alliance.

As soon as I saw this link in my news feed, I had to call them up. (You’re famous!) The New York Times has plans to publish weekly pieces on Burma, they told me, with this one as their first. Stay tuned!