September 21, 2007

Burma Heats Up

Things are really happening in Burma. First there was a protest march in the capital (Rangoon / Yangon) by "at least 3000 people led by Buddhist monks":

Monks have protested against the regime all week, revitalising anti-junta rallies that erupted a month ago amid public anger over a massive hike in fuel prices, which has left many unable to afford bus fare to get to work.

"Monks are taking to the streets in order to make the government listen and understand people's suffering," said Aung Naing Oo, a Thailand-based Myanmar analyst.

Some monks have refused to accept donations from members of the military, a gesture seen as a severe rebuke tantamount to excommunication for Buddhists, who believe that giving alms daily is an important religious duty.

More than 150 people, including some of the nation's most prominent pro-democracy leaders, have been arrested since the protests began last month.

And now the UN is finally calling for action. Danny Fisher points us to the Buddhist Peace Fellowship's Statement of Support for the monks.

Also a piece that has been kicking around for a few days about one of the putative fathers of the Buddhist revival in India, the Sri Lankan Anagarika Dharmapala, later known as the Ven. Sri Devamita Dharmapala. The article pumps him and Colonel Olcott up and puts down Dr. Ambedkar's claims to the title.

The Shambhala Center in L.A. is presenting a workshop on "Romantic Fantasy/Everyday Disappointments," by Judith Simmer-Brown:

Brown believes that Western culture has created an especially difficult environment in which to work with our romantic expectations because we are taught that the solution to life's problems is romantic love.

The class will use clips from well-known Hollywood romantic movies and see the accuracies of the western romantic love. The class may work more closely with the dynamics of passion, independence and intimacy through mediation practice.

Watching romantic movies to learn about love! Only in L.A. For more on romantic love in this modern world of ours, see below:

A married couple that has been chatting online has found out they were talking not to pleasant strangers but to each other. Result? Divorce. (In the movies they'd stick it out.) They were in love with each other's online personalities, so they must have still been compatible on some level. Funny how we can re-orient our personalities depending on the people we are speaking to, "to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet."

Two Lehigh professors, Dean Anne Meltzer, and Professor Peter Zeitler, gave talks on Tibet in preparation for the Dalai Lama's July visit to campus. They must have some knockout Buddhist Studies courses there, with Kenneth Kraft and all.

It's China Year in France and an exhibition of photographs of Tibet is going on in Paris as part of the program.

And across the Rhine in Germany, the government is working to convince China that the Dalai Lama's visit will not affect relations between their countries. The Dalai Lama is stirring things up everywhere and China plays right into it. They withdrew their ambassador from Berlin in anger over the move. But he'll be back.

Isn't this behavior on China's part the definition of being a superpower? They scream and yell and wave a stick and the world can't afford to ignore it. Unfortunately the U.S. operates in this blunt diplomatic fashion too, only with not so much diplomacy.

Off-the-subject example: The government of Iraq has concluded that the fatal shots fired by employees of Blackwater, which is one of many private security companies operating in Iraq under contract to the U.S. government, were not provoked. Blackwater mercenaries perform tasks such as guarding U.S. diplomats on trips outside the Green Zone. The Army doesn't do it because there aren't enough of them, or they're more expensive, or for some other good reason. Anyway, the Iraq government revoked Blackwater's license to operate on Iraqi soil, only, because of some provisions Bremer set up when he was satrap in Baghdad, Maliki et al. may not have the authority to do that -- and the U.S. government has resumed running Blackwater-guarded convoys. It's not even clear that private security contractors accused of any crime could be tried by a non-U.S. authority in Iraq. So does this mean the Iraqi government is officially a puppet government? Are we still fighting this war to give them time to work out their problems, diplomatically-like?

- Philip Ryan, Webmaster

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Free Burma!'s picture

Free Burma!
International Bloggers' Day for Burma on the 4th of October

International bloggers are preparing an action to support the peaceful revolution in Burma. We want to set a sign for freedom and show our sympathy for these people who are fighting their cruel regime without weapons. These Bloggers are planning to refrain from posting to their blogs on October 4 and just put up one Banner then, underlined with the words „Free Burma!“.

www.free-burma.org

Gregor's picture

I find the developments in Burma to be very encouraging.

Burma » Blog Archives » Detained Burma leader greets protest's picture

[...] Burma Heats UpThings are really happening in Burma. First there was a protest march in the capital (Rangoon / Yangon) by “at least 3000 people led by Buddhist monks”:. Monks have protested against the regime all week, revitalising anti-junta rallies … [...]