November 05, 2007

Burma needs PR help, among other things

David Steinberg, described as being something of a PR consultant to the Burmese government, visited recently and spoke with government officials. He told them they were losing what little legitimacy they have in international eyes, but acknowledge later that his visit seemed to have little effect, much like everything else the world is doing on Burma. President Bush has been very vocal on this issue.

But Maureen Aung-Thwin, a Burmese who heads the Burma Project at the Open Society Institute, believes Bush's declamations are counterproductive.

"You just don't want to hear this loud voice from America anymore" because people don't want to seen to be following Washington's lead.

U Gambira, the pseudonym of a leader of the All-Burma Monks Alliance, writes that the Saffron Revolution is not over -- it is just beginning:

The regime's use of mass arrests, murder, torture and imprisonment has failed to extinguish our desire for the freedom that was stolen from us so many years ago. We have taken their best punch.

Now it is the generals who must fear the consequences of their actions. We adhere to nonviolence, but our spine is made of steel. There is no turning back. It matters little if my life or the lives of colleagues should be sacrificed on this journey. Others will fill our sandals, and more will join and follow.

Is Burma seeking to develop nuclear weapons with North Korean help? No wonder Bush is so interested.

A Buddhist church in Visalia, California turns 100. Never heard of Visalia? It's between Fresno and Bakersfield just off Highway 99, not so very far from Sequoia National Park and Giant Sequoia National Monument.

A boycott of Beijing 2008 will only alienate the Chinese people, according to this article. The author wonders whether we should boycott the IOC instead.

The Dalai Lama got a rousing welcome to his home-in-exile, but was shunned by the Indian government on a visit to New Delhi. An Indian official (or at least a "highly placed source") was refreshingly frank about it:

The Indian government's directive to officials and ministers to stay away from a function to felicitate the Dalai Lama was part of a ''grand bargain'' to win China's support for the nuclear deal and underlined New Delhi's desire not to risk its growing ties with Beijing.

''We are taking extra care not to offend the Chinese sensitivities. It is part of a grand bargain between India and China. China, a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, won't give its support to the India-US nuclear deal for nothing,'' a highly placed source said.

China has so far been non-committal towards supporting the nuclear deal but has hinted that it will not stand in its way in the NSG. 

And finally there's this imaginary diary of the Dalai Lama, from the National Post of Canada. China's still griping about Canada being nice to the DL.

- Philip Ryan, Web Editor

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Gerald Ford's picture

Hello,

In addition to the Buddhist church in Visalia, quite a number of Jodo Shinshu Buddhist temples are close to being 100, if not more so. The Seattle Betsuin temple I go to began 103 years ago, but has been at it's current site just under 100.

Many folks are not aware that Jodo Shinshu Buddhism has been in the West for quite some time, and was even popular among non-Japanese Americans in the 20's and 30's, but the Internment of WWII really set back the whole movement. After that, Japanese-Americans were afraid to interact with their neighbors until real recently. Our temple has a pretty healthy mix of Japanese and non-Japanese Americans, as well as a large youth population who are bi-racial.

It's a pretty interesting story of this Buddhist movement in America, and I hope people can delve into it more.

Thanks!