03 Oct 2007 |
Posted by Lama Surya Das | 1 Comment.
Dwight D. Eisenhower commented that each and every gun, bullet, warplane, and battleship produced represented resources stolen from the poor and hungry people of this world. As a two term American president, and former commanding general who’d led the Allied Forces in 1945 on D-Day, he knew from experience what he was talking about.
This week the totalitarian military junta which rules Myanmar–formerly known as Burma–has cracked down and shot upon unarmed citizens and Buddhist monks protesting poverty and lack of the freedom of self-determination in Southeast Asia’s second largest country, a brutal reaction resulting in dozens of deaths and hundreds more injuries and arrests so far. Although democratically elected in 1988, peace-advocate Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest after all these years, her pro-democracy movement suppressed and voices stifled, while the world stands by and finds no way to intervene or bring meaningful pressure to bear on this tragic situation. The regime has cut off almost all contact between their country and the rest of the world, including the Internet.
What keeps our freedom-and-democracy spouting leaders from wielding American influence in Burma on behalf of those cherished ideals as we have elsewhere? Is it only because Burma possesses little or nothing Americans want and need? Or have we learned significant lessons from interceding in Iraq? Why does Myanmar’s principle trade-partner China stand by and refuse to exert its influence over Burma’s military leaders? Is there nothing to be done? Perhaps the five million Buddhists and other like-minded Americans could rise up and petition our government to take a more firm and effective stand on behalf of a native democracy and freedom movement.
It is hard to know what to do. It is certainly difficult, challenging, and even risky to act. It is perilous to intercede in the affairs of others people and other sovereign nations. Politics mixed with religion is a fragile and volatile combination. Yet the world must do something.
Mahatma Gandhi suggested that we reflect upon the faces of the poorest people on earth and make our decisions with them in mind. When we remember impermanence, death and immortality we find our priorities come more clearly into focus.
Look at the state of this human world and the entire environment. Are we planning to live or to die? Which side are we actually on?