Thursday, 27 September 2007
Bloggers Against Abuse
Today is Bloggers United against Abuse day. The topics for choice are: child abuse, domestic abuse, animal abuse, drug abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, political abuse – I would wish for fewer choices. Originally I would have written about child abuse as that makes my blood boil and my heartache but when I opened the papers this morning I was presented with the aftermath of a post I wrote earlier this week – I bow to the instructions of the Universe.
“Myanmar Raids Monasteries Before Dawn” is the headline that kills the hope of peaceful change in Burma. As much as I expected it, I hoped for better. Beginning the second day of their crackdown on nationwide protests in Myanmar before dawn today, security forces raided at least two Buddhist monasteries, beating and arresting dozens of monks, according to reports from the capital, Yangon.
On Wednesday, in a chaotic day of huge demonstrations, shooting, teargas and running confrontations between protesters and the military, many people were reported injured and half a dozen were reported to have been killed, most of them by gunshots.
The Associated Press reported that more shots were fired today at one of several monasteries raided early in the day, Ngwe Kyar Yan, where one monk said a number of monks were beaten and at least 70 of its 150 monks were arrested.
On Wednesday as it was made apparent to the government the protest were growing in size, instead of taking this as a mandate for change the junta began the violent crackdown. And speaking of things that make my blood boil: In response to the violence, the United Nations Security Council called an emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss the crisis, but China blocked a Council resolution, backed by the United States and European nations, to condemn the government crackdown. And so that’s it?
On a broad avenue near the temple, hundreds of people sat facing a row of soldiers, calling out to them, “The people’s armed forces, our armed forces!” and “The armed forces should not kill their own people!”
As the protests grew, public figures began to come forward, and on Tuesday the government arrested the first of them, a popular comedian, Zarganar, who had urged people to join the demonstrations. He had irritated the government in the past with his veiled political gibes.
The crackdown on Wednesday came in the face of warnings and pleas to the junta from around the world to refrain from the kind of violence that had made the country’s ruling generals international pariahs. So I can assume the new sanctions will really scare them eh?
I feel compelled to insert here my own bias. This particular outbreak of abuse takes me back to the Chinese rape of Tibet and that my friends is very personal for me. I grew up with monks of the same ilk as those who are protesting; they are compassionate and peaceful, and more loving to their fellow humans than I can ever hope to be. One of the most compelling stories I know was one told to us in a meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. There was a monk who had been imprisoned by the Chinese and tortured beyond imagining, who managed to escape and get to MacLeod Ganj in Northern India. In his meeting with His Holiness he said, “There was one time when I was truly frightened, when I feared for myself – that was when I was afraid I was losing compassion for my jailers.” These are the kind of men the junta in Burma are beating, arresting, and killing.
We are all responsible for abuse of all types. As long as we are in the world, and we permit it in the world, we are responsible. Every time we see an adult abusing a child and say nothing, we are responsible. Every time we see evidence of a man beating his wife, and we do nothing, we are responsible. Every time we see someone abuse an animal, and we do nothing, we are responsible. Every time we allow someone to express prejudice in our presence, and we say nothing, we are responsible. Every time we elect leaders who choose to kill for retaliation and oil rather than the freedom of our fellow world citizens, we are responsible. Every time we read of abuse and do not speak out, we are responsible. When we look away, we are responsible.