Friday, November 21, 2008

Where are the protests and boycotts by the international community?

Ashin Mettacara is a Buddhist monk who escaped Burma after the brutal end of the Saffron Revolution. Currently, from an undisclosed location, he is blogging whatever news he gets from this isolated country.

The military thugs who control the country are not being held accountable by the rest of the world, but they could not survive without China stonewalling for them. And we in the West, yes even us cool, level headed focused, bright and committed Buddhists seem to have put the issue aside after the unbelievable pictures of thousands of saffron robed monks marching in the streets, followed by the horrific scenes of death and destruction that were caused by the cyclone, disappeared from out TV's.

Just yesterday I was reminded again of what we can still do, even in small ways. I was with a college buddy, showing him around San Francisco. We went into a very upscale shop on Maiden Lane, actually a building that Frank Lloyd Wright designed. On the desk was a jar and an appeal to continue to help the victims in Myanmar.

Wake up. It's still going on. Please do not let up the pressure. Speak up!
Burma, Myanmar: Popular Burmese Hip-Hop Singer Gets 6 Years; Leader Monk Gets Another 15 years
More than 20 activists were sentenced in Burma on Thursday. A popular Burmese Hip-Hop singer Zay Yar Thaw was also included in the list of the detainenes sentenced.
Zay Yar Thaw is a 27-year-old singer from the popular music band known as ACID. ACID a hip-hop band from Yangon, Burma.
Zaw Yar Thaw organised and led the Generation Wave group with the young activists during the Saffron Revolution led by the Buddhist monks in 2007. He was arrested in March with his four other members of Generation Wave. He was sentenced today to 6 years imprisonment for possessing foreign currency and organising illegal group. His four other members of Generation Wave were sentenced to 5 years imprisoment each.
The leader and spokesmonk for the Saffron Revolution Ashin Gambira gets another 15 years. Last Tuesday he has already been sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. But his case is not closed yet.
By Ashin Mettacara

blog it

1 comment:

morgan zo-callahan said...

I recently saw a photo of open faced, smiling adobe-red robbed Ashin Panna, a brave Burmese Buddhist monk who scaled 2 barbed wire fences to escape to India, from prison in Burma on Oct. 1, '08. He had been tortured, kicked, punched, subjected to backbreaking labor such as carrying timber logs, pounding gravel, digging ditches while his feet were chained. He was one of the leaders of the Saffron Rebellion in Burma. He's an inspiration to allign myself with such groups as www.clearviewproject.org which posts the following: The Burmese have suffered since 1962 under brutal military junta that has turned the “rice bowl of Asia” into a destitute country. Fear controls the people. Torture, imprisonment, forced labor, the burning of whole villages, and conscripting child soldiers are the norm.

It took years to bring change to South Africa’s brutal apartheid regime. It may still take more years to bring change to Burma. But in Burma we have the principled, powerful example of Aung San Suu Kyi and the Buddhist monks and nuns who have refused to hate or retaliate in the face of horrific violence and injustice.

Western Buddhists owe a debt of gratitude to the Burmese for helping to bring the Buddha’s teachings to the West. They have kept and treasured the dharma for two thousand years. Whether Theravadan, Mahayana or Vajrayana, all Western Buddhists have been touched by the depth of Burmese Buddhism. And now many monasteries remain closed and thousands of monks remain unaccounted for.

The Burmese act in near isolation from outside support. But backing for their quest for democracy grows. Through careful and quiet channels, the democracy movement in Burma knows what we do on their behalf here in the US. Our support is precious to them in their struggle. The Burmese need us to speak with them and for them.

Keep the courage and heart of the Buddhist monks and nuns in Burma alive. Honor the Saffron Revolution though taking some action, however small to keep their struggle in awareness, knowing that the revolution is far from over. Let the Burmese regime and the world know that we will continue to raise our voices until the military junta yields to a free and civil Burma.

The International Burmese Monks Organization (IBMO)on September 26 held an all day meditation at the United Nations in NYC on Friday September 26, along with other NYC public events. Below are some suggestions for actions. The BPF website will have materials to print and use for these. Thank you for all your good intentions and actions.

In peace,

Clear View Project
707-360-8452 / margaret@clearviewproject.org

SAFFRON REVOLUTION — IDEAS FOR ACTION

Call or email Senator Obama (http://my.barackobama.com/page/s/contact2) e.g. “Please, as a global citizen and US President-Elect, remind the world of the courage of the monks and nuns one year ago today to stand up and speak for their land with 50 million citizens being held hostage by their own government.”
Ask your Buddhist teacher to talk about the Burmese monastics’ actions in 2007 and/or socially engaged Buddhism.
Hold a special meditation or service either at your center or in public in support of monastics in Burma.
Write to the UN Secretary General asking for a complete arms embargo on Burma. (sample letter on BPF web-site.)
Host a speaker on Burma. (There may be a monk or Burmese expert near you. Contact us for suggestions.)
Send an email to release Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners.
(http://www.amnestyusa.org/myanmar-burma/action/page.do?id=YCA0955) Aung San Suu Kyi says, “Please use your liberty to gain ours.”