Monthly Archives: October 2010

Saffron Revolution – Burma

The Burmese didn’t name their protest with such sophisticated title – Saffron Revolution. It was the robes of the monks that inspire such a title for the Burmese monks and people efforts in retaliating the military government nonviolently.

The demonstrations were sparked off when the government increased the fuel twice the amount, exacerbating the struggles of all Burmese. The monks decided to reject alms and marched the streets to pressure government to end poverty. Initial warnings such as tear gas put more people, especially students to join the march. As usual, repressive government used greater force to curb the demonstrations, monks were arrested and murdered.

Burma VJ is a documentary comprised of videos taking during the demonstrations and smuggled out with personal risks by the reporters. We thanked them for those who sacrificed their lives and those who are still working hard in providing the world with information. Exactly because of them, we are able to see an election happening in the coming month. The video below is a section of the documentary which I find most, well, mixed emotions.

Nonviolent strategies are not the perfect solutions but still one that would work better than any others. People will get arrest, will die, will suffer. However, if the demonstrators persist in their cause, it will only further expose the atrocities of the repressive regime. Continued pressure internally and externally would ultimate cripple the regime. Had the military forces decided to join the monks and students, the military junta might have been eliminated. Despite the charismatic democratic leader, Aung San Suu Kyi placed on extended house arrest and not able to participate in the coming election. I sincerely hope with new parties representing the people, that there would be a change in Burma. Else, the repressive regime would stay in place for another god knows how many years. Furthermore, if people decided to stand up for their cause, god knows how many the military would kill again.

May all beings living to the East
All the beings of the universe, be Free
Free from fear, free from all distress, free from poverty
May they have peace in their hearts

Free Burma.


Jim Dowling – nonviolence is the new power

without any information, i (and u as well) would assume these two men as criminals who just came out from the police station or court. or maybe just some hippies (i mean, look at the dreadlocks!). or maybe just some homeless, jobless men wandering on the streets. just nothing good, i assume.

well, now they looked really cute, aint they? one t-shirt says ‘the only solution is love’ with a lovey dove on the side and the other t-shirt shows a man dumping weapons into the bin. indeed, it is rather hippie (maybe its the dreadlocks?), like nobody would treat them seriously. but many things should be not be judged on the cover. the man on the right is Ciaron O’Reilly and the left is Jim Dowling, both are nonviolent activists in human rights and anti-war issues. and no, it is not ad-hoc; they devote their lives for such a cause.

that was Jim getting caught for blocking a major military access road to the Talisman Sabre 09 exercises being held at Shoalwater, central Queensland, Australia. getting caught and attending court is common, but the attitude should remained positive (like him). it is exactly such optimism that keeps the opponent off-guard. for example, he was in a blockade where activists locked their arms in a line, which the police threatened the use of force had they fail to disperse. however, the police didn’t use their batons and did the otherwise; they have to carry the activists away from the road (gently). that, is the power of nonviolence.

of course, this post is not to ask the readers to think about nonviolent protests but to be aware of it. nonviolence is a strategy to achieve positive ends with positive means. if u r (or going to be) a police, think when you are ordered to disperse civil resistance groups. if u r teacher, think whether you should encourage free speech and creativity in your students. if u r an adventure-seeker, think whether u should be sourcing for challenges in your life when there are existing challenges in the social structure in the world.