Showing posts with label Buddha Dharma. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Buddha Dharma. Show all posts

Sunday, December 16, 2012

From Newtown to Darfur, from Sandy to Bopha; As 2012 Ebbs Away, Look to Solstice for New Year, & Hopefully, New Age; Look into Mirror for Leaders


Nicholas Roerich - Serpent of Wisdom (1924)
The number of people killed after Typhoon Bopha struck the southern Philippines has risen to more than 1,000, officials say. With nearly 850 people still missing, the toll is likely to rise further ... The storm displaced hundreds of thousands of people and caused severe damage to property and infrastructure. BBC, 12-15-12

They found alarming losses of big trees, ranging from 100 to 300 years old, at all latitudes in Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, South America, Latin America and Australia ... The study showed that trees were not only dying en masse in forest fires, but were also perishing at 10 times the normal rate in non-fire years. The study said it appeared to be down to a combination of rapid climate change causing drought and high temperatures, as well as rampant logging and agricultural land clearing. Agence France Press, 12-6-12

The worst drought in half a century has brought water levels in the Mississippi close to historic lows and could shut down all shipping in a matter of weeks – unless Barack Obama takes extraordinary measures. Suzanne Goldenberg, Guardian, 12-14-12

A group of elephants near Timbuktu makes an epic journey each year in their quest for food and water. Researchers found that they travel across an area of 12,355 square miles (32,000 square kilometers) in the deserts of Mali, marking the largest known elephant range in the world. Live Science, 12-14-12

From Newtown to Darfur, from Sandy to Bopha; As 2012 Ebbs Away, Look to Solstice for a New Year, and Hopefully, a New Age; Look into Mirror for Leaders

By Richard Power


The life of 2012 ebbs away, and each of us, in our own way, prepares for the Solstice. I write this post to assure you that it will guide us into a new year, and yes, a new age (as inconceivable as that vision might seem at this moment). There is so much to say, and yet in a very real way there is so little to say.

Concerning the slaughter of twenty young children in Newtown, Connecticut, I refer you to the insights of Harvey Wasserman and Chauncey DeGraw:

The Second Amendment does NOT guarantee the right of any and all citizens to own any and all kinds of guns. It DEMANDS, in the name of national security, that we regulate it. NEVER let assertions of the so-called "sanctity" of the 2d Amendment bully you into thinking it guarantees unregulated weapon ownership. It does NOT. Harvey Wasserman, Common Dreams, 12-15-12

Per our national script, there are several questions which will go unanswered...just as they always do. As I wrote about in regards to James Holmes , the Batman movie killer, there will be no soul searching about why white men are committing these violent acts. In the present, mass shootings have been almost the exclusive province of white men. Chauncey DeGraw, AlterNet, 12-15-12

Of course, at this very moment, in all too many places on this planet, there are so many children suffering atrocities, and on such a large scale. And yet, these ongoing narratives, e.g., the slow motion genocide in Darfur, are largely ignored by Infotainmentstan and Beltwayistan, those twisted sisters who control "the horizontal and the vertical."

Camps have become free-fire zones, an epidemic of rape continues to plague women and girls, murders are common, and aerial bombardment of civilian targets has been relentless (see www.sudanbombing.org). Perhaps most tellingly, more than 1 million people have been newly displaced since UNAMID took up its mandate on January 1, 2008; and as has been the case since the beginning of conflict in Darfur, the greatest cause of displacement is violence. The scale of this new displacement has never been acknowledged by UNAMID, which prefers instead to celebrate the small-scale “returns” of displaced persons that are optimistically measured in the tens of thousands. And the engine of displacement—ethnically-targeted violence in camps and rural areas, rape, and land appropriation by Arab groups taking advantage of this displacement—continues to race. Radio Dabanga provides daily updates that find no place in the infrequent and disgracefully uninformed and unrevealing reports from UNAMID. Eric Reeves, 12-1-12

Meanwhile, every child on the planet is growing up into a world that will bear little if any resemblance to the planet which even their parents and grand parents inherited from the generations that preceded them. Because we are, in a very real way, stomping the world as we know it to death with our carbon footprint.

Profound spiritual illness and deep psychological dysfunction have allowed such ongoing narratives of horror to continue exacerbating and unaddressed, from the refuge camps of Africa to the schoolrooms of the affluent U.S.A., and from the devastation wrought by Sandy to the horror wrought by Bopha.

If you had told me twenty years ago, at that that first Rio Summit, that by 2012 global carbon emissions would have increased by around 50%, that 1 billion people in the world would be hungry, that fossil fuel subsidies would amount to $1 trillion a year, I would have been horrified. As Lord Stern states in his latest report, 'The overall pace of change is recklessly slow. We are acting as if change is too difficult and costly and delay is not a problem. The rigidity of the processes under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the behaviour of participants also hinder progress. And the vested interests remain powerful.' I was appalled by the lack of progress, and deeply disturbed by the powerful special interest being exerted in Doha. The fingerprints of corporate interest were all over the COP18 negotiations. As Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy, Union of Concerned Scientists said at the conclusion of the conference: "There were some winners here. The coal industry won here, the oil industry won here, you saw on display the power of these industries and their short term profit to influence the governments of the world. This wasn't an environmental summit it was a trade fair to see who would share the spoils as we drill in the Arctic, produce tar sand in Canada and mine coal in Indonesia for China..." Bianca Jagger, Common Dreams, 12-12-12

Sadly, if you are looking for leadership, don't waste precious time turning to the White House. Look in the mirror instead. POTUS will not lead on our toughest issues (I would be so happy to be proven wrong), but I have hope that he will follow IF a multitude rises up to lead the nation and the species to the threshold of a brighter future, and a new age. How many beings constitute a multitude? None of us can say what number will deliver the counter tipping point we so desperately need. But we can say with great certainty that each of us only has to count to ONE, i.e., ourselves.

Stand up for this new world, in your prayer, in your meditation, in your interactions with others, in your life-style (as much as is possible given your own circumstances), and in your attitude toward the rest of your life. That is all that is required of any of us.

And when you are in need of encouragement, listen to those voices who are already at the forefront of this assembling multitude.

Women knew that the real value of forests was not the timber from a dead tree, but the springs and streams, food for their cattle, and fuel for their hearths. The women declared that they would hug the trees, and the loggers would have to kill them before killing the trees. Vandana Shiva, AlterNet, 12-10-12

Each has a tough-love message for their own constituency — McKibben for an insular environmental movement that's been woefully ineffective on climate; Klein for a left, including many in the Occupy movement, that has failed to grapple with the seriousness and urgency of the climate crisis. Look, they're saying, this is it: science tells us that time is running out, and everything you've ever fought for is on the line. Climate change has the ability to undo your historic victories and crush your present struggles. So it's time to come together, for real, and fight to preserve and extend what you care most about — which means engaging in the climate fight, really engaging, as if your life and your life's work, even life itself, depended on it. Because they do. Wes Stephenson, Boston Phoenix, 12-13-12

Do you know why 350 is the most important number in your life and the lives of everyone you love? Go to 350.org for the answer.

Richard Power is the author of eight books, including Humanifesto: A Guide to Primal Reality in an Era of Global Peril, Between Shadow and Night: The Singularity in Anticipation of Itself and True North on the Pathless Path: Towards a 21st Century Yoga. Power writes and speaks on spirituality, sustainability, human rights, and security. He blogs at http://words-of-power.blogspot.com and http://primalwordsofpower.blogspot.com, and is a member of the Truthout Board of Advisors. He also teaches yoga.

Friday, October 12, 2012

"We Must Learn to See in the Dark" - Future Primitive Gaialogue with Richard Power: Humanifesto, or How to "Become the Change You Seek in the World"

Humanifesto: A Guide to Primal Reality in An Era of Global Peril from Amazon is available in soft cover and Kindle versions from Amazon


The gods and goddesses do not exist as "separate entities." Nor do the avatars. Nor do you and I. The gods and goddesses are like vortices. You and I are like fractals. The avatars are fractals morphing into vortices. There is no "above" or "below" or even "within." All are the dance of particle and wave, all are the revelation of the Matrix. This era into which we enter now demands great courage, great love, great laughter, great patience, great strength, great cleverness, great silence, and great song. You have access to inexhaustible resources of all that will be demanded of you, otherwise you would not be here now. -- Richard Power, Humanifesto: A Guide to Primal Reality in An Era of Global Peril, 2012

"We Must Learn to See in the Dark" - Future Primitive Gaialogue with Richard Power: Humanifesto, How to "Become the Change You Seek in the World"

By Richard Power


The life journey of Joanna Harcourt-Smith is a compelling story that spans the turbulent history of our remarkable era: from growing up in Paris, where she learned to speak five languages, to living the fugitive life in Afghanistan with her long-time lover LSD pioneer Timothy Leary in the 1970s, from playing house with the Rolling Stones and hanging out with Salvador Dali in the 1960s, to hosting the Future Primitive podcast series from Santa Fe, New Mexico since 2006. So it should not be surprising that Joanna recently invited me to engage in one of her Gaialogues, this one introducing my eighth book, Humanifesto: A Guide to Primal Reality in An Era of Global Peril. In this hour-long interview, we explore numerous issues, including the profound challenges of the Climate Crisis, childhood trauma and the power of the Shamanic path, the long-overdue return of the Divine Feminine, the scourges of sociopathy and corporatism, the vital role of women in that great evolutionary leap forward (that must come soon), as well as practical tips on actualizing Gandhi's exhortation to "become the change you seek in the world."

Future Primitive offers a treasure trove of free podcast interviews with a broad spectrum of over 300 iconoclasts and evolutionaries, from Van Jones, Charles Eisenstein, Daniel Pinchbeck and Fantuzzi to Joan Halifax, Riki Ott, Laurie David and Jean Shinoda Bolen. And it is good to be in their company.

Make yourself a pot of tea or coffee, and take off an hour to indulge yourself and listen to this Gaialogue:



Future Primitive is a Marion Institute project. And I encourage you to support this shining example of the kind of citizens' media so essential to bringing about the massive, NON-VIOLENT evolution our species and our planet so desperately need.

The Inner Game

Humanifesto is about the inner game; it is about what YOU can bring to this profound shift in the nature of civilization and culture. For that is what our circumstances demand of us. And that profound shift in civilization and culture is impossible without a profound shift in consciousness.

Organized into three sections, "Humanifesto" includes both practical techniques for the journey of self-discovery and a bold agenda for collective social action.

The first section, End as Beginning; Perspectives from Within the Singularity is the text of my un-TED talk. It is a twenty-minute presentation. It tells who I am, where I came from, what I have to tell you, and why you should listen to me. I conceived of this un-TED talk in 2010, and have been working on it since, distilling the message down to its essence.

The second section, Primal Reality, is a series of ruminations, revelations and exhortations on light and shadow and the oneness of all life. These writings are explorations in search of new global language for a new global spirituality (embodied and individuated).

I have also included, as an Appendix, Burning Man 2011 – Primal Culture and Core Civilization as A Moveable Feast, my report on Black Rock City. This remarkable event offers us all some powerful lessons. Such laboratories of living are of vital importance.

Our way of life is unsustainable. We are destroying the natural order upon which we depend for our physical existence. Our governance has failed protect us, or our world, from our own ignorance. Governments no longer serves the common good, they has been subverted to indulge the voracious appetites of corporations.

We are lost. And just as we have lost our sense of oneness with the life of the planet all around us, we have also lost our sense of oneness with the divine reality within us. Neither religious fanaticism nor soulless materialism nourish our beings. Sentient life everywhere calls for a new humanism, with which to redeem the past and rescue the future by revitalizing the now.

We must call upon our primal reality to birth a new civilization from the singularity which we have created for ourselves. Our primal reality is not savagery or selfishness or survival of the cruelest; our primal reality is unconditional love and impeccable clarity of mind. And it is accessible to us here and now. Humanifesto (Y-O-U manifesto) is a guide to how to live and be the change we seek in this era of planetary peril.

Do you know why 350 is the most important number in your life and the lives of everyone you love? Go to 350.org for the answer.

Richard Power is the author of eight books, including Humanifesto: A Guide to Primal Reality in an Era of Global Peril, Between Shadow and Night: The Singularity in Anticipation of Itself and True North on the Pathless Path: Towards a 21st Century Yoga. Power writes and speaks on spirituality, sustainability, human rights, and security. He blogs at http://words-of-power.blogspot.com and http://primalwordsofpower.blogspot.com, and is a member of the Truthout Board of Advisors. He also teaches yoga.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Future of the Planet, the Fate of the Nation, the Failure of the Collective Conscience, & Why Mahakasyapa Smiled When Buddha Twirled the Flower

Image: Frida Kahlo, Love Embrace of the Universe

In a new paper published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Sir Partha Dasgupta makes the point that the problem with gross domestic product is the gross bit. There are no deductions involved: all economic activity is accounted as if it were of positive value. Social harm is added to, not subtracted from, social good. A train crash which generates £1bn worth of track repairs, medical bills and funeral costs is deemed by this measure to be as beneficial as an uninterrupted service which generates £1bn in ticket sales. George Monbiot, After this 60-year Feeding Frenzy, Earth Itself has Become Disposable, Guardian, 1-5-10

Migrant Mother/Pea-Picker in the Dust Bowl, Photo by Dorothea Lange, 1936

The decade that just ended has been the worst for the U.S. economy in modern times by a wide range of data, with zero net job growth and the slowest rise in economic output since the 1930s. Many who stayed employed were hurt too, with middle-income families making less in 2008, when adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1999 — the first decade since the 1960s that median incomes have fallen. Think Progress, 1-2-09

For More Compelling Photos from Mia Farrow's Journeys, click here.

In Washington ... few challenges have produced a greater chasm between words and deeds. A first step toward closing that gap is debunking the myths about Sudan that persist among policymakers, diplomats and the public: The genocide in Darfur is largely over ... China's oil investments in Sudan keep it from pressuring the government ... Pressure on Sudan hasn't worked, so let's try incentives ... Indicting President Bashir hurt peace efforts ... The United States is doing everything it can to end the violence. John Prendergast, Five Myths About Genocide and Violence in Darfur, Washington Post, 12-18-09



The Future of the Planet, the Fate of the Nation, the Failure of the Collective Conscience, & Why Mahakasyapa Smiled When Buddha Twirled the Flower

By Richard Power


Predatory capitalism has failed as an economic model, just as surely as Soviet "communism" failed; and just as we suddenly found ourselves on the precipice of the Soviet empire's collapse in the late 1980s, we could soon find ourselves on the precipice of the U.S. empire's collapse.

The antidote to both otherwise fatal illnesses is a mixed economy, which promotes true free enterprise and yet cultivates a robust commons (e.g., critical infrastructure, mass transportation, public education and yes, universal, single-payer healthcare). This antidote, if allowed to take hold, will evolve over time into a new model, for which we do not yet have words or concepts; a model that will be more respectful of the framework outlined by our founders.

Does this nation have the collective courage or the clarity of mind to locate the balance point between these two extremes before it is too late and we are plunged irretrievably into chaos? Certainly, in past two decades since the fall of the Soviet Union, it has not given any evidence of such qualities.

Consider the evidence.

I have now been speaking out on the threat of climate change for a decade.

In 2000, Bush-Cheney reneged on the US commitment made to the Kyoto accords during Clinton-Gore. For the next eight years, the US political establishment ducked this grave planetary threat, hiding behind a faux controversy, predicated on denial and disinformation, and coated with a veneer of credibility by the US mainstream news media. (There is no legitimate debate. The scientific consensus is well-established, and has been for YEARS now.)

In 2009, despite good intentions and some skillful moves, Obama came back from Copenhagen with next to nothing. Better than nothing? Yes. Better than blowing it off? Certainly. Enough to rescue the future from the follies of the present? Not even close.

After a weak deal in Copenhagen, Pachauri warned that allowing scepticism to delay international action on global warming would endanger the lives of the world's poorest people. "In the end, knowledge and science will undoubtedly triumph, but delay in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases would only lead to ...worse impacts of climate change and growing hardship for the most vulnerable regions in the world, which are also unfortunately some of the poorest communities on Earth." Adam Vaughan, Climate Change Scepticism Will Increase Hardship for World's Poor: IPCC Chief, Guardian, 1-4-10

I have been speaking out in the catastrophe in Darfur for seven years now.

Despite occasional outbursts of sanctimonious rhetoric from Bush, between 2003 and 2008, the USA did nothing of any note. And despite high-borne campaign promises, the Obama administration is not undertaking a sufficiently radical change in policy.

Look, it is simple. For a couple of years now, those on the ground have been calling for a DOZEN HELICOPTERS to support the work of the UN/AU peacekeeping force.

No one in the West has come up with these helicopters.

Do you know the full extent of the US military hegemony in this world?

The 2009 U.S. military budget is almost as much as the rest of the world's defense spending combined and is over nine times larger than the military budget of China ... The United States and its close allies are responsible for about two-thirds of the world's military spending ...

And yet still, no helicopters to support the UN/AU peacekeepers.

The point is not the upcoming Sudanese elections, or the on again off again peace negotiations. Civil war is the most likely outcome to both flawed processes.

The point is this evening some young girl will be sent out to collect firewood, and she will be much more likely to become a victim of rape as a weapon of war because we have not scrounged up those helicopters.

Of course, when the civil war comes, it may not matter anymore, because it is quite possible the young girl and her family will have been massacred in the final strokes of this slow motion genocide.

She won't be going out to collect firewood, she will be firewood.

Since 2003, an estimated 300,000 have perished in this violence and 2.7 million have been displaced or forced to leave their homes. This genocide is seen as the most atrocious humanitarian crisis occurring today. The U.S. called this murder, rape and torture genocide in 2004, yet our country hasn't learned that actions speak louder than words. Let's reaffirm our Darfur commitment, The Tennessean, 1-4-10

So at this extraordinary juncture, with the future of the planet, the fate of the nation and the failure of our collective conscience in the balance, I am compelled to ask you, why is it, do you think, that Mahākāśyapa smiled when Buddha twirled the flower?

Do you know the story?

On Vulture Peak, Gautama Buddha twirled a flower, and raised his eyebrow. No one in the assembly responded. They sat, silent and expressionless. Only Mahākāśyapa smiled. Then Buddha announced that he was entrusting Mahākāśyapa with "the heart of Nirvana, the true form of non-form ... a special transmission outside the teaching." Thereafter, whenever Buddha communed with the assembly, Mahākāśyapa shared his pillow.

So why did Mahākāśyapa smile?

He smiled because the flower was in the mind, and the mind was in the flower. He smiled because the beauty of the flower was the clarity of the mind, and the clarity of the mind was the beauty of the flower. He smiled because the heart was the fathomless depth of the mind, and the mind was the shining surface of the heart. He smiled because there was a dimension of being where word was deed and deed was word, and all was vibration, and that vibration was boundless, unconditional love.

That flower is twirling inside each of us even now. And from the seed of each of those twirling flowers in the pool of psyche waves of love's wisdom, in infinite reverberation, are emanating. These waves are producing miracles of humanity all around us (some secular, some religiously inspired, NONE of them fundamentalist).

And so even here even now, we can find ourselves smiling.

Miracles of love's wisdom in action in Egypt ...

The two solar panels and bio-gas unit on the roof of Soliman's building in Darb El-Ahmar provide hot water and cooking gas to his two-bedroom apartment, reducing his family's carbon footprint and energy costs. The clean energy appliances, made mostly from recycled material, have reduced his household's waste have meant that "my gas and electricity bills are much less than before," says Soliman. They shaved nearly 50 percent off the utility bills. EGYPT: Rooftops Empower the Poor, IPS, 1-3-10

Solar CITIES, the group that engineered this set-up has built 35 solar water heaters (approx. $500 each) in Egypt since 2007. Imagine if they had been empowered to build 3500.

Miracles of love's wisdom in action in Columbia ...

Indigenous and rural women from southern Tolima, a province located in the heart of Colombia, are lending a hand to the bleak land around them, with the aim of simultaneously recovering the ecosystem and regaining their own dignity, in a community effort that is changing their environment and their lives. Columbia: Women Empowered by Restoring Desertified Land, IPS, 1-2-09

The Women's Hands project "extends over 56 rural villages, townships and Pijao reservations, which make up six municipalities." Imagine if it spread across South America, Africa and the Middle East.

Miracles of love's wisdom in action in Germany, Britain, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic ...

Less and less waste, these days, is actually allowed to go to waste. Instead, it is used to generate biogas, a methane-rich mixture that can be employed for heating and for the generation of electricity ... The consequence of techniques such as these is that an ever-larger proportion of sewage is being used as a raw material for energy generation. Germans already process about 60% of their faeces this way, and the Czechs, Britons and Dutch are close behind (see chart). GENeco reckons the figure in Britain by the end of 2010 will have leapt to 75%—enough, when converted into electricity, to power 350,000 homes. The seat of power, The Economist, 12-30-09

The sewer systems of many of America's great cities are crumbling and in desperate need of repair. Imagine a nationwide job program that not only rebuilt this vital infrastructure but turned it into a source of energy. In the teeming mega-slums of much of the rest of the world, there are towering walls of human faeces overtaking the human population producing the waste. Imagine a renewed peace corp turning into an energy resource.

Miracles of love's wisdom in action in the USA ...

Boulder and Denver’s civic and government leaders, research institutions, and entrepreneurs are building a home for the electric car. Rather than waiting for the car to arrive, these entities are plug-in-proofing their cities and demonstrating a belief in the potential for vehicle electrification. Grist, 12-28-09

Imagine every one of the major metropolitan areas in the USA undertaking such an initiative.

Ah, but so much more could be done ...

Solar power technologies could generate 15 percent of America's power in 10 years, but only if Washington levels the playing field on subsidies ... Currently, solar contributes less than 1 percent of energy used in the U.S. and employs some 60,000 people. Increasing that amount to 15 percent would result in a total of 882,000 new jobs, the association said ... The solar ramp-up would also fight climate change. A 15 percent scenario would slash America's energy-related emissions by an estimated 10 percent ... Stacy Feldman, Solve Climate, 12-29-09

Imagine that, 15% of the USA's power, 882,000 new jobs and a 10% cut in our greenhouse gas emissions.

And the Crisis in Darfur, too, can be profoundly impacted by the miracle of love's wisdom ...

While Fidelity and Vanguard failed to step up to the plate, TIAA-CREF emerged as the first large U.S. fund firm to take up the banner of the anti-genocide investment cause, revealing on Monday that the firm sold stakes in four Asian oil companies alleged to have ties to the Sudanese government behind the Darfur genocide. Mutual Fund Wire, 1-4-10

Imagine if Fidelity and Vanguard shook off the spell of denial and exercised a meaningful grasp of corporate social responsibility by joining TIAA-CREF, an act which in turn led to pressure on other economic and financial interests to disabuse themselves of their complicity (whether directly or indirectly) in underwriting rape as a weapon of war and genocide as a geopolitical tactic.

Whatever happens now, always remember why Mahākāśyapa smiled, and look for that twirling flower in your own consciousness; it is there, it has always been there. It is the reality of you, it is love's wisdom. No matter what becomes of us all.

For the Words of Power Climate Crisis Updates Archive, click here.

Have you met Al Gore at the Wall yet?

I encourage you to find out why 350 is the most important number in your life and the lives of everyone you love: go to 350.org or Google "Bill McKibben" for the answer.

As always, I encourage you to follow events in Darfur on Mia Farrow's site, it is the real-time journal of a humanitarian at work; the content is compelling, insightful and fiercely independent.

For an archive of Words of Power posts on the Crisis in Darfur, click here.

True North on the Pathless Path: Toward 21st Century Spirituality is available from Amazon.com

Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available from Lulu.com.

Al Gore, Darfur, Mia Farrow, , , , ,

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

True North on the Pathless Path: Toward 21st Century Spirituality



“The direction of true north is marked in the skies by the north celestial pole. For most practical purposes, this is the position of Polaris. However, due to the precession of the Earth's axis, true north rotates in an arc that takes approximately 25,000 years to complete … On maps issued by the United States Geological Survey, and the U.S. military, true north is marked with a line terminating in a five-pointed star.” – Wikipedia

“North - Place of the Ancient Ones who have gone over - place of wisdom.” - Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Sioux 1868-1937

True North on the Pathless Path: Toward 21st Century Spirituality

By Richard Power


My sixth book, True North on the Pathless Path, is available now from Amazon.com.

True North is a book of 17 essays that explore perennial themes and powerful practices drawn from the diverse mystical traditions of the world. It attempts to articulate a new vision of spirituality with which to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

The voices of many of humanity's great saints and sages echo through the pages: e.g., Sri Ramana Maharshi, Mother Krishnabai, Sri Nisargadatta, Yeshe Tsogyel, Meister Eckhart, Mother Teresa, Padma Sambhava, Hildegaard of Bingen, Mulla Nasrudin, the Baal Shem Tov and Theresa of Avila.

These essays were inspired by my long friendship with the legendary American sage, Joe Miller. They were written for a small circulation independent journal in the years immediately following Miller's death (1992-1997). In this self-published volume, they are available for the first time to a broader audience.

You can purchase True North on the Pathless Path: Toward 21st Century Spirituality from Amazon.com

You can find all six of my books on my Amazon Author's Page.

NOTE: The best way to purchase Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is still from www.lulu.com.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

In the Dark of Night in Tehran, in Insein Prison, & in Darfur, the Birds are Singing for the Coming of the Dawn -- Do Not Deny Them, Listen

Medicine Wheel, a Native American sacred site and National Historic Landmark in Wyoming


Aung San Suu Kyi, Your heart beats with my heart. My eyes see what you see. My belief is your belief. And my life is connected to thousands of universes, as is yours. Every twinkle of the star must travel billions of years to be seen by us.
But our minds do not have to travel at all to be seen by each other.
Because we are altogether.
Yoko Ono, Imagine Peace, 6-19-09

In the Dark of Night in Tehran, in Insein Prison & in Darfur, the Birds are Singing for the Coming of the Dawn -- Do Not Deny Them, Listen

By Richard Power


It was not by random that the wheel was chosen as the image that best expressed the way of Buddha Dharma, nor is it a coincidence that the wheel was also chosen as the Native American symbol of the universe and the all the powers it contains.

The Dharma Wheel and the Medicine Wheel are one; and as that one Great Wheel turns, with it turn the seasons, the planets, and all life everywhere.

As I write this, the Great Wheel is turning again. It is the moment of the solstice.

In the Northern Hemisphere spring has turned into summer; in Southern Hemisphere, fall has turned into winter.

The Great Wheel turns on and on, grinding away both good and evil, and milling something beyond both from the grains that the process yields.

Aung San Suu Kyi spent this solstice, the day after her 64th birthday, in Insein Prison.

Hollywood celebrities, singers, writers and dignitaries tweeted, uploaded and signed petitions for the release of Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who turned 64 in prison Friday. Here are excerpts from birthday messages that appear on a Web site created in her honor: http://64forsuu.org ... Author Salman Rushdie wrote: "On this day, my birthday and yours, I always remember your long ordeal and silently applaud your endurance. This year, silence is impossible... " Irrawaddy, 6-19-09

Last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, etc., Aung San Suu Kyi spent her birthdays under mere house arrest.

One week before this solstice, Sudan researcher Eric Reeves posted a warning about a push to "re-write the Darfur narrative":

The historical narrative of the Darfur genocide is presently being re-written. Despite dozens of human rights reports that have established the basic realities of ethnically-targeted human destruction in Darfur and Eastern Chad over the past seven years, an effort is being made to minimise the scale of that destruction, elide the role of ethnicity in the conflict and downplay the responsibility of the Khartoum regime. This large-scale revision has been taken up by those – particularly on the left – with an ideological aversion to humanitarian intervention. If the catastrophe can be portrayed as non-genocidal and essentially local in character, then advocacy efforts – initially for humanitarian intervention and currently for robust support of a weak and ineffectual UN/African Union peace operation – are misguided and misplaced.. Eric Reeves, Sudan Research, 6-15-09

Although Reeves had cited "particularly the left," and singled out author Mahmood Mamdani, two days later, I was disconcerted to read the following lead to a Washington Post story:

President Obama's special envoy to Sudan, retired Air Force Maj. Gen. J. Scott Gration, said Wednesday that the Sudanese government is no longer engaging in a "coordinated" campaign of mass murder in Darfur, marking a shift in the U.S. characterization of the violence there as an "ongoing genocide." Washington Post, 6-17-09

Yes, if you cannot solve a problem, if it would come at too high a geopolitical or economic cost, why not just re-frame it, and pretend it is something other than what it is or that it is no longer what it once was. Is this indeed what is happening now?

And in Tehran, on this solstice, the blood of freedom fighters has been shed.

The uprising of the Iranian people after the theft of their presidential election will mark this moment in history for the foreseeable future; and the image of a young woman bleeding to death will haunt us all until those responsible meet with the wrath of justice (whether human or divine):

A young woman who was standing aside with her father watching the protests was shot by a basij member hiding on the rooftop of a civilian house. He had clear shot at the girl and could not miss her. However, he aimed straight her heart. I am a doctor, so I rushed to try to save her. But the impact of the gunshot was so fierce that the bullet had blasted inside the victim's chest, and she died in less than 2 minutes. The protests were going on about 1 kilometers away in the main street and some of the protesting crowd were running from tear gass used among them, towards Salehi St. The film is shot by my friend who was standing beside me. Please let the world know. Posted on Nico Pitney's Iran Live Blog, Huffington Post, 6-20-09

But do not despair.

There is no turning back, the Great Wheel grinds on ceaselessly.

Dawn emerges mysteriously, glimmering, from the darkest hours of the night.

Listen for the songs of the birds.

They are singing through danger on the rooftops in Tehran. They are singing through despair in Burmese prison cells. They are singing through desperation in the refugee camps of Darfur and Chad.

Listen for the song of the birds.

They are the heralds of our future.

Do not deny them.

Listen.

Poem for the Rooftops of Iran - June 19th, 2009



For an archive of Words of Power posts on Election Security, click here.

For an archive of Words of Power posts on the Crisis in Darfur, click here.

For an archive of Words of Power Human Rights Updates, click here.

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

, , , , , ,

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Of Yeats, Genocide and the Biosphere -- Looming Deadlines that Frame Our Future and Determine Our Legacy


The dews drop slowly and dreams gather: unknown spears
Suddenly hurtle before my dream-awakened eyes,
And then the clash of fallen horsemen and the cries
Of unknown perishing armies beat about my ears.
We who still labour by the cromlech on the shore,
The grey cairn on the hill, when day sinks drowned in dew,
Being weary of the world’s empires, bow down to you.
Master of the still stars and of the flaming door.
The Valley of the Black Pig (Wind Among The Reeds, 1899)

Of Yeats, Genocide and the Biosphere -- Looming Deadlines that Frame Our Future and Determine Our Legacy

By Richard Power


Five decades and five years into this incarnation, it is natural that I am not only proud and grateful for all that I have done and experienced, but also haunted by all that was lost along the way, as well as all that might never come to be.

But overshadowing both of these preoccupations is another one, brimming with urgency and profundity: what shall I do to make a significant difference with the rest of this life?

In Left-Handed Security, which I published at the end of 2007, I suggested that four looming deadlines framed our future:

1. Will the USA choose reason or madness in the 2008 election? It chose reason. No matter how frustrating many of Obama's moves have been and will continue to be, it is still the difference between reason and madness. And consequently, there is hope that our democratic institutions can slowly be restored to health.

2. Will the nations of the world reach a meaningful agreement on the Climate Crisis in 2009? There is nowhere to turn after Copenhagen. Bold, rapid and sweeping action must be taken, on a planetary scale. It is a long shot, but there is still a chance, and it is do or die.

3. Will the world achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals by 2015? Even if we had no Climate Crisis, we would still be confronted with dire sustainability issues in regard to water, sanitation, etc. Most of the forward momentum was lost over the eight years between 2000 and 2008; and most of what was left got kicked out of it all in the global financial meltdown and the resultant economic contraction. There will be hell to pay if we do not get this vital initiative back on track.

4. Every evening, the sun sets on another missed deadline in regard to suffering of Darfur. Will the human race meet its responsibility to end the genocide? Or will we allow our governments to continue to fret and posture and play semantic games? The facts on the ground are worse today than they were even six months ago.

Not a very encouraging status report.

But I am confident that the world is older than several thousand years, and that the fossils of dinosaurs are not an elaborate, divinely concocted hoax to test our faith. In other words, evolution, with its imperative to adapt or perish, is still the natural law of this world, and so we will soon see if we can follow reason and love out of the labyrinth of our own ignorance before it is too late.

The image included with this post is the tombstone of one of my heroes, W.B. Yeats, the great Irish poet, patriot and mystic. His life and work have offered me solace and inspiration since I was a little boy who should have been far too young to be concerned with such serious matters.

But the lines of poetry Yeats chose to have inscribed on his tombstone spoke to me even as a child; and they have continued to speak to me ever more compellingly as the years have spiraled away and downward into currents of both the Liffey and the Lethe:

Cast a cold eye,
On life, on death,
Horsemen pass by.


In my thirties and forties, as I explored the vastness of the Tibetan wisdom, I came to realize the deeper meaning of that beautiful Celtic sentiment; it speaks of the fecund emptiness known to those who have truly embraced martial arts or meditation.

If you are free of everything, then you can do anything.
Well, at least, that is the attitude to cultivate.

The outcome of it all is beyond our control.

As always, I encourage you to follow events in Darfur on Mia Farrow's site, it is the real-time journal of a humanitarian at work; the content is compelling, insightful and fiercely independent.

For a Words of Power Archive of posts on the Crisis in Darfur, click here.

If you have not already joined the Alliance for Climate Protection, Al Gore and I urge you to do so. Click here.

For the Words of Power Climate Crisis Updates Archive, click here.

For an archive of Words of Power posts on UN Millennium Development Goals, click here.

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,, ,, , , , ,

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Burma Crisis Update: A Blogger Gets 20 Years, 14 Democracy Activists Get 65 Years Each; Meanwhile, Business as Usual for Energy Giants

Image: Aung San Suu Kyi, TIME 100


Burma Crisis Update: A Blogger Gets 20 Years, 14 Democracy Activists Get 65 Years Each; Meanwhile, Business as Usual for Energy Giants

By Richard Power


I have not written about Burma in a few weeks. Not because the crisis has ended, far from it. But simply because there have been no new developments worthy of note, good or bad. Just a continuum of misery. Until now, and this news is bad.

At least 14 democracy activists, including three Generation 88 student leaders, who participated in the 2007 protests were sentenced to 65 year prison terms.

A young blogger, who was responsible for getting the truth out to the world during the uprising, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

No one should go to prison for advocating democracy in their own country, no one should go to prison for practicing free speech on the Internet -- not even for one year, not even for one moment.

The cruel sentences meted out to these brave dissidents prove that the Burmese thugocracy has no intention whatsoever of loosening its grip or changing its ways.

The sentences also prove that those governments and corporations that posture and pontificate while continuing to do business with the thugocracy are, at best, engaged in ineffectual efforts, or worse (and more likely), simply providing cosmetic cover for their own profit-driven agendas.

It is tragic, both for those who will suffer and for those who do not realize that when they are culpable in the infliction of such suffering, they also do irreparable damage to themselves.

Here are brief excerpts from the two news stories, with links to the full texts:

A young Burmese blogger who was a major source of information for the outside world on the brutal regime crackdown on the September 2007 uprising was sentenced to 20 years and six months imprisonment on Monday.
Nay Phone Latt, 28, was sentenced by a court in Rangoon’s Insein Prison, according to his mother, Aye Than. He was convicted of contravening Public Offense Act 505 B by posting a cartoon depicting junta leader Snr-Gen Than Shwe on his blog site.
Irrawaddy, 11-10-08

Today's sentencing of at least 14 dissidents who took part in the 2007 anti-government demonstrations--each to 65 years in prison--is a powerful reminder that Myanmar's military government is ignoring calls by the international community to reverse its shameful human rights record, Amnesty International said.
"In the midst of its so-called 'Roadmap to Democracy,' the government of Myanmar reveals its true intentions by sentencing these dissidents for nothing more than peacefully expressing their views during last year's demonstrations," said Benjamin Zawacki, Amnesty International's Myanmar researcher.
Three of those sentenced are Min Zeya, Kyaw Min Yu (also known as Ko Jimmy), and Ko Jimmy's wife, Nilar Thein. They are prominent 88 Generation Students group leaders who spearheaded the pro-democracy uprising in Myanmar 20 years ago. Their sentences today were related to their involvement in the 2007 demonstrations, popularly known as the "Saffron Revolution." Additional charges against them remain outstanding.
Amnesty International, 11-11-08

Some Burma-Related Words of Power Posts

While Palin Rattles A Saber She Should Not Have Been Given; Aung San Suu Kyi Quietly, Peacefully Delivers Another Blow to the Burmese Thugocracy

Weigh the Coverage of Sarah Palin's Ascension Against the Coverage of Aung San Suu Kyi's Hunger Strike & Ask Yourself What Happened to Your Culture?

"Over 200 insurance companies have stated they do not provide (re)insurance services to companies operating in Burma. They have set an example ..."

1,000 Tibetans Disappeared, Almost 100% of Darfur Refugee Women Raped, Volunteer Grave-Diggers Arrested By Burma's Junta; Still Going to the Olympics?

From Katmandu to Karthoum, from Burma to Beltwayistan, the Conscience of the World Seems Cut-Off from Action; Here's How to Break the Spell

The Bitter, Urgent Lessons of Burma & Darfur

Burma Crisis Update: One Question -- Is Aung San Suu Kyi Alive and Safe in the Chaotic Aftermath of Cyclone Nargis?

Burma Crisis Update: Perhaps Chevron Should Re-Name the Yadana Pipeline After Condolezza Rice?

Why Protecting the People of Darfur, Tibet & Burma is in Our Own Self-Interest; & What These Crises Tell Us about Our Own Slide into the Pit

Don't Forget Darfur, Tibet or Burma This Summer, Don't Forget Men & Women of US Military Either; Reflections On Speaker Pelosi's Visit to Dharmsala

Burma Crisis Update: Non-Violent, Democratic Resistance of Burmese People Offers Stark Contrast to US Political Scene

Burma Crisis Update: Talk is Cheap, Business as Usual; On Martin Luther King Day -- Remember Aung San Suu Kyi

In Burma & Sudan, Business As Usual -- What Must & Can Be Done Now!

Burma Crisis Update 11-10-07: Amnesty International on "Grave & Ongoing Human Rights Violations"; Alternate Media Vital to Resistance

Burma Crisis Update: An Open Letter to the Executives of Chevron

Burma Crisis Update: Two Weeks Into the Crackdown, China Has Not Tempered the Thugocracy's Hand; Chevron Has Not Even Slapped Its Wrist

Human Rights Update 10-6-07: Chevron, Condoleeza Rice & the Burmese Thugocracy

Human Rights Update: Blackwater, Burma, Darfur & You

Human Rights Watch to Business: "Keeping quiet while monks & other peaceful protesters are murdered & jailed is not ... constructive engagement."

Human Rights Update: Blackwater, Burma, Darfur & You

Hard Rain Journal 9-27-07: Aung San Suu Kyi was Elected in 1990, Al Gore was Elected in 2000 -- Consider What Has Befallen Both Countries Since

For a directory of Words of Power Human Rights Updates, click here.

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

, , , ,

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Climate Crisis: "The global financial crisis has pushed climate change off the front pages despite new evidence ..." "Time is running out."

Frida Kahlo's Roots


The Five Poisons (Sanskrit: pañca-kleśa; Tibetan: Japanese: go-shō), also known as the Five Disturbing Emotions are:
1. Passion ( desire, greed, lust, etc.)
2. Aggression (anger, hatred, resentment etc.)
3. Ignorance (bewilderment, confusion, apathy etc.)
4. Pride (wounded pride, low-self esteem etc.)
5. Jealousy ( envy, paranoia etc.)
All Buddhist schools teach that through Tranquility (Samatha) meditation the kilesas are pacified, though not eradicated, and through Insight (Vipassana) the true nature of the kilesas and the mind itself is understood. When the empty nature of the Self and the Mind is fully understood, there is no longer a root for the disturbing emotions to be attached to, and the disturbing emotions lose their power to distract the mind.
Kleśā, Wikipedia

The Climate Crisis: "The global financial crisis has pushed climate change off the front pages despite new evidence ..." "Time is running out."

The hour glass has been turned over. The sands are almost all at the bottom. When they have finished falling, regrets will not earn us anything. The human community must summon the strength of will to deal with both the Climate Crisis and the Global Financial Crisis, and even more than that, it must summon the strength of will to understand how and why these two beasts are connected at the hip. Both are really sustainability issues. But there is something even more dangerous than drilling for more oil, building more coal-burning plants and felling more forests, and that is the deepening of the five poisons within us. They are, after all, the ingredients of the toxic soup from which these two beasts emerged. -- Richard Power

Here are excerpts from two important stories:

The global financial crisis has pushed climate change off the front pages despite new evidence that it is happening faster and with stronger impacts than previous projections, a new report warns.
Meanwhile, some political leaders in Europe, Canada and elsewhere are saying that now is not the time to make sharp reductions in greenhouse gas emissions because the global economy is heading into a recession.
"It is clear that climate change is already having a greater impact than most scientists had anticipated, so it's vital that international mitigation and adaptation responses become swifter and more ambitious," said Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, professor of Climatology and Environmental Sciences at the Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium.
The new data is so compelling that van Ypersele, the newly elected vice chair of the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has urged the European Union to aim for a lower temperature target than the 2 degrees C they adopted in 1996.
That will require emission reductions beyond the 20 percent lower than the 1990 baseline by the year 2020 that the EU has as a target but is struggling to meet.
Stephen Leahy, Inter Press Service, 10-22-08

Time is running out. If the European Union is unable to resolve internal differences over its ambitious emissions reduction plan, then global climate talks could suffer, say experts. The world needs European leadership. ...
That vision, though, may now be in danger. With just six weeks to go before representatives from around the globe gather in Poznan, Poland to work towards a successor to the Kyoto Protocol -- a process known as the Copenhagen process after the location chosen for the 2009 climate summit -- the European Union is having trouble passing a final version of its emissions reduction package. A number of EU members are demanding changes, exceptions or opt outs, meaning the bloc's role as a global climate protection leader could be compromised.
"If the European Union does not get its act together on a clear climate agreement and it does not continue pressing ahead globally, that would relax a lot of pressure on the US," Christian Egenhofer, a climate change expert who is a senior fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "And that could very well lead to Copenhagen being a non-event."
Charles Hawley, Der Spiegel, 10-22-08

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

For the Words of Power Climate Crisis Updates Archive, click here.

Click here for access to great promotional tools available on The Eleventh Hour action page.

To sign the Live Earth Pledge, click here.

For analysis of the US mainstream news media's failure to treat global warming and climate change with accuracy or appropriae urgency, click here for Media Matters' compilation of "Myths and Falsehoods about Global Warming".

Want to participate in the effort to mitigate the impact of global warming? Download "Ten Things You Can Do"

Want to join over one million people on the Stop Global Warming Virtual March, and become part of the movement to demand our leaders freeze and reduce carbon dioxide emissions now? Click here.

Center for American Progress Action Fund's Mic Check Radio has released a witty and compelling compilation on the Top 100 Effects of Global Warming, organized into sections like "Global Warming Wrecks All the Fun" (e.g., "Goodbye to Pinot Noir," "Goodbye to Baseball," "Goodbye to Salmon Dinners," "Goodbye to Ski Vacations," etc.), "Global Warming Kills the Animals" (e.g., "Death March of the Penguins," "Dying Grey Whales," "Farewell to Frogs," etc.) and yes, "Global Warming Threatens Our National Security" (e.g., "Famine," "Drought," "Large-Scale Migrations," "The World's Checkbook," etc.) I urge you to utilize Top 100 Effects of Global Warming in your dialogues with friends, family and colleagues.

, ,, ,, , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , ,

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Burma Crisis Update: One Question -- Is Aung San Suu Kyi Alive and Safe in the Chaotic Aftermath of Cyclone Nargis?

Image: Aung San Suu Kyi, TIME 100


Burma Crisis Update: One Question -- Is Aung San Suu Kyi Alive and Safe in the Chaotic Aftermath of Cyclone Nargis?

By Richard Power


20,000 dead? 50,000 dead? 60,000 dead? 100,000 dead?

It is not surprising that the Burmese Thugocracy has been slow to allow international emergency relief workers into the country.

It is not surprising that they have left at least one million of their people to wait in desperation for help.

It is not surprising that they are trying to thwart the compassionate action of Burma's Buddhist monks.

The slower it all moves, the less people there are to keep under the boot of oppression. Furthermore, those that survive will be weaker and more pliable.

Of course, the chaos may also provide the thugocracy with cover for some nefarious acts.

I have just one question for the UN General Secretary to ask, he should demand an answer, and that demand should echo throughout the global news media --

Is Aung San Suu Kyi alive and safe in the chaotic aftermath of Cyclone Nargis?

Let us see her and hear from her.

Meanwhile, Words of Power and MoveOn.org urge you to stand with the people of Burma and get aid money into the hands of the Burmese monks -- click here.

Here is some news from inside this tortured land --

“I saw monks in Rangoon, after the storm, distributing food to survivors,” a physician in the former capital said. “I also saw monks clearing up fallen trees and rebuilding houses.” ...
While Buddhist monks were striving to save lives and aid survivors, the Burmese military authorities were attempting to prevent the monks from getting involved in relief efforts.
“The authorities won’t allow people to take refuge in monasteries,” a journalist in Rangoon said. “They will only permit people to shelter in schools. Even if the monks want to distribute water to survivors, they have to get permission from the authorities.” ...
Meanwhile, local authorities in Rangoon began distributing tin roofing materials on Tuesday— some three days after the disaster—but not for free. And first, rooftops were only being provided to those with military connections.
“You are survivor. But if you want a new roof for your house, you need to pay 4,900 kyat (US $4.29) to the authorities for the materials,” said a housewife in Rangoon.
“Then you are lucky—because what I see is that mostly relatives of local authorities buy those roofing materials and sell them on to ordinary people at an inflated price of 30,000 kyat ($26.3) per tin roof.
Irrawaddy, 5/7/08

Some Burma-Related Words of Power Posts

Burma Crisis Update: Perhaps Chevron Should Re-Name the Yadana Pipeline After Condolezza Rice?

Why Protecting the People of Darfur, Tibet & Burma is in Our Own Self-Interest; & What These Crises Tell Us about Our Own Slide into the Pit

Don't Forget Darfur, Tibet or Burma This Summer, Don't Forget Men & Women of US Military Either; Reflections On Speaker Pelosi's Visit to Dharmsala

Burma Crisis Update: Non-Violent, Democratic Resistance of Burmese People Offers Stark Contrast to US Political Scene

Burma Crisis Update: Talk is Cheap, Business as Usual; On Martin Luther King Day -- Remember Aung San Suu Kyi

In Burma & Sudan, Business As Usual -- What Must & Can Be Done Now!

Burma Crisis Update 11-10-07: Amnesty International on "Grave & Ongoing Human Rights Violations"; Alternate Media Vital to Resistance

Burma Crisis Update: An Open Letter to the Executives of Chevron

Burma Crisis Update: Two Weeks Into the Crackdown, China Has Not Tempered the Thugocracy's Hand; Chevron Has Not Even Slapped Its Wrist

Human Rights Update 10-6-07: Chevron, Condoleeza Rice & the Burmese Thugocracy

Human Rights Update: Blackwater, Burma, Darfur & You

Human Rights Watch to Business: "Keeping quiet while monks & other peaceful protesters are murdered & jailed is not ... constructive engagement."

Human Rights Update: Blackwater, Burma, Darfur & You

Hard Rain Journal 9-27-07: Aung San Suu Kyi was Elected in 1990, Al Gore was Elected in 2000 -- Consider What Has Befallen Both Countries Since

For a directory of Words of Power Human Rights Updates, click here.

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

, , , ,

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Don't Forget Darfur, Tibet or Burma This Summer, Don't Forget Men & Women of US Military Either; Reflections On Speaker Pelosi's Visit to Dharmsala

Photo: CBS News


Do Not Forget Darfur, Tibet or Burma This Summer, Do Not Forget the Men & Women of the US Military Either; Reflections On Speaker Pelosi's Visit to Dharmsala

By Richard Power


Speaker Pelosi’s recent visit to Dharmsala to express support for the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people was an important moment. It was more than just geopolitical theatre, it was more than just a symbolic gesture.

Both of these leaders have been second-guessed a lot: Pelosi, since taking the gavel in January 2007, both for her declaration that impeachment was “off the table” and for not cutting off funding for the foolish military adventure in Iraq; the Dalai Lama, in recent years, both for how he has led the Tibetan government in exile and for his approach to dealing with Beijing and Beltwayistan.

I disagree with both of them on numerous decisions. But I do not second-guess them on any of it.

This is a bad time in the world.

(Look at the weird and destructive turn the race for the Democratic presidential nomination has taken. Instead of a tremendous competition between two worthy survivors debating the great issues of our time, we are being subjected to a blood-match fought over innuendoes, distortions, distractions and irrelevancies.)

It is a very dangerous period. It could well be that the end of the current regime in Beltwayistan is its worst moment.

There are no good choices. It is difficult to see very far ahead.

There is very little margin for error.

If history shows Pelosi and the Dalai Lama to have erred in their respective trials, and if it is honest (a big if), history will also show them to have erred on the side of caution. Whether that caution was indeed the better part of valor remains to be determined.

One can only imagine the threats and ultimatums that both have been confronted with behind closed doors; one can only imagine the potential chains of consequences that they have both run through their minds in the solitude of the night.

If, at the end of this struggle, Tibet is allowed to heal itself, and restore its culture, in some form of autonomy if not outright independence; then those who second-guess the Dalai Lama now may have cause to regret their arrogance.

If, in 2008, a Democratic who is truly opposed to the neo-con wet dream is sworn in as President of the USA (a much bigger if than it should be), and that President -- working with an emboldened Congress -- takes a new course both with regard to Iraq and Iran, thereby thwarting a wider regional war in the Middle East; then those who vilify the Speaker now may come to regret their heated rhetoric.

It is not easy to lead from conscience. It is much easier to lead from greed or anger.

But if you lead from conscience, there is a chance it will turn out right in the end; if you lead from greed or anger, it will almost always turn out wrong in the end.

Meanwhile, we must do what we can to articulate the truth and all the ways it must be served.

Do not forget the men and women of the US military. Do not be deceived. They deserve so much better from their civilian leaders. They are being held hostage. Blood and oil have turned the desert sand into a quagmire.

Do not forget the women and children of Darfur. The great nations are allowing a genocide to take place there.

Do not forget the monks of Burma and Tibet. They sing of the Buddha’s great compassion as they march, and their marching is the Buddha’s great compassion itself.

Here are three important items, one each on Tibet, Darfur and Iraq:

A group of prominent Chinese intellectuals has circulated a petition urging the government to stop what it has called a “one-sided” propaganda campaign and initiate direct dialogue with the Dalai Lama.
The petition, which was signed by more than two dozen writers, journalists and scholars contains 12 recommendations which, taken together, represent a sharp break from the Chinese government’s response to the wave of demonstration that have swept Tibetan areas of the country in recent days.
They come, moreover, at a time when the government is working hard to convey a sense of strong international support for putting down what is being depicted here as a civil disturbance by lawless people being instigated by the Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who Beijing denounces as a secessionist, or “splittist.”
New York Times, 3/23/08

In preparing to host the 2008 Summer Olympics, China has engaged in a massive campaign to dissemble its role in the Darfur genocide in western Sudan, now entering its sixth year ...
Why does China airbrush away Darfur's genocidal realities? Why has Beijing been Khartoum's largest weapons supplier over the past decade? Why has China repeatedly wielded a veto threat at the UN Security Council as the world body vainly struggles to bring pressure to bear on Khartoum? The answer lies in China's thirst for Sudanese crude oil. ...
Confident that China will block punitive actions, Khartoum recently resumed savage civilian clearances in West Darfur ... If China is to be a legitimate host of the 2008 Olympics, the preeminent event in international sports, it cannot be complicit in the ultimate international crime - genocide. The world community must respond more forcefully to this intolerable contradiction.
Eric Reeves, Boston Globe, 3-22-08

The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a tragedy - for Iraq, for the US, for the UN, for truth and human dignity. I can only see one gain: the end of Saddam Hussein, a murderous tyrant. Had the war not finished him he would, in all likelihood, have become another Gadafy or Castro; an oppressor of his own people but no longer a threat to the world. Iraq was on its knees after a decade of sanctions.
The elimination of weapons of mass destruction was the declared main aim of the war. It is improbable that the governments of the alliance could have sold the war to their parliaments on any other grounds. ... They could not succeed in eliminating WMDs because they did not exist. Nor could they succeed in the declared aim to eliminate al-Qaida operators, because they were not in Iraq. They came later, attracted by the occupants. ... Increased safety for Israel might have been an undeclared US aim. If so, it is hard to see that anything was gained by a war which has strengthened Iran. ...
Hans Blix, Guardian, 3-20-08

I encourage you to follow events in Darfur on Mia Farrow's site, it is the real-time journal of a humanitarian at work; the content is compelling, insightful and fiercely independent.

Click here to sign the TURN OFF/TUNE IN Pledge.

For a Words of Power Archive of posts on the Crisis in Darfur, click here.

Here are other sites of importance:

Dream for Darfur

Enough: The Project to End Genocide and Mass Atrocities

Genocide Intervention Network

Divest for Darfur.

Save Darfur!

For a directory of Words of Power Human Rights Updates, click here.

Tibet-Related Posts

How About Making Hypocrisy An Olympic Competition?

Human Rights Update: H.H. Dalai Lama to the World -- "Please investigate ... cultural genocide is taking place"

Human Rights Update: H.H. Dalai Lama to the Chinese -- "address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people"

Global Press Freedom Update: China Tightens Screws on Press in Preparation for 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing; Take A Look At Your Future

Words of Power #29: The Dalai Lama and The Blade Runner, Spiritual Challenges of the 21st Century Security Crisis, Part III

GS(3) Thunderbolt: Statement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the Forty-Eighth Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day

Words of Power #20: Cusco, Kyoto and The Yellow Sand Storm

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , ,

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Human Rights Update: China Seals Tibet's Borders; "Lhasa long ago became China's Gaza Strip"


Chenrezig, Lord of Compassion

Human Rights Update: China Seals Tibet's Borders; "Lhasa long ago became China's Gaza Strip"

Breaking news from the Canadian press and insightful commentary from the German press -- on a crisis of profound spiritual and cultural importance:

Tibet borders sealed in advance of surrender deadline
China has effectively closed Tibet to foreigners as it prepares to deal with protesters in the aftermath of last week's riots in Lhasa.
Qiangba Puncog, governor of the Tibet Autonomous Region, told reporters in Beijing on Monday that "because of the arson and murders which have taken place in Tibet, we do not advise foreign news organizations or foreign nationals to go to Tibet for safety reasons."
His moderate words couched the reality that no foreigners are allowed into the region without specific permission from Beijing.
Aileen McCabe, Canwest News Asia Corespondent, 3-17-08

In reality, the Chinese government isn't at all interested in an amicable solution to the conflict. Instead, Beijing is using the Chinese populace as its most potent weapon, in the form of a resettlement policy that has seen tens of thousands of ethnic Chinese relocated to Tibet in recent years -- and the resulting assimilation of the region. ... The Dalai Lama, for his part, has unfortunately been unable to find an adequate political strategy to counter Beijing's cultural imperialism. As a monk living in exile who is dedicated to non-violence, his options are limited. But despite his reputation as the jet-setting pop-star of contemplation and reflection, he has not found a political approach to guide his people into the future. ... The problem, though, is that China has to understand that in a globalized world, there is no such thing as problems that are purely "domestic." It makes no sense for Beijing to clutch to a concept of sovereignty straight out of the 19th century. Lhasa long ago became China's Gaza Strip. The Dalai Lama no longer has complete authority on Tibetan streets and in Tibetan monasteries. It is the Tibetan Youth Congress that sets the tone these days. This is a radical group of exile Tibetans that has withheld support for the Dalai Lama for years. They say that his peaceful path has failed to secure freedom for their homeland and that Tibetans must follow the path of other liberation movements, like the Palestinians or the East Timorese. ... China had been simply waiting until the Dalai Lama dies before they dealt with the Tibet problem -- the Tibet Youth Congress dooms that approach to failure. ... Beijing has the means to mitigate the damage in its hands. In order to prevent leaving the Beijing 2008 Olympics with an aftertaste comparable to that of Berlin in 1936, Chinese Communist Party chief Hu Jintao will have to do something he is not used to doing. Rather than showing brute force, he must pursue de-escalation in Tibet. Rather than short-sighted propaganda, he must engage in true dialogue. The argument that sports have nothing to do with politics will hardly suffice. Jürgen Kremb, Tibet -- China's Gaza Strip, Der Spiegel, 3-17-08

Om Mani Padme Hum (Chenrezig Mantra)


Related Posts

How About Making Hypocrisy An Olympic Competition?

Human Rights Update: H.H. Dalai Lama to the World -- "Please investigate ... cultural genocide is taking place"

Human Rights Update: H.H. Dalai Lama to the Chinese -- "address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people"

Global Press Freedom Update: China Tightens Screws on Press in Preparation for 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing; Take A Look At Your Future

Words of Power #29: The Dalai Lama and The Blade Runner, Spiritual Challenges of the 21st Century Security Crisis, Part III

GS(3) Thunderbolt: Statement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the Forty-Eighth Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day

Words of Power #20: Cusco, Kyoto and The Yellow Sand Storm

For a directory of Words of Power Human Rights Updates, click here.

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

,
, , , , ,