Hard Rain Journal 9-27-07: Bush, Ahmadinejad and the Monks of Burma -- Illuminating Contrasts
By Richard Power
Two troubled men with warped world views spoke from the podium of the United Nations General Assembly in recent days: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and George W. Bush.
Yes, I am suggesting a moral equivalency.
Both men are very unpopular in their own countries. Both men have contempt for the separation of church and state. Both men promote sexist and homophobic social policies. Both men seem to want to foment at least the imminent threat of regional (if not global) war.
Of course, there are differences.
They differ, for example, over the history and purpose of the Jewish people -- although both are dangerously deluded.
Ahmadinejad panders to those who deny the historical reality of the Holocaust; while for Bush, Israel is a key element of his LeHay-style fantasy of Armageddon geopolitics.
Also, Bush claims he is expecting the second coming of Jesus; Ahmadinejad, on the other hand, is expecting the arrival of the new Madhi.
Fortunately, as if in counterpoint to Ahmadinejad and Bush, the world was also given the alternative message of a third force at work among us; this alternative message was personified by the Burmese monks, who rose up, marching and chanting, to peacefully defy and unflinchingly expose the brutality of the dictatorship.
Yes, Bush spoke about Burma in his remarks to the UN General Assembly. But, of course, for many painful reasons, Bush has no credibility whatsoever on human rights issues. And it would have been laughable, if it hadn't been so embarrassing to see him wrap himself in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights now that the Red, White and Blue can no longer hide the malignancy of his agenda.
Yes, there is a third force in the world -- it is the will to deep peace, true freedom and real progress.
This third force is embodied in the common sense and common humanity of the great masses in every country, regardless of religion, ethnicity or any other distinction, and in the uncommon courage and extraordinary selflessness of some great individuals known and unknown; it endures, and it will prevail (in the end), despite the illness of which Ahmadinejad and Bush are only symptoms.
Will the hold of the military dictatorship be broken in Burma? Will war between the USA and Iran be thwarted?
It is unlikely that the UN Security Council, as currently constituted, can save the Burmese, or the US Senate, in its current cravenness, can thwart Beltwayistan's thirst for hegemony over Middle Eastern oil.
It is this third force within and among us all that will determine the future.
Mandalay, Central Burma; Afternoon—Military troops fired warning shots and used tear gas in an effort to disperse tens of thousands of monks who marched through Burma's second largest city on Wednesday afternoon, a witness said. He said the monks, from many monasteries in the city, continued their march. No injuries were reported. Military vehicles carrying troops followed the columns of monks.
Ahlone Township, Rangoon; Afternoon—Three monks were reportedly shot by military and riot forces on Wednesday afternoon in Ahlone Township, a section of Rangoon, a witness told The Irrawaddy. The witness said rumors claimed all three monks later died. He said the wounded monks were carried away by fellow monks.
Rangoon, Downtown; Mid-afternoon—Two monks and one nun were reportedly shot by military forces near Sule Pagoda on Wednesday afternoon, according to a witness. Another source told The Irrawaddy earlier that one of the injured died, but the report can not be confirmed. A witness said tens of thousands of people have joined monks who are marching across the downtown area today.
Rangoon, Downtown; Mid-afternoon—At least two protestors were shot by security forces in downtown Rangoon near Sule Pagoda on Wednesday afternoon. One protestor reportedly died, according to people who took part in the demonstration. The source said the soldiers continued firing at the demonstrators, who numbered several thousand.
Rangoon; 12:30 p.m.—Thousands of Buddhist monks and pro-democracy activists marched toward the center of Rangoon, according to an Associated Press report. The demonstration followed a tense confrontation at the city's famous Shwedagon Pagoda between the protesters and riot police who fired warning shots, then beat some monks and dragged others away into waiting trucks. Irrawaddy, 9-26-07
See also Hard Rain Journal 9-3-07: Update on the Coming "Confrontation" with Iran -- Will the USA Stumble From Stupidity to Insanity
Some Burma-Related Posts
Human Rights Update 9-24-07: Don't Miss the Multiple Meanings of this Moment in Burma
Human Rights Update 9-23-07: Will You Step Outside & Join the Burmese in 15 Minutes of Prayer?
GS(3) Thunderbolt 9-14-07: In Pakistan, the Dharma Repels an Attack; In Burma, the Dharma Sparks an Uprising
Human Rights Update 6-12-07: Remember Aung San Suu Kyi, Honor Her Sacrifice, Reflect on Your Own Freedom & What You Choose to Do With It
Hard Rain Journal 1-8-07: Human Rights and Environmental Security Update from Burma, Cambodia and Mekong River
Words of Power #24: Lost Symbols, Part One – Aung San Suu Kyi, AQ Khan, & The World Tree
Aung San Suu Kyi,Burma, United Nations, Human Rights, Iran, Bush, Ahmadinejad, Richard Power, Words of Power