Friday, May 22, 2009

The World's Only Imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

...read a book by this guy named Alan Clements about, among other things, his experiences as a Buddhist monk in Burma/Myanmar, being expelled by the government a bunch of times, then returning covertly after many of his fellow monks had been murdered, along with countless others, by the military junta that had seized control of the country...finding his Buddhist concepts of pacifism and enlightenment challenged as he met ex-monks fighting on both sides of the conflict...as well as the Burmese people’s legitimate leader, and apostle of nonviolence, Aung San Suu Kyi...

Freedom must be separated from the packaging and additives our consumer culture has manufactured around it.
Alan Clements

...I vaguely remember reading about Aung San Suu Kyi some time ago...how she won the Nobel Peace Prize but couldn’t fly to Scandinavia to accept it, as she was under house arrest...it was probably somewhere in the middle of the Sunday New York Times...and I probably thought bummer before moving on to the next section, looking forward to the Ethicist column and perhaps a particularly nasty book review or two...

Fearlessness may be a gift but perhaps more precious is the courage acquired through endeavour, courage that comes from cultivating the habit of refusing to let fear dictate one's actions, courage that could be described as 'grace under pressure' - grace which is renewed repeatedly in the face of harsh, unremitting pressure.
Aung San Suu Kyi

...more recently, as I probably read somewhere in Salon or the Huffington Post, Aung San Suu Kyi has been imprisoned, as the result of a visit from a foreigner...apparently some Western spiritual seeker who swam across a lake to meet her...no doubt, like Led Zeppelin singing about magical mystical Kashmir, failing to grasp the sociopolitical realities of his mystical southeast Asian spiritual destination...my shangri la beneath the summer moon, I will return again...

...Burma, alas, despite lots of orange robed monks and trippy scenery is not exactly shangri la....it’s ruled by a military junta, which renamed the country Myanmar and has no qualms about slaughtering nonviolent protesters and wiping out entire villages by the thousand...in 1990, Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the country’s nonviolent pro-democracy movement was, while under house arrest, elected prime minister by 82% of Burma’s population...a result ignored by the junta which has continued to brutalize its people, recruiting over seventy thousand child soldiers, engaging in ethnic cleansing and systematic rape, even refusing international aid following natural disasters...and, now, they’ve locked up Aung San Suu Kyi because a guy visited her house...

The quintessential revolution is that of the spirit, born of an intellectual conviction of the need for change in those mental attitudes and values which shape the course of a nation's development. A revolution which aims merely at changing official policies and institutions with a view to an improvement in material conditions has little chance of genuine success.
Aung San Suu Kyi

...by this point, I’ve already quite badly violated Yoga for Cynics' most sacred rules against being in any way informative, or overly serious, and have even come close to appearing almost but not quite poised to make some kind of a call for action...shudder...so, instead of saying anything more, I’ll simply suggest that readers might visit here or here...namaste, folks...

11 comments:

Aggie said...

She is a very brave woman.

Sidhe said...

Amazing isn't it that things like this can happen in our "civilized" world.

I greatly admire Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma who support her and democracy even with the knowledge that their support will likely lead to personal hardship if not death.

Lydia said...

I treasure her quote about revolution. Thanks for a great post.

Seeing Eye Chick said...

When the fearful and insecure grasp for power, only cruelty, pettiness and criminality can result.

I hope that she is able to prevail.

Deborah Godin said...

Thanks for the links; there's another petition available through http://www.avaaz.org. My first awareness of this came through the 1995 John Boorman film, Beyond Rangoon. I'm not usually that big on "based on a true story" movies, but this one is, I think, superior.

Lumen et Aperio said...

Another great post; the serious informativeness was well-balanced by the sarcastic cynicism.

RB said...

Congrats on breaking the rules and being informative. I think every once in a while, it's ok to step out the box--but only for a really good cause like this one.

Kim said...

It's scary what is going on over there. I just heard about the situation on NPR on Thursday or Friday. That guy who swam to her house must feel sheepish right about now.

The Clandestine Samurai said...

I think, just on the merit of the subject alone, being overly serious or informative is unavoidable. Something definitely has to be done about this bloodthirsty military junta.

KramericaToday said...

"I’ve already quite badly violated Yoga for Cynics' most sacred rules against being in any way informative, or overly serious, and have even come close to appearing almost but not quite poised to make some kind of a call for action"

Hehe, brilliant.

Loved the post by the way, but the light touch at the end made it, well, brilliant. :)

Bird said...

Her level of commitment, of courage is mind blowing. They are so scared of her because they can feel the power and depth to her resistance, that essentially whatever they do to this brave woman will only make her cause stronger.

Interesting that such horrifying abuses at the heart of this (and other) regimes never stirred the US and UK governments to action once. I guess there is no oil in Burma.