Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Reason #6 To Fly A Peace Globe ~ Burma and a Cyclone Named Nargis

Update 2019: Although peace agreements and ceasefires have been achieved between some groups, there is still ongoing sporadic violence.  600,000 - 1,000,000 civilians have been displaced.
Source Wikipedia for details since this article was written

Photo:Racoles Creative Commons license 2.0

There are thirty ongoing violent conflicts waging right now around the globe. The United Nations defines Major Wars as military conflict inflicting 1,000 battlefield deaths per year. Wikipedia expands that definition to include wars that cause destruction and humanitarian crisis of outstanding severity." Ongoing civil wars fueled by racial, ethnic, or religious differences come with a new twist that distinguishes them from wars in previous generations - civilian casualties. During World War I non-combatants made up less than 5% of casualties. Today, the number is a staggering 75% civilians killed or wounded.

In less than thirty days from now we will engage in another BlogBlast For Peace. By my research and estimation, there are at LEAST 30 very good reasons to fly a peace globe. To begin your activism. To increase our awareness of the suffering of others. To talk about peace. To write about peace. To be part of a larger voice for peace. To invoke peace. To pray for peace. To focus on peace.

To wage peace.

Need a reason to fly a globe?
Here's Reason #6


aka The Union of Myanmar
Southeast Asia
Ongoing since 1948

The oldest current conflict in the world

Who is fighting? The Burmese government's military regime and certain ethnic groups have been fighting internally since 1948. Recently tension has been building against the military regime that has ruled the country since 1962.

The instability escalated in September 2007 when thousands of Buddhist monks in a dramatic call for justice and an end to brutality at the hands of their own government, demonstrated through the streets of seven provinces against the military junta.
The anti-government protests were sparked by opposition to the ruling junta's decision to remove fuel subsidies which caused an internal economic crisis. (note: A "junta" is a government by a committee of military leaders, often loosely associated with a dictatorship). The monks colorful garb inspired the unlikely protest to be named The Saffron Revolution as they led demonstrations in their deep red Saffron colored robes.

It is interesting to note -and I found this fascinating - that they chanted the "Metta Sutta" - which is the Buddha's word on "loving kindness" as they marched through a barricade on the street of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. Under house arrest at the time, she met the monks at the gate of her residence to accept a blessing from them.
On the sixth day, 15,000 brave monks and 150 nuns marched peacefully against the military regime. This resulted in 100,00 people eventually protesting against the government, marches occurring simultaneously in 25 cities with organized lines of monks a mile long wearing striking symbols of red blood on their backs, resolutely protesting with determined solidarity. Amazingly, hundreds of civilians formed a human shield around the monks when the junta threatened military force.
The situation worsened. Aung Sun Suu Kyi was soon after moved to a prison. Protesters were attacked with batons and tear gas. Those seen providing food and water to the monks were jailed. Internet access (including web mail) was shut down completely in an effort to minimize public awareness. People spotted with cameras were beaten. The monks continued to wage peace in the streets. Chanting. Praying. The atrocities continued: In another bizarre twist, government soldiers disguised themselves as monks and infiltrated the protests to cause confusion. Horrifically, on the outskirts of Yangon a crematorium had been set up where injured protesters and civilians were being burned alive. A monastery was raided and monks were systematically murdered. Despite this oppression, elsewhere in southern Rakhine State, some 10,000 farmers were reported to have joined hands to protest against the government.
Calls from across the world cried out for an end to the inhumane violence in Burma.

Sadly, the citizens of this country in conflict, one of the 20 poorest countries in the world, were devastated this week by Cyclone Nargis. The death toll is expected to reach above 100,000. In this already hot-bed of unrest where people risk their lives to be granted basic human rights, dignity, democracy and the freedom to live peaceful lives.....we
now find that even the promise of a street to walk upon in peaceful protest has been washed away.

If I didn't have faith and know better, this could be one of those times when one might be tempted to ask "Where is God?"

Luckily, I know how to find Him. So I'll say a prayer.

I am appalled by the needless suffering in my world.
If words are powerful, then this matters.

How To Get Your Peace Globe

November 5, 2009
The Peace Globe Gallery

Reason #1 Sri Lanka
Reason #2 Darfur
Reason #3 Iraq
Reason #4 Pakistan
Reason #5 Ogaden

Photo credits: Public Domain, Creative Commons License 2.0


Desert Songbird said...

The fact that the Myanmar military is preventing UN relief drops makes me heartsick. Things are so screwed up. People are dying from hunger and disease, and they're more concerned with power and who they allow into their country.


Julie said...

Very informative Mimi....i really appreciate you taking the time everyday to remind me.

Then I pray also.

Charles Gramlich said...

The suffering is overwhelming. The scale may be bigger elsewhere, but I see the agony sometimes on the people I pass in the street here. How can an uncallused heart survive?

bundle-o-contradictions said...

Wow. I have to wonder: would I have the courage & the strength to stand up? It's safe here behind my computer screen. What if I had to choose? Would I be as noble as those protesters?

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

now we have stopped aid shipment because the government is taking it all and hoarding it...


Akelamalu said...

It's always the poor people who suffer isn't it? :(

Bud Weiser, WTIT said...

The cost of human life and suffering is beyond tragic. I am bery proud of the work you are doing!

Mimi Lenox said...

Songbird - Amen to that.

Julie - Prayers are good. Thank you for supporting me everyday with your comments. It really means a lot.

Charles - That is an excellent point. So true.

Autumn - I asked myself the same thing and was just thinking how very courageous those monks were and continue to be. To march through peacefully speaking prayers of peace is quite a remarkable thing....while your comrades are being killed around you....incomprehensible. It should be humbling to the rest of the world as well.

Bond - Not surprising that this happened really.

Akelamalu - The pictures coming out of Maynmar are horrible to look at. Children are sleeping on bridges without any known relatives alive....I can't stand it.

Bud - Boggles the mind, doesn't it? And thank you for your support. It means a lot.

Shinade - Oh wow. I will be right over. Thank you for alerting people to this project.

Julia Phillips Smith said...

Great post, Mimi. I've just signed up for the Blog Blast. Here in Canada the relief efforts are making big news as our agencies are trying to get the relief in under the wire, so to speak. They don't want the food and supplies to go to anyone other than the people who need them.

Sandee said...

I've been asking "where is God" for the longest time. It seems he is absent in so many places. :(

Mimi Lenox said...

Julia - I hope they get to the people who need it before it's too late.

Sandee - Yes, and today the China earthquake....

Anonymous said...

I'm all for peace in Sri Lanka. All for social justice, peace, unity and progress.

Patti said...

It is overwhelming the devastation left by the cyclone, and now the earthquake in China. So many people have been killed by natural disasters in the past week or so. And the tornadoes in our country.

It's too much

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