13 April, 2021

Irrawaddy Mist

Should be recommended reading for every person with an interest in Burma and in our Northeast

Irrawaddy Mist

We have heard the story of Stalin thundering at an aide when told of a message from the then Pope, a message with which he did not agree: "How many divisions does the Pope have?" The answer perhaps came many decades later, on a different continent, with a different faith, in a different context and political situation.

At the heart of the struggle for the life and destiny of Burma -- a struggle that is most recently manifested in the upsurge and crushing of a peoples' revolt by a brutal army regime which has held power for 35 years -- was the brilliant display of the non-violence strategy of the Buddhist clergy in their rich maroon robes on the streets of Yangon and elsewhere.

It was exquisite in its simplicity and extraordinary in the breadth of the power of a simple gesture: the bikhus turned their begging bowls upside down when offered food by soldiers and members of the regime. With that one step, the monks answered both the junta and Stalin: "We are as numerous as you, if not more." Which in fact is true of the legions of the...

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