Peaceful tactics by Myanmar monks catch military junta off guard

These demonstrations by Burmese Buddhist monks are having an enormous impact and so far they have been 100% peaceful. They are pitted against one of the most repressive and violent regimes in the world today. We do not have a Buddhist clergy of this size in the USA, but I hope that 9/11 activists will take the time to study and understand something of the methods being used by these very savvy and brave monks in Burma. Peaceful, massive demonstrations coupled with a widespread general strike in the USA would have far more beneficial effect than anything else I can think of. Alvin

BANGKOK, Thailand: Armed only with upturned begging bowls, chanting Buddhist monks in Myanmar have caught the country's military rulers off guard with their peaceful protests.

They have emboldened the public to take to the streets by the thousands to support the most dramatic anti-government protests the isolated Southeast Asian nation has seen in years.

Monks in traditional maroon robes — some holding their begging bowls upturned as a symbol of anti-government protest — demonstrated for a fifth straight day Saturday, and the numbers only seemed to be growing.

About 10,000 monks marched in the central city of Mandalay in the largest demonstration yet, while about 1,000 others began marching in the biggest city, Yangon, from Shwedagon Pagoda — the nation's holiest shrine and a gathering place for anti-government demonstrations including the failed 1988 democratic uprising.

The monks, widely respected in the mostly Buddhist society, bring moral authority to the movement with their nonviolent practices and sheer numbers: There are 500,000 in monasteries across the country.

Their assumption of a leadership role in protests poses perhaps the gravest threat to the junta since the 1988 uprising when the military fired on peaceful crowds, killing thousands and terrorizing the country.

It has put the regime in a quandary over whether to crack down or take a chance and allow the protests to run their course.

Josef Silverstein, a Myanmar expert and retired Rutgers University professor, said the junta may be hesitating to act until it assesses how many monks support the protests and who is actually leading them. Yet waiting much longer could be risky.

"The monks are showing that without arms and nothing more than prayers and marching that they are capable of having greater freedom than people have had," he said. "This could encourage people to be more resistant. The longer this stalemate goes on, the weaker the military looks to the country and outside."


Sadly we here in the USA

have nothing that could compare to this.
#1. We have a Media that refuses to even acknowledge protest comprising of well over 350,000 let alone just 10,000.
#2. We have a media that marginalizes such protesters as being Unpatriotic, UnAmerican, Tin foil hatters, crazies, lefty liberals doing this only for partisan politics etc. (All absolute lies of course)
#3. We have a large percentage of the population that are just as ignorant as the day they were born, incapable of thinking and reasoning for themselves.
#4. We have maybe 1% of the population even willing to get in the streets and back up a group that we both respect & agree with why they are protesting.

For these reasons small peaceful protest like this here in the USA are utterly worthless and will not work.

We need MASSIVE and I mean in the 10s of Millions of people to hit the streets and STAY THERE, block all access to Faux Noise, cut all their communications, surround all the other Media and FORCE them to take notice. Have intelligent spokespeople to talk to the news corps with very clear concise demands.
Every election official in every state needs to be told that there will be ZERO tolerance for electronic voting systems of ANYKIND, ALL of them will be destroyed on sight so start printing simple paper ballots that will be hand counted no other election method will be tolerated.

I mostly agree with what you

I mostly agree with what you say. But I do hope that American 9/11 activists and others will take the time to read this story and pay some attention to the news coming from Burma. Things may turn nasty there, and the protests may not succeed, but the methods they are using are worth thinking about. Though we do not have their conditions, we can make some attempt to understand how they have been so far very successful in their non-violence and their deft manipulation of Burmese/Buddhist symbols.

A few lessons I see in this:
1) The monks have corned the junta--no matter how they respond they will look bad.
2) They have been very clever and effective in their uses of symbols (their upturned begging bowls and their own status/appearance as monks).
3) They have captured the Burmese people's imagination and brought world-wide attention to their cause.
4) They have not been asking anyone to feel sorry for them and they have not been playing either the "victim" or the "rebel-without-a-cause" roles. They have maintained great dignity.
5) They began with simple concrete demands (lower fuel prices) and now that they have support they have increased these demands (more democracy, etc.)

Just a couple of quick ideas:
What if Code Pink got a few more women and did something less glaring, but did it in a way that no matter how the authorities responded, they would look bad? There are many retired people who support 9/11 Truth. What would a march of 1,000 of them, in the right place and at the right time, look like? What can anyone do to a peaceful group of white haired retired pilots and engineers? We still have some respect for old people in this country. What would it look like if a group of 1,000 old folks tried walking out of a "free speech" zone calling for 9/11 Truth?

JFK on secrecy and the press

Here's where they are today...

20,000 march in Myanmar; police prevent monks from approaching Suu Kyi home

Sun, 2007-09-23 12:46.

YANGON, Myanmar - Riot police and barbed wire barricades blocked hundreds of monks and anti-government demonstrators from approaching the home of the detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Sunday, in a new show of force against a rising protest movement.

Led by Buddhist monks, some 20,000 people protested against the junta Sunday and shouted their support for Suu Kyi, who made her first public appearance in four years Saturday when a crowd of monks and sympathizers was permitted to pass her house.

On Sunday, a small crowd of about 400 - about half of them monks - split off from the main demonstration and tried to approach Suu Kyi's home again but abandoned the attempt after their path was blocked by riot police and barbed wire barricades.

The monks carried a large yellow banner that read: "Love and kindness must win over everything."



JFK on secrecy and the press