Monk-killing spree in Burma

It looks as though the army is back in control in Burma (Myanmar). But looks deceive. The monk-killing spree has appalled the international community and has fired emotions in Burma. The monks may lie low for a while, but they will rise again. And soon, we think. The best strategy for them is to lie low for a while and after the army has retreated, come out in full numbers again.

Then the junta will again have to kill a few monks, but nobody ever said that political change by non-violent means is easy. It’s easy in a democracy. But when confronting a dictator, it hurts and costs lives, although a lot less than if violence is used. And there is one huge essential advantage. The uprising is clean, it does not resort to the same kind of brutality it wants to end. Therefore non-violence is the only way forward. It’s the only way the international community will continue to have respect and feel compelled to do something.

Soft approach

The generals have a problem. The monks are walking barefoot through the streets chanting ‘love’ all over the place. Now, what do you do? Shoot them? That will infuriate the masses and heap infamy on their heads. So let them continue marching? Then they risk the situation spiraling out of control. One of the generals was quoted as saying they would use the ‘soft approach’. Apparently that has meant killing only a few monks. To scare them off we presume.

In the meantime the junta has organized its own rally to prove how popular they are. They say that 100.000 people showed up. That may be so. But everybody knows that their popularity can easily and more convincingly be proved by holding free and democratic elections. If they dared, Aung San Suu Kyi would beat them hands down. And the generals know it. So to maintain power, their only option is the ‘soft approach’. The generals’ counter-demonstration is pathetic and convinces no one but themselves.


What kind of international intervention would be effective? Why do these stupid soldiers shoot their own monks? Why does it hurt so much even here in the Caribbean when they do? It’s because the monks are non-violent. Their protests are peaceful. They have to stay this course, using their reason and intuition to the best of their ability to find ways to outwit the generals. There must be a way to win this battle and win it the only way monks can, i.e. with love.

We honestly believe – if the monks don’t lose heart – that this uprising is the beginning of a wave of social upheavals around the globe. This has been predicted, i.e. a period of many and diverse wars and at the same time many and diverse non-violent protest movements. The transformation that is taking place right now is a very complicated one. It’s the transition from the nation-state to a planetary civilization. It is going to take time and effort, but we believe it’s happening right now under our very noses. And we’re glad if indeed it is. What we have to do is canalize it wisely, so that the outcome will be democratic planetarization, not totalitarian.

The best video we could find on the situation in Burma is a song (called ‘State of Emergency’) presumably by ‘Steel Pulse’ showing images of the uprising.