Thursday, May 27, 2010
A reminder of living history came from Danny Fisher's blog today. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for most of the last twenty years, since being elected leader of her nation. Various residents of Burma have experienced miserable oppression not only over the past two decades, but really for much of the last two centuries. My state of Minnesota is now home to a few thousand Karen, one of the many ethnic minority groups from Burma threatened with extinction. Yes, "with extinction" is not an overstatement. Things were bad for them before the military dictatorship came in; since then, it's been a slog for survival for the entire 5-7 million members of the now worldwide Karen community. (Here is some more information about the Karen in Minnesota, in case you are interested.)
For the majority Burmese, the past thirty five years or so have been no picnic either, as the continued imprisonment of Suu Kyi symbolizes. The military not only threatens to destroy all the minority groups, but also has long suppressed its majority brothers and sisters. Obviously, Buddhists around the world remember images of Burmese monks marching and getting beaten in the streets of Rangoon in 2007. More recently, Human Rights Watch put out this report highlighting the continued abuses of monks who were connected to those protests. I've written about all of this before, and I know Danny Fisher and other Buddhist bloggers have posted about conditions in Burma many times as well.
It bears repeating though. We cannot ignore the suffering in this world. Maybe there isn't much tangible people outside of Burma can do right now - but the more of us that are free to speak in support of a Burma liberated from this dictatorship, the better.