How can a pacifist organization be useful to the Burmese people in a struggle against a violent & armed dictatorship? BBC article explains
Anyway, on to the subject matter mentioned at the top; how can a pacifist organization be useful to Burmese people in their struggle against a military dictatorship that is not shy about using violence? This BBC article offers some clues & background. Here is a segment:
" Burmese monks not only play a spiritual role, but also have a history of political activism. They have been at the forefront of protest against unpopular authorities, from British colonial power in the 1930s to the last pro-democracy campaign in 1988.
Their political role stems from the days of the Burmese monarchy, which operated until the late 19th century, under which monks worked as intermediaries between the monarch and the public, and lobbied the king over unpopular moves such as heavy taxation, said Mr Aung Kin.
They became more confrontational during colonial times, in protest at the failure of foreigners to remove their shoes in pagodas, he said.
But the historian stressed that only about 10% of Burma's monks are politicised, and many of the monasteries may be unaware of the scale of the agitation currently under way in the country.
If fully mobilised, however, the monks would pose a major challenge to the military, and their moral position in society could embolden many more people to join the protests."
Read the first part of that article here.
So, Buddhism is a thread that runs through much of Burmese life, culture & nation; relevant to soldiers as well as other citizens (same situation in Sri Lanka, from what I observed while living there & from what many relatives tell me). Thus, monks are able to use this leverage to try to help people achieve their goals re: the government.
I believe the days of the Burmese military junta are now numbered. The monks' display of courage & the sight of them paying the price for it/the outrage will no doubt motivate many other Burmese & people elsewhere to start working against the junta.