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You’ve seen the images on YouTube and in the news papers…

… Chinese security forces brutally attacking unarmed, non-violent protestors, including Buddhist monks, in Tibet.

But, you don’t have to sit idly by and just watch. You can take action right now to help secure the freedom of 15 Tibetan monks who were arrested on March 10 for staging a peaceful protest in Barkhor, Lhasa, the capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region.

Sign the Amnesty Petition to the President of China, Hu Jintao, demanding the release of 15 Tibetan monks who were detained on March 10 for staging a peaceful demonstration in Barkhor, Lhasa, the capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. There is no information on their current whereabouts or of any charges brought against them. They are at high risk of torture and other ill treatment.

What we do know, is that by acting together we can place enormous pressure on the Chinese Government at a moment when they are trying to put their best face forward in the run up to the 2008 Olympic Games. By acting now, we can secure the immediate release of the 15 monks and the other peaceful protestors that were detained with them.

In recent days, Amnesty International has met with Congressional leaders, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and with senior White House officials. We are placing enormous pressure on the Chinese Government to stop the violence, open up the region to foreign reporters and to free peaceful protestors.

But, we need your immediate help to keep the pressure on.

Sincerely,

Larry Cox
Executive Director
Amnesty International USA

One of the many things I love about Donald Rumsfeld is that he’s totally unrepentant. Back in 2001, the Pentagon under his leadership created the controversial Office of Strategic Influence, which was closed down just a few months later after its existence became public. Rightly or wrongly, the Pentagon was accused of creating a propaganda office. Now, the former defense secretary has a bigger vision: he is advocating a “21st century agency for global communications.”This was one of the major themes in one of Rumsfeld’s first post-Pentagon public comments at a conference today on network centric warfare sponsored by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement. According to Rumsfeld, the United States is losing the war of ideas in the Muslim world, and the answer to that, in part, is through the creation of this new government agency.

During the the Q&A after the speech, I asked Rumsfeld what this new agency might entail (he was pretty clear it wouldn’t be a resurrected U.S. Information Agency, which was merged into State Department in 1999), and why, when there is an abundance of media available in the private sector, the government needs to get involved.

I’ll just let Rumsfeld speak for himself:

Private media does not get up in the morning and say what can we do to promote the values and ideas that the free Western nations believe in? It gets up in the morning and says they’re going to try to make money by selling whatever they sell… The way they decided to do that is to be dramatic and if it bleeds it leads is the common statement in the media today. They’ve got their job, and they have to do that, and that’s what they do.

We need someone in the United States government, some entity, not like the old USIA . . . I think this agency, a new agency has to be something that would take advantage of the wonderful opportunities that exist today. There are multiple channels for information . . . The Internet is there, pods are there, talk radio is there, e-mails are there. There are all kinds of opportunities. We do not with any systematic organized way attempt to engage the battle of ideas and talk about the idea of beheading, and what it’s about and what it means. And talk about the fact that people are killing more Muslims than they are non-Muslims, these extremists. They’re doing it with suicide bombs and the like. We need to engage and not simply be passive and allow that battle of competition of ideas.

What would this agency actually do? Hard to say, but Rumsfeld referred approvingly back to when the Army paid reporters to plant stories in the local press in Iraq. He still thinks that was a good idea (and blames the U.S. press for screwing it up).

In Rumsfeld’s view, the free press can co-exist with government sponsored/produced/paid news. “It doesn’t mean we have to infringe on the role of the free press, they can go do what they do, and that’s fine,” says Rumsfeld. “Well, it’s not fine, but it’s what it is, let’s put it that way.”

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Pray
Meditate
Be aware/Stay awake
Bow
Practise yoga
Feel
Chant and sing
Breathe and smile
Relax/Enjoy/Laugh/Play
Create/Envision
Let Go/Forgive/Accept
Walk/Exercise/Move
Work/Serve/Contribute
Listen/Learn/Enquire
Consider/Reflect
Cultivate oneself/Enhance competencies
Cultivate contentment
Cultivate flexibility
Cultivate friendship and collaboration
Lighten up
Celebrate and appreciate
Dream
Give thanks
Evolve
Love
Share/Give/Receive
Walk softly/Live gently
Expand/Radiate/Dissolve
Simplify
Surrender/Trust
Be born anew



originally uploaded by discordiasdharma.

I remember my time in India fondly; it clouds my current melancholy with hues of gold and bright azure blue. The smell of spices waft lazily through the cobwebbed corridors of my memory and I smile. I think of all that these brave young women fought against to get to freedom. They walked for months over the Himalaya mountains, evading Chinese guards. Sometimes they were unsuccessful and endured beatings, rape, torture. Some made it to Nepal only to be turned in by Nepalese working for the Chinese. Yet still they pressed on; their belief in the Dalai Lama, in freedom, in their religion keeping them going.

I long to return, to refill my own flagging spirit with their overflowing ‘great mother’. They all have such a feeling of mothering. Of each other, the world, even of the people who hurt them. I am very sick, spiralling out of control. At least that’s how it feels. I would love to be able to return and cradle in the arms of the nunnery. Rest, eat, pray. Listen to the chants echo over the still morning mountains. Everyone in India is a friend.

Everyone in America is an enemy. Someone who will steal your car, rape your child, or shoot you.

Maybe that’s what’s killing my soul.

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originally uploaded by discordiasdharma

These images were taken inside Burma during the recent uprising. Obviously I cannot name who took them for safety reasons, nor do I want to link to the person who allowed me to post them. If you recognize these pictures… thank you, for letting the truth be shown.

(9) A young Burmese Buddhist monk holding a bowl upside down (24-9-07).jpg

(16) Burmese Buddhist nuns marching with prayers (24-9-07).jpg

(15) Burmese Buddhist monks marching, praying (24-9-07).jpg

Aftermath

From the Democratic Voice of Burma:

“A monk being treated at Rangoon general hospital for gunshot wounds, caused when soldiers fired on protesters in Sule last Tuesday, was moved by government officials to an unknown location, according to a witness.

The monk, assumed to be aged around 30, was sent to Rangoon general hospital’s intensive care unit with a gunshot wound to his arm. Two members of the National League for Democracy in Thingangyun township, Ko Mya Than Htike and U Htun Shwe, and another unknown civilian were also sent to the hospital.
Ko Mya Than Htike’s wife told DVB that all four patients were shot and wounded during the government guards’ violent crackdown on protesters near Sule Pagoda on September 27 and were later taken to the hospital by civilian bystanders. She said the monk was seen being taken away from the hospital ward by police officers on Saturday morning.
“Now the monk is gone. We don’t where he was taken to. He had a plaster-cast on his arm where he has the gun-shot wound. It was police officials who took him away,” said Ko Mya Than Htike’s wife.
She added that her husband and the other two patients remained at the hospital under the close supervision of government officials to prevent information on their situation from reaching the media.
“The rest of them, including my husband, are still there in hospital. We were only allowed to see him briefly after his arrival at the hospital and the next day. The officials said they don’t want the news to spread.”
She said that Ko Myint Than Htike suffered leg injuries from the bullet wound and is still not able to walk while U Htun Shwe was shot in his arm. The unknown civilian, who could only be identified as an older male, assumed to be over 50, had a bone in his leg shattered by a bullet and faces the possibility of losing his leg.”

From Here: Democratic Voice of Burma

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Many monks were beaten, shot, and injured… so where are they taking them now?

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Free Burma!
International Bloggers’ Day for Burma on the 4th of October

International bloggers are preparing an action to support the peaceful revolution in Burma. We want to set a sign for freedom and show our sympathy for these people who are fighting their cruel regime without weapons. These Bloggers are planning to refrain from posting to their blogs on October 4 and just put up one Banner underlined with the words “Free Burma!“

www.free-burma.org

So I have been in India for over a week now. So far everything has been wonderful. Delhi was actually my least favourite part–simply because of the hustle and bustle of it all. Not to mention the dust and all the beggars.

The stay at Dolma Ling was sublime, and there will be much more than this to follow. The nuns are the most wonderful people I have ever met, and I really love the people who are out here on the trip with me. There are eight of us (nine including Debi) and it has been quite an emotional rollercoaster.

Last week we got to have a private audience with the Karmapa at his residence near Dolma Ling (Kangra Valley). It was the most amazing thing… or at least I thought that it was until today… today I got within 4ft of his Holiness the Dalai Lama. It was amazing. I never thought that I would ever see him in this lifetime. In fact, I had given up completely on ever seeing him. So we sat through a good part of the long life puja performed by the Indian people of Himachal Pradesh. It was great to see him smiling and giggling away as they performed all the rituals, and then it was great to hear him speak. At one point when he walked past he looked right at me. It was really quite an amazing moment.

For those who don’t know, I also shaved my head. Completely. So I have a couple of millimeters of new growth since I had it done last Thursday. I feel so much better–it was such an important ritual allowing me to completely release all of the past baggage that was really affecting me. I am so glad that I was able to do it.

This whole trip has been quite an experience so far one that I am not sure I can match in this lifetime ever again. I am just glad that Ju Lee was able to sneak her camera into the place at take pictures to prove that we saw His Holiness.

Okay. Off for now. Hopefully the connection will last long enough to post this…

So I’ve been a bit scarce lately. I think I’ve just been quietly re-evaluating a great many things. Meditating on silence.. and it’s been very nice.

I leave for India in a week and two days–Yep, next Thursday. I’m very… non-commital about the whole thing. I suppose I won’t believe it’s happening until I land in Delhi. I have five papers to write and two exams to take before I go. I called off work today so that I can perhaps get some work done; I at least want to finish this one paper I’ve started on.

Being back at University is rather strange. I feel like I just don’t fit with anyone there. They’re all so concerned with their looks and their grades and who they can sleep with next… I wander alone through the hoardes of students and feel glad that I’m no longer in that place. I’m happy, I’m married. I have a child, I have a future that’s my own.

I have the silence

and I’m in love with letting go.

The specialist found that I have a severe vitamin D deficiency. According to her (and her amazing people-skills) that wouldn’t cause my symptoms. However, after extensive reading on the ‘net (including articles on google scholar) I found out that a deficiency is linked to autoimmune disease, as well as to fibromyalgia, depression, and osteomalacia. I guess I need to go back to my own dr like she told me.

Phoenix gets his cast off on Monday. YAY. I have SO much to do on Monday, it’s not funny AND it’s supposed to be my birthday. I’m not celebrating though… nor am I really getting any presents (like normal people 😉 … I don’t really do presents or birthdays).

I go to India in three weeks or so. I can’t believe it. Luckily another lady, Kate, from the trip is flying out of Chicago on the same flight, so we can talk over the 17 or so hours it takes to Delhi. I’ll post my itinerary when it’s all finalized. I know we spend a day in Delhi, then go by sleeper train to Pathankot and on to Dharamsala by jeep. I really AM so excited. I hope that I can… make something of the trip. Something worthwhile.

They’re looking for donations of a couple of used laptops, digital camera equipment etc for the monks/nuns. I’m so sad that I don’t have anything to offer but ME. I feel that’s not quite enough somehow. I do plan to create a book or something of photographs and Tibetan text/English text when I get back. Even if it doesn’t sell or anything, perhaps I can gift it back to them?

We also get to visit HH Dalai Lama’s residence and spend a day there, including dinner. THAT has me in a panic. It’s been a life’s dream to meet HHDL and if he showed up I think I’d die on the spot!!

I’m feeling sort of… almost like I can get most of what I need to done today. As long as I scoot into another room and let Phoenix play in here.

I feel… quite content.

Namaste.