Three days ago we saw the first pictures of Burmese villages being destroyed
. We have learned about the massacres of monks and other civilians peacefully protesting in Myanmar. British PM Gordon Brown said that "the death toll in the Myanmar crackdown to be ‘far greater' than has so far been reported."
That's at least three whole 24-hour news cycles, plenty of time to start a storm of protest. Where is the BBC? The Guardian? Der Spiegel? Der New York Times? Where are all the peaceniks of the Left? Mother Sheehan, where art thou?
Where have all the Buddhists gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the Peaceniks gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young monks gone?
Gone to graveyards everyone
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?
Over the years many liberal friends have told me they were Buddhists, or "Buddhist Christians." Buddhism stands for peace in their minds. I believed them. They were perfectly sincere about yearning for world peace, living (as they always do), in safe neighborhoods with excellent police protection -- so good, in fact, that they never had to think about crime. They hated guns and violence. They were well-fed, and filled with pious words and good intentions, went on righteous peace marches, and always voted for the most "compassionate" smooth talker on the Left. By now, generations of Westerners have been taught to believe that peace can be achieved cheaply.
Today, many on the peacenik Left are eager to boycott Israel and protest America. But somehow they were nowhere to be found in the fight against Soviet imperialism, against Pol Pot's genocide, against Rwandan mass murder, against Balkan massacres and rape rooms, against two decades of Sudanese jihad against starving African infidels, against Saddam Hussein's torture regime, against Mahmoud A'jad's nuke program, against indoctrinated teenagers bombing innocent kids in Israel, while the terror bosses were having orgies in their mansions ...
See a pattern here?
Well, my liberal friends were right, that sort* of Buddhism does stand for peace -- and sadly in the here and now, it also stands for capitulation to thugs who are willing to kill. In Burma or anywhere else. It worked that way when China brutally took over Tibet. Peaceful protests only work in countries that are open to guilt. Most UN member states just don't do guilt or shame; it's not their thing. That is why they elect the Sudan and Iran to the UN Human Rights Commission.
Gandhi (who was Hindu), would never have won independence for India had the British Raj been filled with SS killers. Were he alive in Burma today, Martin Luther King would die as a total unknown, and his birthday would not be a national holiday anywhere in the world. As Burma just proved again, peaceful protests never work against genuine bad guys. That's the gaping flaw of pacifism. It only works when force establishes strong and humane governments.
Buddhism had its beginnings in India, but Buddhists can no longer be found there in large numbers. The reason? The Muslim jihad invasion of the Indian subcontinent starting in 1192. Over a period of three centuries, Islam conquered much of India and destroyed the Buddhist monasteries. Hinduism survived as a popular religion, based in families and communities. Buddhism only appears today in parts of Asia where Islam did not take over. Today, India is drawn to an alliance with the West against jihadis with nukes; they face such a possibility in Pakistan.
So --- what's really going on with our preachy pacifist friends? Are they willing to get serious, or are they just moral snobs and secret cowards? Is it heroic to protest George W. Bush in the well-policed streets of San Francisco, but not the thugs who are butchering monks in Burma today? What gives with these people?
And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence
* It must be noted that fierce Buddhist warriors also have existed, such as the predominantly Zen Buddhist samurai of Japan.