march on, monks

they started beating up monks today. a couple of midnight raids later, over 70 monks had been snatched by the junta and at least five murdered. amid the tear-gassy aggression in rangoon, lay demonstrators scrambled to shield the monks.

every person out there knows they are taunting death. they think it's worth it.

hard to articulate why the monks move me so. the grainy contraband cell phone video footage continues to catch my breath. they dedicate the whole of their lives to being quiet, unassuming. it is an overwhelming and powerful thing for them to defy the law banning protests, to assemble so defiantly in the name of democracy. BAREFOOT. for what, a month now?, those monks have been getting all up in the face of everything that is wrong with the world – tyranny, oppression, ignorance, violence. they're not allowed to. they don't have to. yet they march. they are conviction personified.

on this side of burma's information clamp-down, i gotta wonder what was the tipping point for the monks? like, at what point does a malevolent dictatorship become just too much to take, compelling the monks to rise from their peaceful, private prayer and move bravely through rangoon streets. how far will they take this revolt? now that the junta has finally begun unleashing, how ultimate does a monk's life of sacrifice have to be?

not to place a higher value on the protest and bravery of the monks over the thousands of inspiring resisters the world over who dare risk their lives on behalf of beliefs i share. images of those monks can't help but humble you, though. we know the burmese monks to have centuries of political activism, even playing a major role in the burma’s struggle for independence. still, a buddhist monk is such the symbol of humility. so when that symbol spills out of monestaries with so much fearlessness, how not be stirred over and over again? gandhi-esque, really, when people whose entire life is based on peace and asceticism decide to step out and collectively flip the bird to injustice.

i fancy myself a gutsy gal; i'd even like to think i walk pretty darn steadfastly in my own convictions. but i'm honestly not sure i’d ever have the balls enough to walk right up to the (literal) barrel of a machine gun held by the murderous forces i oppose and say FUCK YOU. i sure wouldn't do it with the mighty grace of those monks under the direct threat of such brutality. it's all well and good to be a pissed off activist over here, to agitate in safe ways against all kinds of bullshit. but if the chips were as down as they could ever get, if Push came to the worst of Shoves, would i risk being killed for my beliefs?

what would you die for?


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