God's Politics

God's Politics


The Power of Nonviolence (by Jim Wallis)

posted by God's Politics

The news this afternoon from Myanmar/Burma is not good. A recent AP story said that



Soldiers clubbed and dragged away activists while firing tear gas and warning shots to break up demonstrations Friday before they could grow, and the government cut Internet access, raising fears that a deadly crackdown was set to intensify.


The government said 10 people have been killed since the violence began earlier this week, but British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he believed the loss of life in Myanmar was “far greater” than is being reported. Dissident groups have put the number as high as 200, although that number could not be verified.


The world is reacting with outrage. President Bush has toughened sanctions to focus on specific individuals for the first time, including a ban on travel visas. A U.N. special envoy is en route. Many other world leaders have spoken out.


Gene Stoltzfus is a friend who worked in Southeast Asia during the 1960s and 70s, and then became director of Christian Peacemaker Teams, a program of Brethren, Mennonite and Friends churches and other affiliated organizations that places teams in high conflict zones to emphasize human rights protection, nonviolent action, and peacemaking campaigns. On his blog, he comments on the religious roots of nonviolence for the Buddhist monks leading the demonstrations against the military junta.



Two groups with countrywide power and influence in modern Burma are now facing each other across potholes in the streets. The military with Chinese-supplied weapons, is determined to retain the grip it has had on the nation since 1962. The Buddhist movement, with an institutional life going back more than 1000 years, is led by monks armed with spiritual disciplines and a commitment to an ethical system that combines practical living with a deep sensitivity to all of creation. The Buddhist way is nonviolence empowered by love, honed by teaching and meditation. However, this does not mean that monks are not tough, persistent, and even militant.


He ends:


In response to the world wide call of Free Burma groups we have a sign in our window, THE WORLD IS WATCHING, FREE BURMA, with a candle below the sign.



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DeWayne

posted September 29, 2007 at 3:44 pm


The world is reacting with outrage. President Bush has toughened sanctions to focus on specific individuals for the first time, including a ban on travel visas. A U.N. special envoy is en route. Many other world leaders have spoken out.
This brings to mind the tremendous advantage our ‘Military/Industrial’ has with the US-Gov, being known as the primary WMD-salesmen of the world, and this nagging the question of where is the Myanmar dictatorship getting their weapons to control or kill their citizens.
Banning ‘travel visas’, I can’t help wondering if we are not overly reacting to this atrocity?



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TheOtherJames

posted September 29, 2007 at 3:51 pm


A brutal, evil dictatorship?! Quick! Send in the U.S. troops! Oh, never mind there’s no oil there.



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Mick Sheldon

posted September 29, 2007 at 5:02 pm


Bomb them candles , that will do it



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Usama

posted September 30, 2007 at 1:31 pm


With all due respect, I think the Bush-backed promotion here, ‘power of nonviolence’, is totally manipulative and selfserving. And quite frankly, Bush and America should be ashamed of even making such a statement. And since Bush IS America’s leader, America should be ashamed of him.
Before there was even an Iraqi insurgency, 100s of 1000s of Iraqi people at different times marched and protested nonviolently regarding America’s occupation and management of the occupation (eg. water, electricity, sewage, security). In more than one instance, in fact in many instances, Iraqi protesters were met with AMERICAN VIOLENCE, either from contractors, or US troops, or Iraqi police backed by US troops.
When it serves America to use violence, even torture, public humiliation, collective punishment of villages and communities, America vigorously and even unquestionably (and in some cases joyfully) takes those measures.
And there have been many cases within the Muslim world wherein Muslim people march nonviolently for Islam and the end of dictatorships, yet they are met with brutal force. And America is silent. Silent in the face of children, women, elderly being beaten, shot, even killed. This violence is done by America’s closest allies: Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, etc.
And this is one of the greatest accusations against America: when it suits Americans, they are the most brutal, most diabolical, most deviant, most destructive, but when its inconsequential to their interests, they claim lofty ideals.
In that sense, the lessons of Burma should be thrust around the necks of Americans first and foremost.
Just a few thoughts to ponder.
Peace.



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itsme

posted September 30, 2007 at 5:55 pm


I am not ashamed of President Bush. And, I am an American.



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Richard

posted September 30, 2007 at 9:00 pm


Amen Usama, you took the words right out of my mouth. American’s have no problem with using violence against anyone who stands in our way nor do we say a peep about human rights violations done by allied nations. But we cry crocodile tears over the human rights violations done by unfriendly nations. Everyone in the world can see us for the hypocrites that we are.
I pray for the day that America actually practices what it preaches and that we denounce human rights violations no matter where they occur.



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SteveG

posted October 1, 2007 at 12:18 am


The power of non-violence, um… How fearful the military regime is with a few thousand people just marching. No weapons, guns, bullets, just there bodies used as a weapon. What power that is it has created so much fear in the hearts of the military rulers. That power is so untapped that we do not really realize the power it has and yet it creates so much fear.



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Amazon Creek

posted October 1, 2007 at 1:48 am


Hi OtherJames!
Interesting observation… Winks.



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Moderatelad

posted October 1, 2007 at 10:08 am


I believe that we will see thousands murdered here and the US can do nothing. We can get other Nations to join us in sanctions. But that will just give many in the UN the ability to make money by subverting the sanctions. I will not (at this time) support any military action because I will not give Nancy and Harry another way to make political hay. I believe this will be another Ruwanda and the world will watch and do nothing. We are in Iraq at the moment and until that has come to an end – that is enough for US and others to be concerned about. Does anyone think that the reason these opressive gov’ts are willing to kill their own so to remain in power is that they know that the UN and at this time the US will do nothing about it? They saw what was done and not done with Ruwanda and other places around the world and it has emboldened them.
Prayers were offered this morning for our military personnel Iraq and around the world. The Peace will be established in Iraq and they can have a gov’t ‘of the people – by the people and for the people’.
Blessings -
.



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Free Burma!

posted October 1, 2007 at 10:57 am


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 then, underlined with the words „Free Burma!“.
http://www.free-burma.org



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jonabark

posted October 1, 2007 at 11:03 am


Sure, Moderatelad, because of our heroic actions Iraq is such a bastion of peace and democracy. A freely elected government without even the power to remove forieign mercenaries who go on a killing spree in their capital. Over a million dead and huge numbers fled. 3800 American soldiers dead , tens of thousands wounded, many with lifelong injuries. A brutal civil war with no end in sight. We have managed to make life in Iraq worse than it was under Saddam Hussein.
We have known about Myanmar’s military tyranny for many years and applied no meaningful sanctions. America has been caught in its self-serving international hypocrisy, beating the drums of war on Iran who has no human rights violations comparable to Darfur or Myanmar or China, or Columbia, and who has no military aggression comparable to ours or Great Britain’s or Pakistan’s, or China’s or Russia’s.
The world and the South African blacks shamed and pressured South Africa into ending apartheid. International pressure and shaming and the nonviolent pro-democracy resistance in Russia, Poland, and the Ukraine helped bring down the Iron curtain without a war. The same kind of even more peaceful and equally determined movement exists in Myanmar. Your calls for peace through bombs are highly pre-mature and have a miserable track record.
I encourage all to call on Congress to take stand against a military assault on Iran, and to call for the strongest possible sanctions against yanmar. This may be futile as long as we are utterly dependent on China for just about everything. There are downsides to globalism, and globalism is currently protecting the military dictators of Myanmar.



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Scott

posted October 1, 2007 at 4:59 pm


I agree with Usama. I am definately ashamed of Bush and ashamed of many of the things my country, the USA, has done. Only someone that is completely indoctrinated or knows nothing of the real history of US foreign policy would dare to state otherwise.



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Hali

posted October 1, 2007 at 6:27 pm


“Moderatelad” wrote:
“I will not (at this time) support any military action because I will not give Nancy and Harry another way to make political hay.”
Are you saying that your criteria for supporting or opposing military action involve whether or not it will politically advantageous for the other party?
What would you think if someone had written,
“I will not (at this time) support any military action because I will not give George and Dick another way to make political hay” ?



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Mark P (the Yank)

posted October 1, 2007 at 6:50 pm


moderate, you might be right about the thousands slaughtered already…
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=484903



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 1, 2007 at 7:04 pm


I will not (at this time) support any military action because I will not give George and Dick another way to make political hay” ?
Posted by: Hali
I as rather think for myself , anything else is compromising what the Lord intended for us to do .



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 1, 2007 at 7:06 pm


“Moderatelad” wrote:
“I will not (at this time) support any military action because I will not give Nancy and Harry another way to make political hay.”
Modelated , we are to do what is right from our conscience , that is all we can do , leave Justice to the Lord .



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Doug Couch

posted October 2, 2007 at 2:09 am


Usama made some pointed observations. The USA talks a lot of goodness while it brings on a lot of pain and misery in the world. But that is not unique. In fact, it is the one thing that has been consistent throughout the millennia. The idea of sovereignty is actually built on this kind of stuff…and nations are built on it out of the ashes of people massacred and trashed.
To point out the errors, and decide who is most guilty is what we have done throughout all history, and it has done no good. Some have come along and touted “nonviolence” and this also has done no good in the long run…for without violence, there is no such idea as nonviolence.
People have lost sight of what peace really is…and it is not nonviolence. The title of this brief article struck me, for nonviolence has no power…as also violence has no power. What these have is conflict, one against the other, both physically and ideologically.
There is no value in shaming power hungry politicians.
Similarly, people have touted first one, then another religious approach as the answer, and yet the world continues as before, often with wars being started by the very religious groups who proclaim peace and insist their way is righteousness.
The most precious thing of all is available to all, right now, anywhere in the world…and it makes the heart smile, for it is in accord with the heart…not just the feelings of the moment, but the reality of the heart itself. There are a couple of saying afoot, which are also mentioned in various religious texts, and it is helpful to realize they point out something whole and unique.
1. Judge not.
2. The truth shall set you free.
Setting aside the connotations usually associated with these…just ponder the words. “JUDGE”…just who and what could you judge or judge not? “TRUTH”…just what could truth be, or perhaps not be? “SHALL”…is this the same as maybe? “SET YOU FREE”…but free from what…could it be that what you need to be free from is not what you were taught you needed to be free from (both in the religious and secular sense)?
YOU are all that is important in your world, for without YOU, there is no world for you…and that is impossible. What YOU are is the determinant factor. So, in your pondering, consider that judging might have to what you do or don’t do with YOU. Truth might have to do with what is true about YOU. And…last but certainly not least…what you may need to be “SET FREE” from may have to do with the first two.
If you know the truth about YOU, that truth does not judge you, but shows you what is actually so about you…and about all…and that not only sets you free, but also makes you possess a contagious smile capable of healing the world, including the genocide of Rwanda, the nastiness of the Iraq war and the simple things like relationships in your life.
Rather than nonviolence having power, PEACE (which comes through knowledge of self) has power, and this is just a simple temporal example of its power…and it is the ONLY power there is.



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Anonymous

posted October 2, 2007 at 10:11 am


Posted by: Hali | October 1, 2007 6:27 PM
‘…will not give George and Dick another way…’
That has already been written and said by CNN – NYT etc. I have never heard Nancy or Harry say that a victory in Iraq would be a good thing. Harry claimed that it was lost prior to the first shot.
Blessings -
.



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Moderatelad

posted October 2, 2007 at 10:23 am


Posted by: jonabark | October 1, 2007 11:03 AM
South Africa – you were dealing with people that did have a westren moral cumpass. They were shown that they were ‘wrong’ and were willing – albeit slowly to make the change/correction. You do not have that in the Radical Islamist – they believe that they are ‘right’ in waging war agaist us.
When it comes to the fall of the USSR. We need look no further than when Poland was struggling for their freedom. The Pope went on TV and Radio and basically told Russia to stay out or ‘I will put down the Staff of St Peter and fight with my countrymen’. Not a Pope of the Crusades but one that understood what might need to be done to get the accomplish your objective.
Your calls for peace through bombs are highly pre-mature and have a miserable track record.
I am not calling for the pre-mature use of our military but what are you willing to do if sanctions fail. We had a great track record with the UN, France and others subverting sanctions for personal gain.
Blessings -
.



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Moderatelad

posted October 2, 2007 at 10:37 am


Posted by: Mick Sheldon | October 1, 2007 7:06 PM
Modelated , we are to do what is right from our conscience , that is all we can do , leave Justice to the Lord .
So we tell the bad guy not to do something. Appeal to the world community to support us in sanctions that we hope will bring them into community with all of us. Then go to church and sing ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus’ because we have done all that we can – we can do no more.
Do I have this correct? I will be glad to join you and Wallis and whom ever else wants to be there and we can have an old fashion Hymn Sing.
But if that does not work – what will we be willing to do next to bring them into community with all of us. They are still killing and attacking other countries while we are safe – singing in church. What can be done to make this evil person stop? What are you willing to do to make them stop? You are standing on the corner with you family and there is someone coming at you yelling that they have a gun and are going to despatch you and your family to heaven. I have a gun and in position to at least wound him so to disarm him or if that does not work – bring him down. You are unarmed and so is your family. You want me to sing Kum By Ya and hope that he will stop, or do you want me to yell at him to stop and warn him that if he goes for his gun I will shoot. Your choice.
Blessings -
.



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 2, 2007 at 3:59 pm


You are unarmed and so is your family. You want me to sing Kum By Ya and hope that he will stop, or do you want me to yell at him to stop and warn him that if he goes for his gun I will shoot.
This is not what we’re talking about — this government lives by the sword as it is, so that kind of thing was happening anyway. The key is to maintain some kind of “moral authority” so that the evil the government perpetrates may be recognized as evil. I just saw a snippet of the movie “Gandhi” last night and eventually I want to watch the whole thing.
Think what would have happened if African-Americans in the South had been armed the way you suggest back in the 1950s — we would have had the mother of all bloodbaths PLUS racial segregation to this day. Martin Luther King Jr. understood that.



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JamesMartin

posted October 3, 2007 at 5:55 am


Think what would have happened if African-Americans in the South had been armed the way you suggest back in the 1950s — we would have had the mother of all bloodbaths PLUS racial segregation to this day. Martin Luther King Jr. understood that. Posted by: Rick Nowlin
Very well put, Rick. I too saw the Ghandi movie the other night. Jesus was the embodiment of non-violence. It is interesting how so many of his followers appear to embrace violent resistance as a first option. I am not a pacifist but war and violence must be the absolute last option.
Peace



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Moderatelad

posted October 3, 2007 at 11:49 am


Posted by: JamesMartin | October 3, 2007 5:55 AM
Ghandi is a great movie and for the most part – histroical correct which in interesting coming out of Hollywood. It is a beautiful story of the right person at the right time. Colonialization was coming to a close for England and most of the European countries. Englands moral cumpass was coming back to center on many issues and therefore the time was right for a ‘Ghandi’ to come to the front.
In working with radical Islamists – there is no ‘Ghandi’ that they would respect outside of Islam. The radicals would see it as ‘weakness’ and would never consider it a problem. The radicals do not desire peace with the west only donimation and Islam as the religion and gov’t law of the nation.
Many will die as the world looks on and does nothing – Ruwanda East.
Blessings -
.



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Moderatelad

posted October 3, 2007 at 11:49 am


Posted by: JamesMartin | October 3, 2007 5:55 AM
Ghandi is a great movie and for the most part – histroical correct which in interesting coming out of Hollywood. It is a beautiful story of the right person at the right time. Colonialization was coming to a close for England and most of the European countries. Englands moral cumpass was coming back to center on many issues and therefore the time was right for a ‘Ghandi’ to come to the front.
In working with radical Islamists – there is no ‘Ghandi’ that they would respect outside of Islam. The radicals would see it as ‘weakness’ and would never consider it a problem. The radicals do not desire peace with the west only donimation and Islam as the religion and gov’t law of the nation.
Many will die as the world looks on and does nothing – Ruwanda East.
Blessings -
.



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Moderatelad

posted October 3, 2007 at 11:50 am


Posted by: JamesMartin | October 3, 2007 5:55 AM
Ghandi is a great movie and for the most part – histroical correct which in interesting coming out of Hollywood. It is a beautiful story of the right person at the right time. Colonialization was coming to a close for England and most of the European countries. Englands moral cumpass was coming back to center on many issues and therefore the time was right for a ‘Ghandi’ to come to the front.
In working with radical Islamists – there is no ‘Ghandi’ that they would respect outside of Islam. The radicals would see it as ‘weakness’ and would never consider it a problem. The radicals do not desire peace with the west only donimation and Islam as the religion and gov’t law of the nation.
Many will die as the world looks on and does nothing – Ruwanda East.
Blessings -
.



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Rick Nowlin

posted October 3, 2007 at 1:28 pm


The radicals would see it as ‘weakness’ and would never consider it a problem. The radicals do not desire peace with the west only donimation and Islam as the religion and gov’t law of the nation.
Which is precisely why they will fail — and in fact have already failed. In fact, in Iran the hard-liners already are losing their grip culturally, especially with the young. When domination is your goal eventually you consume yourself — and that’s the same reason American conservatism is rapidly losing ground.



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Moderatelad

posted October 3, 2007 at 2:34 pm


Posted by: Moderatelad | October 3, 2007 11:50 AM
Sorry about the mult. posts – need to work on not pressing the button so many times.
Blessings -
.



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