NEWS & EDITOR’S COMMENT: Non-violence is easy to ignore

Only now, the full horror of Burmese junta’s repression of monks emerges

Monks confined in a room with their own excrement for days, people beaten just for being bystanders at a demonstration, a young woman too traumatised to speak, and screams in the night as Rangoon’s residents hear their neighbours being taken away.

Harrowing accounts smuggled out of Burma reveal how a systematic campaign of physical punishment and psychological terror is being waged by the Burmese security forces as they take revenge on those suspected of involvement in last month’s pro-democracy uprising.

The first-hand accounts describe a campaign hidden from view, but even more sinister and terrifying than the open crackdown in which the regime’s soldiers turned their bullets and batons on unarmed demonstrators in the streets of Rangoon, killing at least 13. At least then, the world was watching. [complete article]

Editor’s Comment — Paul Wolfowitz used to say that if only the Palestinians would dedicate themselves to a non-violent struggle they would have the world’s support (or words something to that effect). Mahahatma Gandhi without doubt was the embodiment of the power of ahimsa. It is thus tragic that the lesson from Myanmar is that non-violent resistance can easily be crushed and just as easily falls away from the media’s attention. For as long as the media rewards violence with the bulk of its attention, non-violence may have infinite moral weight yet little to no political effect.

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