May 2011

Doctrine Divides, Action Unites



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  Waiting for Wisdom and Virtue in Burma
Aung San Suu Kyi
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate and leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma shared her views about education in a videotaped address via a live video link with a packed auditorium at the University of Hong Kong on May 30 as part of the university’s activities to celebrate its centenary this year. In her message, she not only congratulates the university in Hong Kong but also reminisces about the former high quality of education in her own country and its role in the country’s development before Burma’s military rulers sought to neuter it. [Read more]

 A New Tourism Model for Burma
National League for Democracy
While Burma’s military government was busily promoting Visit Myanmar Year 1996, the National League for Democracy (NLD)—at the time the country’s main opposition political party led by Aung San Suu Kyi—called for tourists to boycott Burma and stay away from the country as a form of protest against the abysmal human rights record of the military rulers leading the nation and their authoritarian governance. Today, although people continue to be deprived of their rights and democracy is a fantasy in the minds of Burma’s generals masquerading as civilian leaders, the NLD, which is no longer a political party but is still the primary organized movement for democracy in the country, has issued a new statement on tourism that welcomes visitors to return to Burma—but not all tourists. [Read more]

 New Briefing Paper: Crisis in Shan State
Burma Campaign UK
A London-based solidarity group has recently released a new report about fighting in Shan State in eastern Burma after the Burmese government broke a ceasefire that had been in place for 22 years. This brief article contains a link to an online copy of the report. [Read more]

  Pakistan’s Ahmadis Still Suffering a Year after Lahore Attacks
Nasim Malik
The author reminds readers in this article, which was published by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in Hong Kong, about the massacre of Ahmadis as they worshipped in a mosque in May 2010 in the Pakistani city of Lahore. Today the victims and their families still await justice and an end to the discrimination that has tormented them for more than 25 years. [Read more]

  Saka Dawa Nyung Ne Prohibited at Drepung Monastery
Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy
In this report, Chinese government authorities appear to be confused about how to react to the observance of a traditional Buddhist festival at a Tibetan monastery as they vacillate between halting, approving and eventually prohibiting it. [Read more]

  Thai and Cambodian Buddhists Walk for Peace
On May 16, Buddhists in Thailand and Cambodia used a practice of their faith, a Dhamma Yatra or march, to seek peace between these two predominantly Buddhist societies that have been fighting periodically since June 2008 over competing claims to land on their border near Preah Vihear Temple, a Hindu temple built in the 11th century. Online media reports by Thai journalists about the Dhamma Yatra can be read at <> and <>.

  Carried by Dialogue from Jerusalem to Gaza
Rabbi Gideon D. Sylvester
Being an Orthodox rabbi living in Jerusalem, the author experiences every day the tensions, fears and violence that engulf a land that is holy to multiple faiths. He now believes though that the first step away from the abyss of more violence is a conversation with those who are different. [Read more]

  How Is Peace a Religious or Spiritual Value in Your Faith?
Dennis R. Koehn
Drawing on his experience for several decades as a person in the United States promoting non-violent solutions to inevitable domestic and international conflicts, the author explains the way in which religion is often hijacked by political or even religious leaders to justify war as the proper means to resolve disagreements. Many important questions are raised by the author on which people of all faiths can reflect. [Read more]

  Reflections of a Catholic American on bin Laden’s Death
Rebecca Cataldi
The killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2 generated a wide range of emotions in the author that she shares in this article. She also explains the effect that prayer and forgiveness have had on her and notes a variety of ways to overcome the mistrust, fear and violence of the past decade between people of different faiths and nationalities in order to be “one human family under God.” [Read more]

  Understanding and Dialogue Key to Healing the World
Larry Hufford
The killing of Osama bin Laden on May 2 in Pakistan prompted the author, a professor of international relations in the United States, to reflect on his memories of 9/11 and to call now for this day in his country and around the world to become an annual occurrence when people of different faiths come together to build mutual understanding through dialogue instead of being remembered as a day associated with interfaith distrust and divisiveness. [Read more]