June 27, 2009

Alice Walker on Aung San Suu Kyi


Via the Buddhist Peace Fellowship: Alice Walker, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple, has written a lovely blog post with her reflections about Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s Nobel Peace laureate and Prime Minister-elect who is currently on trial before the ruling military junta. Her’s a snippet of what she has to say:

    What makes Aung San Suu Kyi so very special – and Buddhists will yawn – is that she is a meditator. This means her mind is well trained to grasp the implications of actions, especially violent ones, too many of our world leaders seem clueless about. They talk about annihilating, obliterating, beggaring, starving, impoverishing, raping and pillaging other human beings as if this behavior has no consequences to themselves or to those they represent. This is an incredibly antique way of looking at our problems: that we can bomb them away. War is a dead end, literally. And, what is more, we simply can’t afford it. Not morally, and not financially. How long will it take the citizens of the United States, one wonders, to recognize that the house their country bombed in Iraq is the same one they were living in until it was foreclosed? We see, if we care to look, that everything really is connected, and, not only connected, it is the same thing. Aung San Suu Kyi gets this, which is why she renounces violence in the face of one of the most violent regimes in the world, while at the same time not condemning those who, driven to desperate measures by their mistreatment by the regime, resort to violence in an attempt to defend themselves.I can’t think of anything more important than Aung San Suu Kyi’s struggle, which she is waging so brilliantly. She has proved she is not afraid of death, and one feels imprisonment will be to her – as being jailed was for Martin Luther King – simply part of a necessary pilgrimage of the soul. I am not as concerned about her, to be honest, as I am about the rest of us. We need Aung San Suu Kyi. We need her example of integrity, courage, a raging and revolutionary loving kindness that has kept her steady in her long years under house arrest. It is amazing to think of the discipline she has taught herself over these years: to see through the masks of even the most brutal dictators, and to discern the confused, unwell, frightened persons behind the masks. To say, even after years of house arrest: I would hope one day to be friends. I would sit down and talk with them.

Read the rest here.

Walker has done some wonderful work for Shambhala Sun, in conversation with Buddhist teachers Pema Chödrön and Sharon Salzberg. I hope she’s able to sit down and talk with Suu Kyi at some point soon…

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