Amnesty Withdraws Award from Aung San Suu Kyi

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Good. She’s an embarrassment to Buddhists.

Javier - not much response to your rather sweeping statement. Perhaps most are being kind towards yourself. From posts I have read of yours, you are very knowledgeable. I encourage you to stick with what you know.
With metta


@kokomyanmar Do you know of any informed commentary that puts the recent behavior and inaction of Aung San Suu Kyi in a more favorable light?

I would guess that Aung San Suu Kyi, Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama are probably the world’s most prominent Buddhists. Her seeming participation in, and lack of resistance to, what has happened in Myanmar has been demoralizing to many Buddhists.


I am no expert on the subject, but my guess is she has a lot less power than we think-- it is still a military junta with a penchant for being surprisingly de-centralized. I am not apologizing for her, but she may not have the power to prevent the slaughter. The generals may have just brought her on as a figurehead and duped her into thinking she has power. None of this probably has anything to do with practicing Buddhism, sadly.


@dharmacorps possibly true, possibly not, but good points.

Actually… in reading this thread, some beneficial (imo) thoughts occurred to me: perhaps Buddhism and Nationalism are essentially incompatible.

Nations/nationalism seem to require identity, and borders, and seem to depend on a military defense, and to encourage Views of people as citizen or alien, as worthy of legal protections and or benefits, or not, etc. It’s very tribal.

Thinking this seems to encourage of effort towards liberation… perhaps, encouraging of renunciation of some mental habits, or frameworks. Also, it seems to relieve some worries, about those nations often called Buddhist… The people in those nation may mostly be Buddhists, but … the corruption which seems evident there would be really disturbing, when I saw them as A Buddhist Nation. Seeing nations as a label applied to individuals just living their current lives, all having no more or less Self as any Buddhist (edit or person) anywhere, seems more right.

Hoo, boy. Now we are entering into my field of expertise. Social scientists typically see a distinction between “nations” and “states.” In the cultural/anthropological/sociological sense, “nations” are groups of self-identified individuals who share some subjective common trait. In the way social scientists understand them, “nations” do not require either political institutions or territorial boundaries to exist. One can speak of the Kurdish nation or the Cherokee nation, neither of which exist as territorially-defined political entities. It’s not by accident that the LGBTIQ+ group “Queer Nation” chose to put “nation” in its name to signify that queer identity does not require a set of political institutions nor territorial borders to bind together individuals who share an identity.

As social scientists understand them, “states” are comprised of political institutions that enjoy sovereignty because they possess a monopoly on coercion and consent both domestically and among other sovereign states. Since the Treaties of Westphalia in 1648 states have pretty much crowded out other types of political authority (e.g., Papal authority, aristocratic authority, authority vested in kinship groups, state-less juridical authority, etc.) and now claim exclusive status as the source of political authority (although states may choose to cede some of their sovereignty on a limited basis to other actors such as provinces, prefectures, etc. at the domestic level, and intergovernmental organizations such as the European Union at the international level). Unlike nations, states exercise sovereignty over territorially defined areas, i.e., with inviolable borders (hence, the violation of territorial sovereignty is a universally recognized valid reason to declare war, e.g., when the United Nations issued resolutions against Iraq when it invaded Kuwait in 1990).

Often the trouble for nations and states is when political leaders seek to fuse “nation” and “state” in the form of the “nation-state,” which is a function of history and somewhat unique to historical circumstances, and therefore is largely a political fiction. There are very few polities in the world that are pure “nation-states,” that is, situations in which the “borders” of a nation and a state perfectly coincide such that only one nation resides within a single state (i.e., no other individuals of any nation live within that state) and everyone comprising that nation lives within the state (i.e., there is no diaspora of the nation living outside the state). Nation-states are for the most part pure fiction. Often leaders assert the existence of nation-states for the purposes of trying to unify diverse groups by deeming them all members of a “nation-state.”

France is a good example of a country in which there is the fiction that everyone living in France is a “Frenchman.” The lie in this claim has been revealed by the intense debates over how the Muslim community in France has or has not been assimilated into the French nation. So-called French nationalists have insisted that Muslim customs are incompatible with the concept of laïcité, that is, French secularism in which there is to be no preference given to the customs of any one religion. Currently laïcité has been used as an excuse to deny Muslims the right to exercise their religious customs, all in the name of promoting the legitimacy of France as a “nation-state.”

What is currently going on in Myanmar is similar to the debates in countries such as France, although with far more deadly results. The common theme is that there is dispute over what constitutes a “nation.” For leaders, the goal is to promote the fiction of the “nation-state,” that is, political authority predicated on a common identity.

Anyway, that is my political scientist’s take on this, for what it’s worth :wink:

Buddhist should not be demoralized by the actions or lack of them by Aung San Suu Kyi. All seekers of democracy should be disappointed. That was my point. This is not firstly a Buddhist issue.

Aung Sun Suu Kyi has said many times that she is a politician first and foremost. A " democracy icon" who just happens to be a Buddhist in a country that is 89 % Buddhist. She is prominent because of her past and present. To compare her to prominent Buddhist monks is a disservice to them and her.

After all, we do not say President Trump is demoralizing all Christians .

I am no apologist for her but I do understand the ramifications of the 1982 Citizenship Act and the 2008 Junta constitution which required her to create a new position of State Counselor rather than be President. The Armed Forces control three important Ministries; Defense, Internal and Home Affairs and Immigration and Citizenship. With an unelected 25% representation in both houses of parliament, they control the constitution, which needs a 75% vote for any change.

She has to play a longer game that many do not like or understand. I dislike politics but love democracy, and like most, agree that Aung San Suu Kyi and her government should have acted and spoken more decisively, but I do understand her situation.

In the meantime, let us all abstain from evil, cultivate what is good and continue to purify our minds.

With Metta