Friday, 28 September 2007

Support Burmese Protestors

I confess I felt a swell of pride and solidarity with the Burmese monks this week as I watched the protests get underway in Rangoon.

At least 30,000 people led by about 15,000 monks clad in orange and red robes swarmed through the streets of Burma's main city, with some activists saying 100,000 were involved.

Crowds of people thronged the roadside, many with tears in their eyes. About 10,000 monks and supporters set off from the Shwedagon Pagoda and past the offices of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy. As the monks walked by chanting prayers for peace, NLD officials came to the footpath and bowed in respect to the clergy before joining the marchers.

"We are marching for the people," one monk said to the crowd, and urged supporters to remain peaceful and avoid political slogans.

I think the reason I was really moved by this spectacle is that it was watching faith in action. In our Christian tradition, we have often been at the forefront of social change, forcing an end to oppression, but unfortunately many times we have stood by and let the oppression, poverty and injustice go on unchallenged. We may not believe what these monks believe - but we have to admire their integrity and the way they have embraced action in their faith. Now we need "Christian" nations to support their effort.

No comments: