Saturday, September 4, 2010

Peace Activist of the Week- Thich Nhat Hanh

I know that I harp on the evils of China a lot, but there are five communist countries world wide: China, North Korea, Laos, Vietnam, and Cuba. You could also say that Cyprus is communist too but they are democratically elected. Currently, we don't trade with N. Korea or Cuba. However, we trade with China, Laos, and Vietnam. If you think China is bad, Vietnam is also bad. We buy more goods from China, but like my bathing suit some stuff comes from Vietnam (I had the choice between Vietnam and China. Not much of a choice when looking.) In Vietnam, they do not allow the freedom of religion among other human right's violations.

Thich Nhat Hanh (b. 1926) is a Buddhist monk from Vietnam. During the Vietnam War Nhat Hanh led grassroots efforts to restore villages, medical centers, and schools after they were bombed. He traveled to the US to speak out again the Vietnam War. He met with Martin Luther King, Jr to ask him to speak against the war. MLK did and nominated Nhat Hanh for the nobel peace prize. He developed Buddism world wide and established many Buddhist centers including one in Mississippi. He was exiled to France in 1973 but was given permission in the 1976 to help rescue trapped boatmen in Vietnam. In 2005, he was again granted permission to return for visits, but with restrictions. He returned again later in 2007 while some officials from his sect were under house arrest. It's because of his religious affiliation and his constant talks for peace that he undergoes such restrictions.

"It is time for North and South Vietnam to find a way to stop the war and help all Vietnamese people live peacefully and with mutual respect." 1965 Call for Peace statement Thich Nhat Hanh

Because he decided to defend his faith even to the point of being exiled from his own country, I make Thich Nhat Hanh my peace activist of the week.

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