Archives For imagined oppression

Images from Myanmar of Christian Nun, Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng, staring down police officers, pleading with them not to shoot protesters, exposes just how close the Western world is to the precipice of its own demise.

Tawng opposed the brutal crackdown asking the officers “not to hurt the protesters, but to treat them kindly like family members.”

She told Reuters, “I told them that they can kill me, I am not standing up until they give their promise that they will not brutally crack down on protesters.”

Her actions failed. Two protestors were killed, and according to Reuters, ‘several others were injured.’

If you missed this, it’s because, Nu Tawng’s selfless defiance was drowned out by a British Prince, an American actress, and an American talk show host.

The embarrassing, vain self-serving media frenzy, elevating two millionaires, and a billionaire, caused a news blackout.

It’s the tale of two cities. One (not without irony) speaks freely, claiming to be oppressed, while the other fights just to have its voice heard.

Yet the first sucks in the sympathy, and attention of the world, while the second, barely acknowledged, humbly kneels before guns, and the prospect of no freedom at all.

To understand Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng’s fight, Myanmar commander-in-chief, Min Aung Hlaing, brought the country back under military control on the 1st February.

Arguing electoral fraud, he sided with the opposition, then booted the Democratically elected government, placing pro-Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, (a lifelong campaigner for Democracy in the country, and Nobel Peace Prize winner) under house arrest.

Suu Kyi is charged with ‘possessing illegal walkie-talkies, violating Covid-19 restrictions during last year’s election campaign and publishing information that may “cause fear or alarm”.

Suu Kyi’s governing hasn’t been without scandal. According to the BBC, her policies regarding the Muslim, Rohingya minority have been the focus of embarrassing international attention for the country. Many claim her 2017 crackdown on the Rohingyas, considered by the Suu Kyi government to be ‘illegal immigrants’, was ‘genocide.’

Supporting Suu Kyi is synonymous with supporting Democracy. Min Aung Hlaing’s overthrow strengthens this parallel.

In some aspects this shares a likeness to the shady totalitarian actions of the West’s militarised bureaucracy; through which many Governments have manipulated constitutional protections, and turned the “fight” against the Wuhan COVID-19 virus, into a fight against the people.

Exemplified in particular by Canada’s arrest, and imprisonment of Pastor James Coates.

Like Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng, Coates’ story is sidelined in favour of “bigger things”, “better people”, and bigger ratings.

Harry, Megan, and Oprah’s, soap opera, took centre stage on social media, and dominated headlines.

One particular allegation, created a short-lived anti-Monarchy industry, filled with unthinking, banal netizens virtue-signalling a cult-like chant in unison: “Black Lives Matter”, “time for a republic in Australia!”, “the Royal family are all racists.

While the world obsessed over three excessively rich Westerners, decrying their alleged oppression at the hands of other excessively rich Westerners, a poor Christian nun from Myanmar was kneeling in front of real oppressors, asking them to turn their guns away.

Where were Oprah’s cameras?

Where were Megan’s tears, and concerns for the oppressed?

Where was Harry’s sympathetic endorsement?

Where was the focus of the world?

Though Tawng’s efforts didn’t succeed, at least she did something.

Though Coates is in prison, at least he did something.

We fail to be taken seriously if we fail to hear, and see, Coates and Nu Tawng.

They are an example of how life-affirming Christianity is in the face of oppression. They embody a rejection of the false doctrine that teaches defeatism behind the veil of “losing graciously.”

One not far removed from Chamberlain’s well-intentioned Munich agreement, which gave Hitler the Sudetenland in Western Czechoslovakia, to “seal” the promise of “peace in our time.”

Take in the observation of Czech philosopher, Jan Patočka, talking about the civil disobedience:  

‘Accommodation has so far never led to an improvement in a situation, only to a deterioration. The greater the fear the servility have been, the greater the lack of consideration been on the part of the authorities. There is no other way to make them lessen the pressure than show to them that injustice and arbitrariness are not ignored. People must always be dignified, refuse to let themselves be frightened and humiliated, say that which is true – behaviour that will make in impression just it will be such sharp contrast to the behaviour of the authorities.’ [i]

Knowing that we are not free from suffering, but free in our suffering, we live in Christ’s victory, not our victimhood.

It’s radical. Determined. Joyful, humble, and defiant in the face of tyranny.

The Christian has a Lord, and under, with and because of His Lordship, we can stand firm against the Abyss.

It’s on the plains of appeasement, and the back of “losing graciously” that Blitzkrieg was born.

This is why we must reject the false doctrine so often shoved down the throats of parishioners, by Christian leaders, who’ve abdicated mission to centrism, surrendered the uniqueness of Christ to pluralism, and applied “losing graciously” as a coping mechanism for the post-Christian context.

I’ll give Clarke Pinnock the penultimate word,

‘There is no future for liberal Christianity because it just listens to the culture and has nothing to contribute. It allows itself to be led around by the nose, while ruining churches and robbing the world of the Gospel.’ [ii]

Tawng’s defiance holds a mirror up to most progressive Churches in the West. What’s reflected back isn’t what many would expect to see.

References:

[i] Citizen vs. State, cited by Harry Jarv, Living in Truth: Tribute to Václav Havel, p.243

[ii] Clarke Pinnock’s rebuttal of John Hick’s case for Religious Pluralism. Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralist World, 1995.


First published on Caldron Pool, 16th March 2021.

©Rod Lampard, 2021.

Astute assessments about the West’s dangerous over-dependency on China have been present in news feeds for weeks. As many financial sections of mainstream media will attest to, concerns over products and services, have alerted people, and corporations to an addiction that few, outside China’s industrial matrix, could see before the tragedy of Wuhan.

Setting aside any questionable theories about the ruling Communist regime, and their possible entrapment, the dependency is alarming. Many Western companies have either willingly, or through unbalanced quid-pro-quo deals, positioned themselves so heavily in China, that if China falls, so will they. Many appear to have fallen victim to the folly of placing every egg in one industrial basket. With the Wuhan tragedy and the outbreak of the Coronavirus, gold-fever in China has come to a spine jarring halt, replaced with a fever of a more deadly kind.

Western companies aren’t the only ones waking up to what looks a lot like a co-dependent relationship, with the Chinese political elite holding the balance of power. Australian Unis are losing money because of a high dependency on Chinese student enrolments. So they’re side-stepping Scott Morrison’s travel ban by using a loop-hole, providing grants of up to $7,500 for Chinese students to use a third-party country to enter Australia. However, according to a report in The Australian, some of those students are ignoring quarantine guidelines & are cashing in on an exotic holiday instead.

While it’s not up to us to tell someone how to spend money they’ve been gifted, it is up to us to question how Australian Universities can justify inviting potential economic disaster, in the hopes of avoiding what they see as a potential economic disaster.

As with many co-dependent relationships, when the person with the power breaks away, threatens to, or is removed, anxiety, irrational behavior, insecurity, sometimes violence and panic manifest itself in the person who had little to no power in that relationship.

Australian universities side-stepping Morrison’s travel ban, looks more like irrational self-sabotage or self-harm; raising questions about whether this behavior confirms that a toxic co-dependency between China and the academy in Australia exists. Has the impact of the travel ban, or to be more precise, the Coronavirus, thrown Australian Universities so far off, that they’re now operating like the powerless person in a co-dependent relationship?

If not, then the only possible explanation for such recklessness is greed, and desperation because of an addiction to China that threatens the lifeblood of these institutions, perhaps even more than the virus itself. Side-stepping the travel ban is a band-aid, quick-fix, which risks creating a greater financial disaster should that virus shutdown the academy and the cities those institutions are located in.

In sum,

1. It could be said, that Australian universities side-stepping travel ban are potentially paying to import the coronavirus.

2. Australian universities who give Chinese Uni Students, up to $7,500 in grants, in order to side step the travel ban, are being mocked by students, who are using those funds for an exotic holiday, ignoring quarantine guidelines.

3. Those Universities could wind up financially worse off, if the Coronavirus Spreads around campuses, creating a financial disaster in an attempt to avoid a financial disaster.

4. Australian Unis who are far too dependent on Chinese student enrollments. Thus raising questions about the relationship between China – as hinted at by ASIO last week – and the Academy in Australia.

Far be it for me to condemn the chancellors running our higher institutions of learning. After all, they have my respect. I’ve graced their ancient hallways, and benefited from their tertiary wisdom. I love the academy, but find myself drawing closer and closer towards Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s conclusion, as the institution was being overrun by totalitarianism, ‘I can no longer believe in the University. In fact I never really believed in it.’[i]

It’s true that Universities are businesses, and they need to be free to balance services, and product with profit. However, for our places of higher learning to recklessly undermine a travel ban, and the protections it offers to their institutions and customers (including those Chinese students who were already here) is negligence. They are abdicating responsibility for the health and welfare of current students in order to feed a financial addiction that is in need of an intervention, not a band-aid that props up their bottom line.

Regardless of whether the motivator is greed, pride, wokeness or desperation, such recklessness from the academy poses a greater threat to the academy than the travel ban does.

Don’t let the claims that this side-stepping is a fight against racism, and xenophobia. Even if it was, it’d still look like they’re trying to keep their stats high on China’s oppressive C.C.P social credit score, than fighting the imagined oppression of Morrison’s responsible travel ban. Make no mistake, universities who are side-stepping the Coronavirus ban aren’t putting people before profit, they’re putting profit before people.


References (not otherwise linked):

[i] Bonhoeffer, D. London, 1933-1935, DBWE 13, p.217

First published on Caldron Pool, 4th March, 2020

Photo by Dimitri Karastelev on Unsplash

©Rod lampard, 2020