Buddhist fists flying in Sri Lanka

Buddhist fists flying in Sri Lanka August 27, 2006

Things have been exceedingly hectic, but I think I’m approaching the point where I might be able to blog again with a  modicum of regularity.

So I give you a a strange scene from Sri Lanka that reminds us how inadequate our simplistic categories are.

A peace rally of Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus is disrupted up by a band of violent Buddhist monks!  It sounds like a New Age joke.

SRI LANKA: Pro-War Monks Turn Peace Rally Into Fracas

When saffron-clad Buddhists monks and Catholic priests and nuns in white are joined by Muslim and Hindu leaders in an interfaith rally for peace, the last thing anyone would expect is that their pacific efforts would end in fisticuffs.

Chanting ‘no war, no war’ the marchers, on Thursday, wended their way to a public park in the capital where their speeches were rudely interrupted by a group of fiery pro-war Buddhist monks. The peace campaigners were told to take their banners and rally to the east of the island where fighting has been raging between Tamil separatist militants and the armed forces, for over a fortnight.

The unseemly scenes that followed, in which pro and anti-war monks pushed and punched each other were, to many onlookers, of a piece with the mindlessness that has marked more than two decades of ethnic conflict that has pitted the majority Buddhist Sinhala community against the minority Tamils.

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