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November 13, 2012

Comments

Romanus

I have doubts on the "self" part of the "self-sacrifice" of the Japanese Tokkōtai. I think they could be seen as being sacrificed by their hierarchy at least as much as being sacrificed by themselves. On 11 November 1998 the French Prime Minister suggested the French Army Mutineers of 1917 (World War I), 554 of which were sentenced to death, should be rehabilitated. This suggests that soldiers are sacrificed by states rather than self-sacrifice themselves.

Spirit of Vatican II

Good point. I also think that IRA hunger strikers and Tibetan self-immolators are pawns in political campaigns that limit their individual freedom. Such suicides carry a huge emotional impact, but a highly suspect one; it is a form of emotional blackmail and it fanaticizes whole populations.

Romanus

To the list of self-immolators, one should add Mohamed Bouazizi, whose gesture triggered the Tunisian Revolution of 2010-2011.

Spirit of Vatican II

Thanks, Romanus, for alerting me to the Islamic equivalent of these copycat suicides: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohamed_Bouazizi

A sinister aspect of the Quaker self-immolator is that he had his very young daughter with him. Such acts must not be celebrated.

Spirit of Vatican II

Letter in Irish Times, 4 Dec 2012:

Ignoring Tibetan self-immolations
Sir, – It is impossible to over-state the tragedy of self-immolation (“Ignoring Tibetan self-immolations”, November 30th).

If anyone doubts the desperation and tragedy of these acts, they need only seek out Internet footage of the self-immolation of Tibetan Buddhist nun Palden Choetso in November 2011. The footage is brief and profoundly disturbing.

Perhaps the most powerful comment on the present wave of self-immolations by Tibetans is provided by Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman in the Spring 2012 issue of Buddhadharma.

Prof Thurman watched the footage of Palden Choetso’s self-immolation and writes, very directly: “Oh my heart! Oh, my life! How can this happen! What can I do? I’m overwhelmed . . . I want to respond, to douse her flames.” So do I. – Yours, etc,

BRENDAN KELLY,
Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry,
University College Dublin,
Eccles Street, Dublin 7.

Spirit of Vatican II

Letter of Nov 30:

Sir, – Over 80 Tibetan people have burned themselves alive to protest against Chinese brutality resulting from China’s colonisation of Tibet. The self-immolations started in 2009 and are ongoing and escalating. This reality has been under-reported in the world’s media. We don’t even see any debates or dialogue about it.

How can we ignore this great tragedy? And what is the price of that ignorance? – Yours, etc,

ISABELA BASOMBRIO HOBAN,

Hazel Grove,

Snugboro, Castlebar,

Co Mayo.

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