(Mizzima) – A new book “Evolving the Spirit – From Democracy to Peace” by Anthony Russell praises Aung San Suu Kyi as one of the leaders who uses a religious spirit in her efforts to establish democracy and peace in Burma.
Author Russell writes: “What fascinates me is the single belief-system that runs through all the great religions. Cut away the political fat and they all throb with a single spiritual beat.”
The book, launched by Burma Campaign UK on Wednesday, describes 10 steps to help reach peace, the understanding that once we change personally, none around us can remain unaffected. “This change can then ripple out to affect the world beyond,” said Russell.
“Taking the principle of non-violence to the wider world is even today political dynamite,” he writes. “Aung San Suu Kyi represents that spirit to perfection. There is nothing naive about her. She is sophisticated, knowledgeable and deeply grounded in her morality and common sense. She has every chance of leading Burma out of the morass in which it finds itself.”
However, the book carries a warning, made clear by Gandhi’s writings as well as his sudden demise, that nonviolence is not the passive, easy approach traditionally portrayed. To Russell, “It is as controversial and threatening today as in Roman times though just as relevant.”
The book includes contributions from the BBC’s World Affairs Editor John Simpson, the conservationist Chris Darwin, and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague.
Russell has been involved with the Burma Campaign UK promoting awareness of human rights. A staunch advocate of nonviolence and an anti-war campaigner, he is a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi and has said he would like the West as to promote democratic principles more strongly. He believes that only strengthened international law, in the form of the UN, ICC and the IMF, can bring lasting peace.
All the great faiths of the world, he argues, share a “golden threat” of truth, which is all that really matters, as the rest is “mere politics.”
In “Evolving the Spirit',” he argues that peace in the world comes from international cooperation on one level but just as importantly, from each of us as individuals. Each person’s ultimate power is achieved by assuming the “dignity of the mature,” he has said, “acting not reacting,” having no enemies and not judging others or taking revenge.