Min Aung, a former Burmese soldier and police officer, has penned a lengthy meditation on civil war. It is well worth reading in full. In the final section he introduces some philosophy:

Please permit me to express this in relation to the teachings of the Buddha. The Buddha was very clear on politics, war and peace. It is well known that Buddhism advocates and preaches non-violence and peace as its universal message and does not approve of any kind of violence or destruction of life. According to Buddhist teachings, nothing can be called “a just war”; it is a false term coined and used to justify and excuse hatred, cruelty and violence. How would one decide if a war is “just” or “unjust” anyway? In the history of war, mighty victors were “just” and the weak and defeated were “unjust”. Buddhism does not accept this concept.

Lord Buddha not only taught non-violence and peace but he even went to the battlefield and intervened personally to prevent a war between the Sakyas and the Koliyas, who were prepared to fight over ownership of the waters of the Rohini. His words once prevented King Ajatasuttu from attacking the kingdom of the Vajjis.

Today, our country is entering a new era, one that promises a better life for all citizens without discrimination based on ethnicity. Development is being encouraged in all sectors and regions of the country. There is much to be optimistic about but for me, a soldier, the sad memories of our decades-old conflict linger on.

I would like to pay my solemn respects to my lost friend, Thura Saw Myat Moe, and all the other fallen soldiers – including those who were once our foes – and request that, if we are really changing to democracy and a free, fair and civilised society, we put an end to civil war once and for all.