March 2012


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Killing Our Anger

Beh Reh

This story was told by a Karenni man by the name of Beh Reh in 1998 and was recorded by Max Ediger. It takes place in Karen State in Burma.

One evening, when it was almost dark, my friend and I were coming back to our village from the jungle, each with a bullock cart that was carrying logs. One Burmese soldier suddenly came out of the underbrush and stopped us when we were very close to our village. He ordered us to turn our carts in another direction toward the military base. My friend got angry with him because we were very tired. He yelled at the soldier that he wouldn’t do as the soldier ordered and tried to continue moving in the same way. The soldier also got angry and ordered my friend again to come down from his cart. The soldier was so angry that he cocked his gun ready to shoot because my friend defied everything that he had ordered.

The situation turned into a crisis. I was so afraid and realized that something would happen to my friend. I came down from my bullock cart and tried to explain our situation. I told the soldier how hard it was to get these logs from the jungle. We had to wake up at 3:00 in the morning, and it took seven hours to get to the jungle. Then we had to spend around three hours finding and cutting the logs. It had taken the whole time until now to come back. Even though it was very difficult to do this work, we had to work because our families were very poor and we had no other work. We were also students and had no money to buy books.

After I shared our story, he began to understand us and told my friend, “You should have told me that before.” Then he allowed us to continue on our way.

The most difficult thing to kill is anger. That is more difficult than killing people. We cannot really solve any problem if we respond with our anger. Acting in anger, we are already 80 percent of the way to making a mistake. We are already on the losing path. But the problem might be easy for us to solve if we really understand the essence of smiling and love.