The Rainforest Action Network is highly confrontational. How does a Buddhist find himself comfortable using confrontation?
There's a story about a guy with a mule. He couldn't get the mule to move. His friend says, "You've just got to whisper 'Move' in his ear and he'll move." So the first guy whispers into the mule's ear. Nothing. He says louder, "Move!" Nothing. Eventually the friend says, "Here, I'll show you." He takes a two-by-four and whacks the mule on the head. Then he whispers, "Move" into the mule's ear, and the mule moves. The first guy is shocked by the violence. "What was that about?" "Well," says the friend, "first you have to get his attention."
You have to get a corporation's attention. They're not interested in talking to a bunch of environmentalists wanting to change things. They've got a lot of other things on their minds. Take Citigroup, the world's largest financial institution: They've got a lot of problems going on, from corruption and investigations to trying to make money. Why are they going to talk to us? Why are they going to do anything for us? You have to get their attention. What we do is always nonviolent both to people and to property. So it's really an aggressive form of speech designed to make them very uncomfortable. It's a way of getting a conversation started.
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