HE has lived in the jungle in Burma and in Bosnia and Croatia during the final year of "ethnic cleansing".
Yet in spite of witnessing unbearable atrocities, activist and performer Alan Clements feels his experiences have helped give him a better perspective on why we all need to stand up for truth and freedom.
"I've been reporting on men in uniforms who are essentially crazy, obsessed with power, " said Mr Clements who will perform his solo show Spiritually Incorrect in Byron Bay this coming week.
"It's part storytelling, part satire, part comedy, something I call 'activist entertainment," he said.
Among the first Westerners to be ordained as a Buddhist monk in Burma, where he lived in a monastery for nearly five years, Mr Clements was expelled by the regime, with no reason given, in 1984.
He returned secretly to Burma in 1995, to co-author "The Voice of Hope" with the former political prisoner and Noble Peace Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, in addition to "Burma: The Next Killing Fields" and "Revolution of the Spirit", with forewords by the Dalai Lama.
Of his time in the Croatian capital, in 1993, he said he was among a population of one million people, with 500,000 living on the street in the dead of winter "surrounded by the front lines of ethnic cleansing". He was there to consult with the UN on the role of consciousness in understanding peace and violence.
Born in Boston, Mr Clements has spent time in Australia and said he found the people kind and open. The politicians, however, were another story.
"They're pedal to the metal, propagating a homicidal global economy while saying they're looking after the people, our future. It's either pathological denial, a genocidal death wish, or both" he said.
Will be held at The Byron Theatre on Thursday from 7.30 pm. Tickets cost $30 in advance or $40 cash-only at the door. For advance reservations email email@example.com
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