Buddhist Monks Protest in Burma: Hypocrisy and Confusion Continue

On September 25, the 14th anniversary of the major political and economic protests led by clergy (known as “the Saffron Revolution”), Buddhist monks in Burma (also called Myanmar) have taken to the streets in protest of the current military junta that took power back in February of this year.

Here is an important point from the France24 article:

“Historically, monks in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar have been seen as a supreme moral authority, organising communities and at times mobilising opposition to the military regimes. But the coup has exposed a schism in the monkhood, with some prominent clerics giving the generals their blessing and others supporting the protesters.”

So some of the monks who are against the military coup took to the streets. While it’s great to stand against killing civilians (around 1,100 are estimated to have been killed as a result of anti-junta resistance), we’re back to where we began with covering this story.

How can they stand up for Aung San Suu Kyi when she supported the murder of Rohingya—the throwing of their babies into fires, the razing of their homes?

This is not the first time we see hypocrisy coming from people of power in Myanmar. Nobel prize-winning Aung San Suu Kyi herself, who stood against the military before rising to power and supporting it, should be at the very least stripped of the highly regarded prize.

But these monks seem to stand by her, perhaps under the guise of supporting democracy. She was the elected leader, they’ll presumably say.

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Once again, we see a problem with democracy. If we can make this assumption—it appears that many Burmese are at least ambivalent about what happened to the Rohingya.

In democracies, the will of the majority supposedly rules (unless for example, you oppose the military-industrial complex and don’t want to say, invade Iraq), so the people of Myanmar really don’t even have to feel bad about not caring about the fate of the Rohingya.

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We know that the Buddhist terrorist Wirathu and his 969 Movement supported violence against Muslims. Unlike the monks on the street now, Wirathu also supports the military junta. What’s more—this month, on September 7—he was released from prison.

So much for democratic values. He was imprisoned this time around for insulting the dear leader, the very one the other monks are out on the streets supporting on the grounds of democracy. Round and round we go.

But don’t get too dizzy. Innocent people, practicing their faith, many of whom are now stuffed in a camp in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh. Some Christian Burmese have also been harmed by this violent state. Remember who is caught up in all this.

Our brothers and sisters in the Gambia didn’t forget them.

Please make dua for them.

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