Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Why Burma's Monks Are in Danger

When the protests began, most people -- myself included -- thought that Burmese soldiers would not dare to fire upon Buddhist monks.

Yet, recent reports indicate that monks have been beaten and killed. How could this happen in Burma of all places; in what is perhaps the most devoutly Buddhist country on earth?

Here's the explanation I've been able to piece together after talking to some friends in Thailand.

The junta has indoctrinated soldiers in the belief that monks who protest are not true monks. It has told soldiers that the protesting monks are in effect, fake or impostor monks. "Real monks do not protest," goes the junta's line. So when the soldier beats or kills a monk, he thinks he's purifying the land of the false monks.

The junta has gone to great lengths in recent years to align itself with Buddhism. The junta's Buddhism is presented to the people -- and especially the army -- as the true Buddhism. That has made it easier for the regime to now claim the protesting monks are apostates.

Of course, the idea that a monk cannot protest and still remain true to Buddhism and his vows is utter nonsense. None other than the Dalai Lama issued a strong statement in support of Burma's protesting monks.

1 comment:

  1. This is a common technique of demonizing your opponent. The junta is literally desecrating those monks and then vilifying them in the eyes of its soldiers.

    Your post reminds me of Al-Qaeda's justification of Bin Ladin's 1998 bombing at the U.S. embassy in Tanzania, where all eleven casualties were Muslims. The argument goes, since it happened on a Friday, all "true Muslims" would be in a mosque and out of harm's way, so those who died were not "really" Muslim.


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