More power to Myanmar’s monks

They have set a new high in civilised, non-violent struggle

It is by no means clear that the non-violent protests that Myanmar’s monks started this week will gain enough momentum to shake the ruling junta, less topple it. The striking thing about the monks protests lies in a sophistication that goes beyond mere non-violence.

Rather than political slogans, the monks chant prayers and Buddhist charms to ward off harm. The implication that the junta is an evil force, an offence against the natural order of things, is especially potent in Burma, where religious faith and superstition are widespread. [Times via INI Signal]

The Irrawaddy is posting regular updates. Update: By Sunday 23rd Sep, the protests had swelled to the biggest in 20 years. Fifty Viss offers an insight into the junta’s response.

5 thoughts on “More power to Myanmar’s monks”

  1. Call me cynical but im nost sure this has any value other than looking good.
    If the objective is to topple the junta, this won’t suffice.

    Real wisdom lies in realising that the world is an unfair place and selecting your weapons accordingly.
    The junta will, without remorse, hack down monks if it chooses. What then?

  2. Dont know how it would go in Myanmar, but there is always IMHO a projection of force in such demonstrations however peacefully they are conducted. The force being the reverence among the general populace for these monks, and faith itself.

    This photo reminded me of a march several years ago in my hometown that I witnessed protesting the arrest of Shankarakcharya. Barefoot on hot tarmac in the blazing afternoon sun, the ochre robed monks chanted plaintive bhajans and almost wept as they kept repeating “Shankara Guru, Shankara Guru!!”.

    They were not powerless, were those monks. Shook even me out of my general dont-care attitude. I realized approximately everybody that witnessed this must be feeling something the same, if anything even stronger. One careless lathi-swing by an arrogant cop at this peace march could have sufficed to turn on a full-scale riot. Luckily the cops read the implicit power equations very well.


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