It is our aim to write from a Caribbean perspective. However, major developments around the world cannot be ignored. The case for democracy in Myanmar (Burma) demands attention. Aung San Suu Kyi has led a non-violent campaign against a military dictatorship in Myanmar (Burma) ever since 1988. She is presently under house arrest, basically for having won the elections against the military junta in 1990. 

The country’s Buddhist monks are staging yet another uprising these days. The immediate cause is a sudden fuel price hike, but the movement pro democracy is the real underlying issue. In Burma the monks have proved to be very effective political activists. This in itself is a very important development. Once the Buddhist clergy involve themselves in politics, some change is likely to occur. If the monks persist, the generals will cave in, sooner or later.  

UN push for change

Just after Burma’s regime announced that its national constitutional convention had agreed on “basic detailed principles” for a new governance system, UN envoy Mr. Ibrahim Gambari urged the military junta to reopen constitutional talks with ethnic minorities and opposition groups before an eventual referendum on the draft constitution.

As it now stands, the draft looks set to enshrine military dominance over the country, albeit with elections intended to add a façade of democracy. Mr Gambari said the UN was “concerned about the exclusive nature of the process to date, and about reports of provisions that would seemingly run counter to the objectives of national reconciliation and democratization”.

He urged the regime to “improve the outcome of the convention in ways that are more inclusive, participatory and transparent”, although analysts see little prospect that the regime will make any concessions or changes to the guidelines, which are due to be written into a formal constitution.

The UN is powerless

The UN is doing all it can, given its limited power and a split Security Council. The question is not only how to “free Aung San Suu Kyi (the opposition leader) and political prisoners (among whom Buddhist activist monks)”. The question is how Burma (Myanmar) can reform its economy from a socialist oriented system toward a market economy functioning under full democracy, which means – among other things – sending the generals back to their barracks.  

Now, the phrase ‘market economy’ is just a euphemism for ‘capitalism’, but we presume that this is where part of the problem lies. The military junta wants to move toward a market economy, but is confronted with an economic recession (partly due to sanctions by Western countries), which make them cling to the socialist model.

Alliance of All Burmese Buddhist Monks  

We have a lot of respect for these monks who are protesting peacefully under the banner of an invisible organization called ‘Alliance of All Burmese Buddhist Monks’, whose leaders remain underground  It appears that great things are about to happen in Burma. It does not take many spiritual men to bring down dictators. It takes spiritual determination. If there is anybody who can do it, it’s the clergy. Mark our words.  

Our daily video gives an impression of the Monks’ Protests.

 

Comments

  • peter cheng - 15 February 2010

    Dear Sir and Madam,
    We are Myanmar group in Malaysia; we lived in Malaysia over decade and always went to one of temple in Taman Desa Jaya, Kepong, Kuala Lumpur and we were very sad and regreting with the committees of temple because they are using our monks in wrong conception of Buddhist teaching or Buddhist rules. We came to temple to help our monks and respected of our religion.
    That temple is president of name:Yip Kom Fook, that our monks said and he is invited our monks from Myanmar to in charge of that temple but without pay anything to our monks, added he and his not respecting of our monks and sometime he ordered of his people to collected item such as paper, mineral water etc. without inform any words to our monks. In our religious believed we can’t take anything of holy place, if we done we are sin.
    In pervious, our monk said the committees always asked money from him, when our monks gave RM20,000.00 in cash on 2001 to the committees, then committees keep silent, later committees make problem with our monk again and cancelled of our monk Visa permit to stayed in Malaysia, then our monks( Sadayaw Nandiya) go to Australia and our monk not come that temple at long time. “Yip Kom Fook gave our monk notebook computer for to cover of that amount of money our monk said”
    Many local people around temple said, now no more people come to this temple because committees is always make problem and we are heard from local people said: Yip Kom Fook ordered of his people to put fire of Hindu temple at Taman Daya, Kepong because he needed that place to make his business about many years ago. “Everybody known what he done for Hindu temple at Taman Daya, Kepong”
    Last time also he invited police to arrest the monks at holy place(temple) and locked the temple without afraid and shameful of people because he believed committee is big and has more authority, also his son always say to people: this temple is belonging of his father. “This temple donated from public, we are work hard for this temple”
    This temple the committees always changed the monks, now they change the new monk to in charge of temple, this new monk also complaint the bad things of committees because committees also wait for donation box only, they without help anything to our monks. And committees controlled of our monks not to talk more or complaint more, our monks lived there as slaver and afraid of committees members.
    In new building where remaining of Buddha statue marble; we have renovation of Buddha statue because that Buddha statue is put very low, we lift to highest the committees don’t like and unhappy. In our country, anyone be able to come temple to worship the Buddha but in Malaysia is different temple controlling by committees.
    We hope everyone preserve of Buddhist teachings, and please safety of our monks, not see only money as this of temple. When we asked some of our people ( Myanmar) and local people, the committees are very low of idea because is very narrow mind and without education of religions. And committees will not disturbing of our monks, monks are like our father to take care of Buddhism and temple is like our place of resolving of our problem.
    Recently, our monk(Sadayaw Ashin Indaka original from Madalay, Myanmar) has been staying in this temple also unhappy because the committees are not pay anythings to him, he is working in hardly to advise people and we also unhappy and very sad when heard the bad news from our monks. Sometime the committees people came and shouting in the temple without have any reason and done what they need to do, our monk said, the committees of this temple don’t have Buddhist teachings in their mind, may be next time Buddhist can destroy.
    From Myanmar Buddhist group in Malaysia but many word complaint by local Buddhist community in Malaysia. If anyone receive of this message(email), please forward or send to your friends to protection Buddhism in Malaysia.

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