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U.S. Envoy in Burma: ‘Where Are the Monks?’

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Posted on Oct 3, 2007
Burmese soldiers

Burma’s military government has intensified its crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, abducting people from their homes in the middle of the night. U.S. Embassy personnel have found some Buddhist monasteries completely deserted while others have been closed off by soldiers.

The acting U.S. ambassador found the absence of the leaders of last month’s demonstrations conspicuous: “There is a significantly reduced number of monks on the streets. Where are the monks? What has happened to them?”

AP via Yahoo:

YANGON, Myanmar—Soldiers announced that they were hunting pro-democracy protesters in Myanmar’s largest city Wednesday and the top U.S. diplomat in the country said military police were pulling people out of their homes during the night.

Military vehicles patrolled the streets before dawn with loudspeakers blaring that: “We have photographs. We are going to make arrests!”

Shari Villarosa, the acting U.S. ambassador in Myanmar, said in a telephone interview that people in Yangon were terrified.

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By Jan, October 4, 2007 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

Where are the Monks?

Some monks have been reported crossing the border out of the country.

Douglas Chalmers said:
“Will turn out much better than S.Africa in the long term…..”

Your an optimist Douglas. But don’t forget military leadership have been powerful throughout Burma’s history.

Once a nation becomes democratic and then retains or rebuilds a military force (which Burma would because of its endless diversity of groups and threats) look how quickly that military can just come back into power anytime it wants to. Look at Pakistan, Thailand and also now Bangladesh. There will also always be civilians who will collaborate with military and many people even prefered the military to take over in Thailand and Bangladesh because of “corruption”.

In Burma the US government helped with $50 000 000 to help the winning party win the original election that everyone keeps refering back to. Considering how much that was at the time and considering in any country getting money from overseas to support your party is illegal, why then were people overseas surprised when the military declared that election illegal due to the foreign money, and anulled the results.

Given how much the US seems to be speaking out, and spending against the military, the US would surely have a huge part to play in a new government if the revolution succeeds (particularly as the figure head for the revolution was western inclined having married an Englishman). Of course all the sanctions would be lifted and the West will pour in lots of money. Very soon where will the monks be then. Look how quickly the Catholic Church was ditched by the Poles once the Priests and nuns were no longer needed to stand against the evil atheistic dictators. Now Poland has a 1.2 child per mother ratio - not bad for a Catholic country where respect for Popes decrees on everything like birth control was always high. But now the Poles’ new religions ie western modernism and capitalist consumerism are doing very well for the lucky ones. And how few years did it take? How will the monks gaurantee that they can maintain their culture next to “McDonalds” etc?

“Give me liberty (and MacDonalds) or give me death”. 

Sorry Douglas, I don’t share your optimism at all.

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By Douglas Chalmers, October 3, 2007 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

#104378 by QuyTran on 10/03 at 8:27 am: “...Real monks have not been taught to show hatred. And real monks are always ready to die for others to live. Yes, but “where’re real monks” in this world…?”

Its not that “monks do not know how to demonstrate against the others” - theirs to date has been an act of service, self-sacrifice and leadership by example. It is real BRAVERY on their part!!!

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By QuyTran, October 3, 2007 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

Real monks do not know how to demonstrate against the others. Real monks have not been taught to show hatred. And real monks are always ready to die for others to live. Yes, but “where’re real monks” in this world ?

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By Verne Arnold, October 3, 2007 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

Yes, where are the monks?  Burma is a Buddhist country…monks are revered, so why are they being killed?  Because the leaders are paid by the western powers and the western powers have not told them not to kill the monks.  You see, the despots do obey the ones from whom the money flows.  The envoy from the UN has left the country, so the killing goes on.  How do you feel about this?

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By Douglas Chalmers, October 3, 2007 at 7:09 am Link to this comment

This is not merely a monks’ rebellion - there is already an established opposition party - in fact, they are the elected government!!! So, if most of their members are in exile, they will still be back thers as quick as it takes to get on a plane to facilitate an administrative and economic structure for trade. Runnning the country is no problem. It only requires public servants with pens, not d!ckheads with guns.

Oil + mining companies the world over are well known to have no morals (Syriana). They will just have to accept that bribing generals in a military regime is a cost which must now be written off as they learn to do business in a democracy instead. Lots of buddies in uniform next door in Thailand won’t be harmed by supporting democracy in Burma or Myanmar or whatever they will call it next as well as Thailand, uhh. Can chuck out Thaksin (Thailand) - also can chuck out Than Shwe, no problem.

Praying for junta is fine. Soldiers can have jobs digging ditches - no need to starve. Earn their keep or join monastery and learn to beg, ha ha. Must keep the pressure up. Will turn out much better than S.Africa in the long term…..

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