Monday, October 8, 2007

Junta Accuses Monks of Stockpiling Weapons

According to a CNN report, in addition to intoxicating substances and pornographic material, the SPDC claimed to have seized weapons from Buddhist monasteries. Most would agree that this is a sorry attempt to whitewash the monk-led protests that have gripped Burma in the past couple of weeks. As the Sangha, the monastic order, is the most respected institution in Burma, the military regime is frantically searching for some plausible explanation that will legitimize the government's use of violence against monks and civilians alike. Weeks ago, there were already reports of secret orders for troops to shave their heads, don monastic robes, and infiltrate the ranks of the monks. The hope was that they would incite violence and give the necessary pretext for a forceful armed response.

It is doubtful, that, in a society in which Buddhism pervades every aspect of life, that the average Burmese will fall for this ruse. One of Buddhism's main precepts is to abstain from taking life. Two of the other Five Precepts include abstaining from intoxicating substances and refraining from immoral behavior. The full list of items that were alleged confiscated can be accessed HERE.

The Alliance of All Burma Buddhist Monks, the organization of Buddhist clergymen that led the recent demonstrations, deny the slanderous charges, saying that the junta is engaging in a campaign of "psychological warfare," seeking to discredit them. The monks' response is HERE.

To in any way resort to violence is directly contradictory to Buddhist tenets. While the military leaders condemn the monk's alleged possessions of arms, even if it were true, does not justify the numerous raids on monasteries. According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), since September 26, 48 monasteries have been ransacked and monks held prisoners in places of worship, without being given food or medicine (Story HERE).
Credible reports have described instances of wanton beatings and even killings of monks. One story claimed that 200 monks were killed at Nwye Kyar Yan Monastery on September 30th, the same day when up to 100 parents and students were massacred in Yangon.
Read up that tragic event HERE. The junta's mouthpiece, The New Light of Myanmar, claims that 135 monks are being held, while dissidents say 3,000 protestors are in detention, of which 1,200 are monks.

The Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), has reported that soldiers are desperately trying to lessen to influence of monks, putting great pressure on monks to give up their vows and revert back to layperson status. According to Global Voices, "It is considered to be a sin to just give up being monkhood without valid reasons. The soldiers are trying to significantly lower their influence on people down, to shame them."

Global Voices' translation of DVB's report is HERE.

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