Monks react violently to oppression

Myanmar monks step up and speak out against unjust military junta

By Haley M. Walker |

What have we come to when even the most peaceful people in the world begin fighting?

In an attempt to demonstrate their opposition to the country’s economic and political repression that the military junta has been the source of, the monks of Myanmar have begun to participate in severe uprisings and protests.

This issue is particularly noteworthy, not only because repression and killings are occurring, but also because the monks have begun to show just how serious the injustices of the government’s choices and actions may be in this country by ignoring their vows of peace.

Economic and political hardships have started to become frightening installations and features of the country formally known as Burma.

According to a New York Times article by Seth Mydans, the military junta took a serious hold of Myanmar in 1988 and has since taken on a permanent role in the society, media, people and culture of the area.

There are several examples of this kind of dictatorship, and hence the source of the monks’ and other citizens’ unhappiness.

For example, the junta has raised fuel prices to an unmanageable and explosive level, limited foreign imports to a damaging extent, and taken complete censorship and control over all elements of the media.

Furthermore, the democratic leader of Myanmar, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was placed under house arrest, extinguishing the hope and promise of a just government and democratic happenings to take place.

The actions of the military and the government have caused many severe revolts by the monks and the rest of the residents in the country who are also affected.

Thousands have gathered around sacred pagodas and walked through the streets in masses to portray their powerful discontent.

The fact that each of these men, these monks, wearing traditional robes on their backs and the vow of peace and humanity in their hearts are taking those steps to actually physically take part in a protest to protect their rights and their country is a pretty incredible action to be taking place.

According to totals from several New York Times articles, hundreds of monks have been beaten, arrested and killed in many different protests at various times.

The height of the uprisings seems to have erupted in 2007. These revolts have happened at several different places around the country.
For example, according to the New York Times article by Mydans, The Associated Press reported that 70 to 150 monks were arrested at the Ngwe Kyar Yan.

Additionally, at the Sule Pagoda, violence exploded, the military arrived and more monks were arrested and killed.

An earlier example of a violent protest years ago, would be that in Yangon where the military shot into a huge crowd and killed an estimated 3,000 people.

Throughout history and around the world, millions of people have stood up to protest the life facets, government decisions, or environment that they are dissatisfied with.

People have fought against things such as repression, hardships, land boundaries, inequality, and the list could continue on.

It is in our behavior to battle for the things that are desired for ourselves, for our country and for each other.

This is human nature and it will not be helped no matter how good things may get.

There is something incredibly out of order, yet empowering, about the people who have taken promises of peace physically standing and participating in these protests.

I was appalled to hear of the inhumane and restrictive actions that were occurring in Myanmar.

However, I was surprised, rejuvenated and enlightened to hear that it meant enough to the monks for them to fight alongside every other common citizen and man for these causes. It helped renew my faith in the human spirit.

Myanmar is typically not a country that we are always made aware of through the media, simply because we don’t have very strong ties to it, and because the media in the country is extremely restricted.

Despite these circumstances we should all be made aware of this, and we should make a serious attempt to learn more about this country, their people, and even their battles.

I think that by further recognizing this situation, we could be bringing light to something that our country and people could help.

I have been inspired by the passion that these monks in Myanmar have had to stand against this oppression.

The basis and forefront of their religion is peace, and it is dynamic to learn that they still will fight for the things that they believe that themselves and the people of their country deserve.

Reading about this has made me realize “the greatest value in life is life” and that consequently, it is simply worth fighting for.

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