A growing number of young activist monks in Burma (Myanmar), frustrated by years of suppression, are considering taking up arms as a way to fight the military junta.
Writing for the Christian Science Monitor, Anand Gopal said younger monks are more educated about human rights theories and think the Buddhist teachings on nonviolence aren’t bringing about the changes they want.
This change in thinking comes after the harsh crackdown in 2007 on large anti-government protests led by thousands of monks and nuns.
The military junta responded harshly with strict crackdowns that left some dead and hundreds imprisoned.
“Last September the Army proved too powerful for us and defeated our nonviolent tactics. We need weapons. That is the only way we can bring down this regime,” one monk told the Monitor.
The defeat slowed, but did not stop, underground movements who want to replace the dictatorship with a democracy.
Younger, more impatient monks who are stockpiling arms represent only a small minority of underground activists.
“Monks with guns? Burma’s younger activists get bolder.”
The Christian Science Monitor, September 18, 2008