Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Myanmar Uses Force Against Monks; Unsettles Society

Today's New York Times reports that in Myanmar, fundamental Burmese values have been unsettled by the government's successful use of force against Buddhist monks who have been demonstrating against the increased poverty and deprivation of the country's population. The Times says: "For decades, two powerful institutions have shaped Burmese life: the 500,000-member Buddhist clergy, which commands a moral authority over the population, and Senior Gen. Than Shwe’s junta, whose 450,000-strong military controls the population through intimidation. Their uneasy coexistence has shattered.... The guns have prevailed over mantras, at least for now." A shop owner in Yangon says his young son now fears becoming a soldier because he may have to kill a monk.