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Burma's monks need our help

Bangkok Post, October 3, 2007

Bangkok, Thailand -- People around the world, particularly Buddhists, were saddened by the Burmese government's tough crackdown on monks who joined protesters calling for democracy in the military-ruled country last week.

Opinion is divided over whether monks should engage in this kind of activity. Many believe monks should not get involved in politics, but many others say monks cannot turn a blind eye when people are subject to political persecution. After all, a repressive regime does not give much importance to religion, let alone promote it.

The situation in Burma worsened when soldiers fired on protesters and monks, killing many on the streets of Rangoon. Hundreds of monks were also put in detention. The image of Burmese monks marching peacefully along with protesters touched television audiences around the world.

Buddhist monks and lay people around the world should send moral support to fellow Buddhists in Burma. Their call for human rights and freedom in Burma is righteous and we should support it.

So far there has been no reaction from the Thai Sangha or any Buddhist groups and organisations regarding the brutal actions against Burmese monks.

Thai Buddhist monks took an active role in calling for the installation of Buddhism as the national religion. They have protested against paintings deemed offensive to Buddhism. Why no expression of support for fellow Buddhists in Burma?


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