Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Will It Come To This?

Rangoon, 1st October 2007 - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7022437.stm

About 4,000 monks have been rounded up in the past week as the military government has tried to stamp out pro-democracy protests. They are being held at a disused race course and a technical college.

Sources from a government-sponsored militia said they would soon be moved away from Rangoon. The monks have been disrobed and shackled, the sources told BBC radio's Burmese service. There are reports that the monks are refusing to eat.

Last week several monasteries were raided, and there were reports of monks being beaten and killed.With many monks behind bars, the demonstrations have now died down.

Saigon, 11 June 1963 - http://www.buddhistinformation.com/self_immolation.htm

On June 11, 1963, Thich Quang Duc, a Buddhist monk from the Linh-Mu Pagoda in Hue, Vietnam, burned himself to death at a busy intersection in downtown Saigon, Vietnam.. Eye witness accounts state that Thich Quang Duc and at least two fellow monks arrived at the intersection by car, Thich Quang Duc got out of the car, assumed the traditional lotus position and the accompanying monks helped him pour gasoline over himself. He ignited the gasoline by lighting a match and burned to death in a matter of minutes. David Halberstam, a reporter for the New York Times covering the war in Vietnam, gave the following account: I was to see that sight again, but once was enough. Flames were coming from a human being; his body was slowly withering and shriveling up, his head blackening and charring. In the air was the smell of burning human flesh; human beings burn surprisingly quickly. Behind me I could hear the sobbing of the Vietnamese who were now gathering. I was too shocked to cry, too confused to take notes or ask questions, too bewildered to even think…. As he burned he never moved a muscle, never uttered a sound, his outward composure in sharp contrast to the wailing people around him.

The monk's protest came to symbolize the repression of the US-backed South Vietnamese regime against Buddhism.

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