Monks with Guns?

The Christian Science Monitor has this:

Rangoon, Burma - If Ashin Zawta has his way, the next time the government of Burma (Myanmar) clamps down on dissent it will have to deal with a new force: monks with guns.

"Last September the Army proved too powerful for us and defeated our nonviolent tactics," says the young monk, whose real name, like those of other activists in this story, has been changed for security reasons. "We need weapons. That is the only way we can bring down this regime."

One year after monks led thousands in Burma's largest antigovernment protests in 19 years, many activists say they are losing patience with the slow pace of change. Up against a powerful regime, they are calling for fresh tactics, from teaching human rights theory to stockpiling arms.

"The younger activists' frustrations are growing. They want to take up arms because they were so brutally suppressed last September. They have gone their whole lives without seeing change," says Win Min, an expert on Burmese political affairs at Thailand's Chiang Mai University.

While the activists-turning toward violence still form a minority, young monks have never before openly advocated violence, and this may signal a new phase in the evolution of the political opposition, says Mr. Win. . . .

Thanks very much to Richard F. Griffiths for sending me this link.



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