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tv   Doc Film - Myanmar - The Power of the Monks  Deutsche Welle  November 2, 2017 2:15am-3:00am CET

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heroes. w made for mines. given. that water got to go. you have to have. since the autumn of two thousand and fifteen on sun to cheat a global icon of resistance to tyranny has had the fate of myanmar in her hands thank you for struggle against the military junta lasted thirty years she spent more than half of them under house arrest survived
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assassination attempts and was awarded the nobel peace prize for her stubborn opposition. the hopes of a great people rest on her shoulders today but the general still haven't relinquished their power and the young democracy remains fractured. and. the five hundred thousand buddhist monks in the man maher have played a crucial role in the return to democracy. although traditionally barred from politics they're still active in all areas of public life. however a new generation of monks is now questioning the old order.
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three of them have opened up the doors to their monasteries for us. they all stand out for their willingness to get involved in public matters and are fighting their very own at times contradictory battles. but they're doing it in the name of.
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what they have where my name is. i'm thirty five and have been a monk for sixteen years.
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that was. i entered religious life in my village. when i was ten. since then i've dedicated my life to the teachings of the buddha and to spreading the religion. we. started on the political situation in my country is one of the main reasons why i wanted to remain among. your. music it was gentle the pot. was indeed went on sun she came to power it gave people hope again. before that there was neither hope nor joy these people had stopped believing in a future. where at a buddhist association in the center of mandalay. is due to give
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a sermon there and people are already expecting him. ladies and gentlemen our venerable speaker has arrived let's listen to his words. and. the organizers appreciate his words even more than his commitment to allentown tucci he is unusually outspoken for among. give you the number that is in our country you know the monks have long had a lot of influence on the people. play the most important part and most changes in the country. indeed when like the people's teachers. at. the earth.
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don't let me talk about how. we monks i don't convince that buddhism is developing with democracy. according to the buddha. there's a set of teaching in this that questions things and that's allowed to be question that. is exactly what buddha taught that. it was in a lot of that and i don't want that and that's why we're convinced buddhism can only benefit from democracy i don't know cynical. people think that once they've cast their vote everything's done and dusted if they think they've done all they need to do but they're not exactly humble. they want this and they want that most of them don't even know what's happening in their own country i'm not so bad so far the government hasn't been able to do much for our
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economy but it hasn't even told us why that is am i right. what's about our dignity is not a sign of intelligence. the. preparing the people of myanmar for a new democratic era that's how ottavi to wants to support the woman who led the country to freedom. but i prayed very much for her and it worked. i respect and trust her. if i had to i'd be willing to die for her. the monks have repeatedly demonstrated their commitment to society and their willingness to sacrifice themselves for the burmese people. and at times they've had to pay
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a high price. september two thousand and seven while the country was mired in a severe economic crisis the military hunter decided to increase fuel prices people were at their wit's end. but then the monks took to the streets it was a first in man law the military hunter was surprised but at first tolerated it then the protests started growing quickly blossoming into the so-called saffron revolution after the color of the monks robes. the army was overwhelmed and felt threatened the unthinkable happened it opened fire on the monks and locked hundreds of them up the revolution failed but the hunter had shown its true face once again with serious consequences.
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or a saw in my view the revolution of two thousand and seven was the final blow. many blows were needed over the years to fell this big tree. after this last one the tree of the dictatorship came falling down. or you're not. in two thousand and eleven million mark took the first tentative steps towards becoming a free market economy and a consumer society but half a century of terror and economic isolation had turned the country that was once the richest in the region into one of the poorest in the world the monks are trying to help people to get ahead. if you unload everything take it to the house who taught peter is held in to his activism isn't limited to his bellicose sermons to
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compensate for the lack of health care in two thousand and ten he helped set up a foundation that aims to provide easier access to medical treatment. if it were possible we'd prefer to just follow our calling as monks to be honest we've all had enough of all this but it's our tradition that's a project can only be successful if the monks get involved. so we're forced into this work and we also view it as r g o t to look after the people because we depend on them to know they feed us and pay for. with. the symbiotic relationship is a fundamental factor in burmese society the monks guide the people by providing
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them with a religious education while the people pay for their maintenance. of. the alms ritual that takes place in the streets of man mark every morning is a reminder of this connection between the population and the monks. the monks are freed from material needs and can dedicate their studies wholly to spreading buddhist teachings thanks. for the children of the poorest families entering a monastic school is often the only way of climbing the social ladder they then continue their training at the buddhist universities while some monks are happy to lead a modest life in a monastery others become influential people in burma society the so-called
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venerable ones. like the monks in thailand cambodia and laos the bernese monks practice theravada buddhism which is much more traditional than the zen buddhism known in the west. in contrast to the democratic. who were late isn't politically active instead he focuses on spreading buddhism to this and he has settled in a rural area far from the towns and cities where the majority of the born nice population still leads an isolated poverty stricken life and.
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this place in the south of rockin state is home to many chine one of a hundred and thirty five ethnic minorities recognized by the burmese constitution . the chin who have suffered persecution and harassment from the dictatorship in the past have a completely different language and culture to those of my own mars largest ethnic group the bomber. the young monk settled here because of the change of religion they are mainly christian and is a missionary of the buddhist monks living here are just like the old christian missionaries and the spearhead of an ambitious expansion plan that has been supported by the military government since the ninety's.
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and all going to go not everything but. when i came here the villagers gave me a dog called rice to eat it was almost an end of all. they didn't visit me so i was alone most of the time. i thought a lot about the purpose of my mission at that time. all i had left in my loneliness was meditation and i started thinking about the strategy i could use to get people to the monastery and. then you know. then i had an idea i could go to the city and buy sweets to give to the children in the village and. after that more and more parents and other people came to the monastery. that's how i was able to win the villages over and convert them.
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converting people is a big challenge for the monks in this village eighty percent of the residents are catholics or baptists to win them over the monks offer what's most sorely lacking here access to education. in these remote areas most families don't have the money to send their children to school and. that's why i turn to the free religious schools in mandalay and rangoon so the children can attend a secondary school. but i don't know. i mean to get it right here.
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in these villages where everything is lacking the monks sometimes do a lot but they always expect something in return this is the real aim of their mission the comprehensive spread of buddhism in all its fullness. moneer spreading buddhism in a christian region is a long process that's based largely on symbols that's why the construction of
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pagodas monasteries and other religious sites is the missionaries most important work but winning the people's hearts and minds is much harder. who are late as one of the few monks in the region whose fluent in chin. close links with the villagers forms the basis of his mission strategy. over the years all war lay has found the place he had hoped for in the chin villages of rockin state. he doesn't just have a goda
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a monastic school and several places of worship. he has also managed to send seven hundred fifty children to religious schools in the cities. who were lay works for the department for the promotion and propagation of society all burmese monks are members of this institution which was founded in the early ninety's. it comes under the auspices of the ministry of religious affairs and culture and is based in rangoon or lays master the venerable mara
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is its president he runs six hundred missions throughout the country. on the twenty seventh of march we organize a ceremony for the conversion to buddhism during which donations for an order nation room were collected in the village of. well you have to look after them well otherwise they'll convert to buddhism today but will become christians again in three days' time. who are down low john a boy. but the converted the conversion ceremonies are often just the. we started in two thousand and eleven and the converts didn't revert to christianity the people on the mountain and border regions will convert to get something but as soon as we don't have anything left to give them they'll switch
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religions again. we give them an education to promote our religion it's good to give them an education whether they convert or not education can improve their thinking and the conduct of some places where the schools only teach in chinese or quranic language they can learn bermejo and now monastic scholars. official language they need to know if. you can say that our missions only benefit the buddhist religion and. they also promote peace and development in these regions. if buddhism could reach the hearts of people there would be no war. everyone would live in peace. buddhism as a bringer of peace in the eyes of the monks there's no doubt about it but the army
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has a very different game it sees the buddhist missionary zeal as an effective tool to expand burma is rule over the countries many ethnic minorities. that's why the army started funding this missionary work in the early ninety's it wants to push forward with birth occasion which it wants to use to consolidate its power over the minorities. one hundred thirty five officially recognized ethnic groups with around one hundred languages and dialects were arbitrarily grouped together as one country . is a mix of peoples alongside the largest ethnic group the bomb our people. are is home to the shan the current the chin the rock scene and a large number of others particularly in the border regions. ever since its independence in one nine hundred forty eight the republic of the union of myanmar has seemed an impossible undertaking. alexander to g.'s father general and son
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a national hero in the war for independence didn't live to see that day he was assassinated. after that the country went through a series of rebellions and guerrilla wars that were put down with increasing bloodshed. and. you're. the rise of social networks has given new war lays missionary work a new dimension he writes about the events he's hosting and has no trouble finding donors who are willing to pay for a new buddha statues and monasteries burma's occasion is progressing ever more rapidly in the south of rockin state but a few dozen kilometers further north it's long ground to a standstill. thanks
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these mountains hide an entire region that has been sealed off by the army it's a no go zone for foreigners around a million muslims in this region bordering bangladesh are currently facing unparalleled persecution. there. when joe was formally a berm mase ethnic group but are now stateless having been struck off the list of ethnic groups by law in one thousand nine hundred eighty two. even though they have lived in rocking for centuries they're now seen as illegal immigrants from bangladesh. their situation abruptly worsened in two thousand and twelve when buddhists in the state attacked them after monks had spread false rumors about rapes on social media. the situation quickly escalated their rowing joe were driven out of the towns and their
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villages were burned down this was the start of a mass exodus to neighboring countries a tragedy for the rowing. nationalist organizations a buddhist monks have been behind these events these openly anti muslim movements have played a big part in the violence it's they who have been fueling the hatred especially via social media since then buddhist nationalism has played a central role in man mars political life. to cite tara is the founder of a particularly active group of monks. our organizations called the patriotic myanmar monks union our president as you know madame and i. and the secretary.
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major you know we founded this organization to prevent muslims from invading our country. and forcing their religion upon us. to you know no no no i will. do it was an awful. lot. going on in the. iranian. government as you i'm scared of the threat to the buddhist religion and ah culture . since other religions have been coming into our country through immigration we've been unable to preserve our culture and you know. that you know we're losing our identity to join and you do it you know. i want
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to protect our culture you know in my head you. should have only us and. although it only consists of around one hundred activists to cite ties group plays an important role in burma's nationalism particularly thanks to spectacular events that play effectively in the media. with. the. with. the. the what. the activists monks are demonstrating in the center of rangoon against a rowing whom they call bengalis in myanmar their role into are denied the right to give themselves a name yet they're even denied classification as an ethnic group they are the target of extreme hatred. going young
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lady want to have parts of wrecking it for themselves to found a role in just eight. that's a problem. as soon as they've got their hands on and. they'll want the whole country papers you painted out governors you know i know you're going to be my little. the nationalist groups prejudices me too little resistance among the burmese population fear of migrants and radical islamism has merged with an older islamophobia deeply rooted in the minds of non muslim burmese people. was the. was the. the the. the political the was
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the center. was anger we demonstrate peacefully we don't want to break the law please remain peaceful illegal immigration remains illegal that's the law it was all over the this week one of our own sons who cheese ministers dared to use the phrase muslims of rockiness in a speech. although he did not explicitly mention the rowing his words implicitly suggested that they were an ethnic and religious group this is a great affront to the nationalist monks. according to a new report by the un high commissioner for human rights the burma's army is pursuing a policy of systematic murder torture and rape. several
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n.g.o.s are using the term genocide. me and maher is facing severe criticism from many governments and the international community as a whole all the more so since santucci hasn't as yet said or done anything to defend their own engine. eleven nobel laureates have written an open letter to the un security council voicing their concerns. i question if it and all the problems in the country have been caused by the military . but the responsibilities been laid at the current governments. the army is responsible for crime the civil wars and the condition of the muslim.
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he said nevertheless people blame m son two chiefs government. but our own song to chief is really the country's head of state only in name according to the constitution she herself had a hand in writing the military has held on to some of its power it still has a quarter of all seats in parliament and the important. interior and defense ministers are also army officers so the military alone is actually making all the decisions about how to proceed in rocky. our own sons to cheese hands tied or if she sacrificed in the muslims as part of an arrangement with the generals in exchange for her new democracy it's hard to say. but even if she wanted to protect the role injure she'd still have to confront the nationalist monks she stuck between the generals and religious extremists like to
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side. to the. the the the. yeah. since two thousand and twelve we funded a position that is contrary to our sons who cheese a while ago the law was passed to protect the race and religion and that was necessary because muslims reproduce quickly the thirty three and i'll be members of parliament voted against it and on sons who didn't show up in the parliament at all that day allegedly because she was sick. of. the protection of race and religion that's the purpose of the two thousand and fifteen law limiting into
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religious marriages and targeting the country's five percent muslim population by banning polygamy it was a great political victory for radical activists such as the patriotic me and ma monks union shortly before the election of. protecting race in religion isn't just a legal matter man mars buddhist monks missionary work is also based on this formula but its meaning is controversial because the bernese word for race can also mean nation for most monks protecting race means something more like protecting the country and its culture but the nationalists are all about racism
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a racism they proclaimed loudly a racism they proclaimed loudly. that. a much more powerful group of extremists have managed to make the issue of national identity the subject of public debate across the country. the mob is the most influential organization of nationalist monks in myanmar. naing. today to cite has been invited to speak an honor of the fourth anniversary of the group's founder and. the rapid growth of the mob a towel was generously supported by the military junta. even though our own sons to cheese victory weaken the organization
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a little it's populism and islamophobia i spreading more with every meeting. with. i would like to greet all the venerable individuals who've come to celebrate the fourth anniversary of my data here in my tele i have just three words for you ma. ma means protection of race. means protection of religion and ta means protection of the law. we've been protecting race and religion for for years now. the bearded ones with their greedy eyes and dark skins invaded our country through the back door and i right yes at the same time there are people who demand that we live in peace with them. what are we to do with these nice people should we
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just send them to iraq even should we send them there with the pillows. yes that's what we should do. we're accused of sowing hatred instead of practicing our religion for peace but we're just protecting ourselves against the hatred that's flooding our country where not the one spreading hatred. and only our own is one of. the film. we monks are the sons of morna. we don't want conflicts not just us but all regular buddhists have to follow the five basic tenets of buddhism. look nobody can control their anger and if you're not angry you can control yourself but as the buddha says when where and great we become blind and con control ourselves anymore.
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well that means we monks kaante each that you must kill anymore even though the buddha said it's a sin the item on and you it's a lot of that and then there they are going to go to our great job better yet i don't have it. like gandhi came from india he really respected human rights onto men rights respected here too they are. here but what happened to gandhi he defended human rights out of his deepest conviction and then he broke up india as a result wasn't it so it was. who has been elected the new president of the united states does he defend human rights or the national interest. a national interest.
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the national interest counts. with protecting ourselves against the decline of our race through our way of protecting ourselves against the decline of buddhist teachings where we're protecting ourselves against the decline of our religion. her . thank. you.
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but i don't get in my view about size becoming increasingly dangerous when i'm in ruler of regions where the people ask me if a country will become muslim fung sun suchi gains power they are asking is it true that make up a large percentage of the government of course it's not true but the river of population believes these claims who's to blame it. put these ideas in the heads that he said i have that i am about. as old as my most important weapon is what the buddha taught but on alone and then many if i contradict them i refer to buddhist texts you wouldn't talk just love
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and their preaching hate and these days the world is a village the people lost themselves on whether this is still a real buddhism if the other countries see as like this how can we spread our religion for help or talking on. the the. today is a day of mourning for. his old master is dead and the buddhists of mandalay are paying their last respects before he's cremated. he was a highly respected monk and a wise man who has left behind and deeply split in deeply worried monastic community.
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all the monks know the world has changed and the changes triggered by the opening up in the country scare them. and so some of the monks like so many people around the world are searching for salvation in isolationism and a rejection of everything and everyone they don't know. but in myanmar the influence of these groups is so great that the hatred they're spreading threatens it's still very fragile democracy.
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