tv Doc Film - Myanmar - The Power of the Monks Deutsche Welle November 3, 2017 6:15am-7:01am CET
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given. that what they're going to. have to have. since the autumn of two thousand and fifteen on sand to cheat a global icon of resistance to tyranny has had the fate of myanmar in her hands thank you push struggle against the military junta lasted thirty years she spent more than half of them under house arrest survived 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 and the man maher have played a crucial role in the return to democracy. although traditionally barred from politics there is still active in all areas of public life. however a new generation of monks is now questioning the old order. three of them have opened up the doors to their monasteries for us.
since then i've dedicated my life to the teachings of the buddha and to spreading the religion. sort of the political situation in my country is one of the main reasons why i want to remain among. just . look it was a little john told about. was indeed a young man when one son she came to power it gave people hope again. before that there was neither hope nor joy these people that stopped believing in a future. where at a buddhist association in the center of mandalay. is due to give a sermon there and people are already expecting him.
ladies and gentlemen are venerable speaker has arrived let's listen to his words. and. the organizers appreciate his words even more than his commitment to. he is unusually outspoken for among. he's a member 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 peepholes teaches. that. the. earth. don't make trouble now. 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 a question that. you might receive and that is exactly what buddha taught to get done that was in a lot of that i don't want to and that's why we're convinced buddhism can only benefit from democracy i don't he he's well 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 are not so bad so far the government hasn't been able to do much for our economy but it hasn't even told us why that is am i right. what about our
dignity is that a sign of intelligence. with. preparing the people of myanmar for a new democratic era that's how 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 a high price. for. 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. 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 broke. 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.
for a saw in my view the revolution of two thousand and seven was the final blow. many blows were needed over the years to sell this big trade. after this last one the tree of the dictatorship came falling down. or you know. 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. unload everything take it to the house who taught peter is helping to his activism isn't limited to his bellicose sermons to 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 them with a religious education while the people pay for their maintenance. and
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 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 bormio population still leads an isolated poverty stricken life and. 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. and all going to go not are going to come up. when i came here the villages gave me
a dog called rice to eat it was almost an animal. 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 learning this 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 that 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. and if they're going to do you know.
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. he went on and on. 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 you know. i mean you're going to. hear from.
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. spreading buddhism in a christian region is a long process that's based largely on symbols that's why the construction of 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 lay is one of the few monks in the region who's fluent in chin. close links with the villagers forms the basis of his mission strategy. over the years the war lay has found the place he had hoped for in the chin villages of rockin state. he doesn't just have a goda 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 leis master the venerable mara 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 we'll become christians again in three days' time. johnny 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 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 their conduct in 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's 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 has a very different game it sees the buddhist missionary zeal as an effective tool to
expand burma is rule over the country's many ethnic minorities. that's why the army started funding this missionary work in the early ninety's it wants to push forward with burma if 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 . maher is a mix of peoples alongside the largest ethnic group the bomb are people in mar is home to the shan the current the chin the rock and a large number of others particularly in the border regions. ever since its independence in one thousand nine hundred forty eight the republic of the union of myanmar has seemed an impossible undertaking. to g.'s father general and son a national hero in the war for independence didn't live to see that 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 going to. see that you know. 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 burm if 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
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 a currently facing unparalleled persecution. the rowan jo was formerly a berm maize 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 are 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 villages were burned down this was the start of a mass exodus to neighboring countries
a tragedy for the rowing just. 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 manaus political life or to side tara is the founder of a particularly active group of monks. our organizations called the patriotic myanmar monks union our president is myanmar dharma and r i u two sides and the secretary.
mentioned you know we founded this organization to prevent muslims from invading our country. and forcing their religion upon us. and i will. do it was an awful. lot of i know. i am. i'm scared of the threat to the buddhist religion and our culture. since other religions have been coming into our country through immigration we've been unable to preserve our culture and you know long. ago that you know we're losing our identity to join and we're doing you know. i want to protect our culture you know in my indian language sort of only as. although it only consists of around one
hundred activists to cite tires group plays an important role in burma is nationalism particularly thanks to spectacular events that play effectively in the media. the. with. the with the with. the with. the woman. with the activists monks are demonstrating in the center of rangoon against a ruling whom they call bengalis in myanmar their role into are denied the right to give themselves a name they're even denied classification as an ethnic group they are the target of extreme hatred. boy young lady want to have parts of rock enough for themselves to found
a role in just state the problem. as soon as they've got their hands on and. they'll want the whole country pages you painted it out governor as you know i know you're going to be my a little the. 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 the way the. really not. going to.
sit here we demonstrate peacefully we don't want to break the law please remain peaceful illegal immigration remains illegal not solo. this week one of our own sons who cheese ministers dared to use the phrase muslims of brocchini in a speech. although he did not explicitly mention the row injure 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 bernese army is pursuing a policy of systematic murder torture and rape. several
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 sound suchi 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. that when a significant all the problems in the country have been caused by the military. but the responsibility has been laid at the current governments to. the me is responsible for crime in the civil wars and the condition of the muslim is. never the less people blame i'm sun cheese government.
but our own song to cheese 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 iraq in. 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 row injure she'd still have to confront the nationalist monks she's stuck between the generals and religious extremists like to cite. yon.
yeah yeah. yeah. since two thousand and twelve we funded a position that is contrary to our own sons who cheese. a while ago the law was passed to protect race and religion and that was necessary because muslims reproduce quickly. the thirty three and now d. members of parliament voted against it and on sons who didn't show up in parliament at all that day allegedly because she was sick. the protection of race and religion that's the purpose of the two thousand and fifteen law limiting interreligious 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 and religion isn't just a legal matter me in my eyes 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 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. today who to cite ta has been invited to speak in honor of the fourth anniversary of the group's founder and. the rapid growth of the mob was generously supported by the military junta even though cheese victory weaken the organization a little it's populism and islamophobia are spreading more with every meeting.
i would like to greet all the venerable individuals who've come to celebrate the fourth anniversary of my data here in my to look i have just three words for you ma . ma means protection of race. means protection of religion and ta means protection of the buddhist teachings. the the. new the. the we've been protecting race and religion for four 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 but what are we to
do with these nice people should we just send them to our kin should we send them there with the promoters. yes that's what we should do. we're accused of sowing hatred instead of practicing all 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 alternative. we monks the sons of. we don't want conflicts not just us but old regular buddhists have to follow the five basic tenets of buddhism. but nobody can control their anger. if you're not angry you can control yourself but as the buddha says when where and great we become blind and conned control ourselves anymore.
well that means we monks khan teach that you must not kill anymore even though the buddha said it's a sin. and that they are going to go to that area. like gandhi came from india he really respected human rights onto men rights respected here too they are. 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. the national interest. 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. were. thank. you. george.
but i don't know in my view about size becoming increasingly dangerous when i'm in rural regions where the people if a country will become muslim move fung santucci gains power they are asking is it true that colors 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 on top who put these ideas in their heads that he said it. was a my most important weapon is what the buddha taught but on alone and then many if i contradict them i refer to buddhist texts he wouldn't talk his love and their
preaching hate and these days the world is a village the people lost themselves whether they sister real buddhism if the other countries see as like this how can we spread our religion i hope we don't have you on. the. the. today is a day of mourning for. his old masters 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. all the monks know the world has changed and the changes triggered by the opening up of 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 its still very fragile democracy.
how to cover more than just one reality. where i come from we have a transatlantic way of looking at things that's because my father is from germany my mother is from the united states of america and so i realized fairly early that it makes sense to explain the different realities. and now here at the heart of the
european union in brussels we have twenty eight different realities and so i think people are really looking for any journalist they can trust for them to make sense of. pride in his next office and i work at the w. . health. and here it's too long. solidarity. they fall by the wayside when the gap between rich and poor grows. like in an equal societies. the divide starting november fifteenth on d w.