In a totally ironic turn of events, the usually quiet and reclusive Buddhist monks of Myanmar (formerly Burma) had the initiative to go out to the streets of their major cities to protest the recent violent dispersal of political rallies and a series of fuel price hikes. In the capital of Yangon, the protests of the bald, austere and prayerful monks went without much fanfare, but in the city of Sittwe, it was reported that the police resorted to the use of tear gas to control the massing crowd.
This is one of the biggest demonstrations by the monks since the taking over of Than Shwe in 1992. The party of Ang Sun Suu Kyi won via a landslide in the country’s first free elections in 30 years back in the early 90s but her government was unceremoniously overthrown by adventurous military dissenters who chose to grab power for themselves. Since then, Myanmar has been a very controversial region in the realm of global politics and regional stability.
Just how bad did the government do this time? Take this for starters: they doubled the prices of fuel without warning! Though we know that monks do not necessarily drive a lot, they have taken it upon themselves to fight for the greater interest of the majority by fighting for the things that the average citizen would like to have access to.
Ang San Suu Kyi continues to be incarcerated in her home and has already become a rallying point for people who want to see genuine democratization in Myanmar. Unfortunately, in a country were the people aligned with the powers that be are tremendously wealthy and where the average Joe struggles to make ends meet, the prognosis isn’t that promising.