The New York Times continues its streak of good reporting and editorializing about the situation in Burma — including Kenan Malik’s blistering op-ed about how the anti-Muslim violence perpetrated by Buddhists in Burma should burst idealized notions about Buddhism, and Nick Kristof’s recent series of columns and blog posts based on his recent visit to Burma — with a new op-ed by Min Zin entitled “The People Vs. The Monks”.
Intellectuals have sometimes criticized monks, but typically it was for falling short of their own rules, not for political reasons. We were taught to think of any corrupt monks as deviant, keeping intact our faith in the virtue of the robe and the wisdom of the Buddha.
But now a gap is growing between a significant segment of the monkhood and a significant segment of society over the issue of religious radicalism…
The unprecedented chasm between the monkhood and the people is for now a source of tension and turmoil. But it augurs well for the country’s political and social development in the long term. The advent of a counter movement to Buddhist extremism suggests that the people of Myanmar are emancipating from traditional elites and taking a major stride toward modernity and democracy.
Read the whole thing here.