Young Burmese Monks Ready to Take Up Arms

Buddhist movement gets bolder; some suggest stockpiling weapons
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2008 6:41 AM CDT
Buddhist monks feast on meals donated by a newlywed couple July 12, 2008, at a monastery in Yangon City, Burma. The monks walk around the city every day asking for donations or food.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – After seeing nonviolent protesters killed or detained in last year’s protests against the ruling junta, younger segments of Burma’s Buddhist monks are becoming more radical, embracing armed resistance and overt dissent, the Christian Science Monitor reports. "We need weapons,” one young monk said. “That is the only way we can bring down this regime."

Though those endorsing the use of violence against the junta are still in a minority, monks have become bolder in other ways. Monasteries provide education in English and math to the poor in Burma, but have recently added political history lessons as well. "Most young people don't even know about 1988," a young monk says of that year’s failed democratic uprising.