The Silence of the Monks

By Samuels, Lennox | Newsweek International, December 3, 2007 | Go to article overview

The Silence of the Monks


Samuels, Lennox, Newsweek International


Byline: Lennox Samuels

Burma's rebellious holy men are now off the street, out of sight. Tales of collaboration and 'monastery arrest' from inside the closed regime.

The 26-year-old monk was one of thousands who took to Burma's streets in late September. Like so many of them, he had never imagined himself an activist -- "I'm a normal monk, not a political monk," he says -- but he was carried away by the democratic fervor then sweeping Rangoon. On Sept. 25 he returned to his monastery late at night, climbing over the back wall since the front entrance was locked. The next night the soldiers came and took him away.

He was not the only monk to vanish. The few foreigners who have managed to enter Burma since the junta's crackdown have noted how empty the country's temples and monasteries seem. For centuries, Buddhist monks have been ubiquitous in Rangoon, Mandalay and other Burmese cities. Today, though they're thought to number 400,000, they are far less visible. "What has happened to all the monks?" asks Shari Villarosa, charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon. "It's frightening. Something has happened. It's not like they all willingly left town."

The military junta has jailed monks it sees as ringleaders and has persuaded abbots -- some of who were already collaborating with the regime -- to get rid of dissidents. Hundreds were killed and injured. Many more have been placed under "monastery arrest," confined to quarters except perhaps to collect their daily alms. Others have been forcibly "derobed," or have fled to the countryside or to Thailand and China. "The monasteries in my neighborhood seem to be empty," says a 26-year-old monk who was jailed for 19 days. "In my monastery, we used to have 100. Now [it's] 31. I can feel the silence."

The government claims it has released all but about 90 of the 3,000 monks and civilians initially jailed. The ruling generals like to make a show of their piety, often posting pictures of themselves at pagodas, but when the monks marched in the streets this summer, the show was over. Today, few monks can be found around the Shwedagon and Sule Pagodas, the main Rangoon protest sites. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Silence of the Monks
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.