Tue, Aug 06, 2013 - Page 6 News List

Punks break Myanmar’s silence on religious attacks

AP, YANGON, Myanmar

He and others of varying religious backgrounds put together a music video expressing solidarity, saying basically: “Don’t worry, at least between us, everything will be OK.”

However, when asked if he is not tempted to answer to 969 when he sees their stickers and signs on the walls of Yangon, he says: “No. It’s very complicated. On this one, I think it’s better to be the audience, not the show.”

Burmese President Thein Sein banned an issue of Time magazine that splashed Wirathu on the cover and called him “the face of Buddhist terror,” and said he supports 969 and considers the extremist monk a “son of Lord Buddha.”

With national elections scheduled for 2015, Aung San Suu Kyi has said nothing, worried, analysts say, there will be a backlash at the polls if she is perceived as anti-Buddhist.

That leaves the punk rockers, who know what it is like to be outsiders. During military rule, the tiny punk community practiced and performed in secret, often in abandoned buildings, by the railroad tracks or in private, before a small group of close friends. While others were cowed by the constant threat of arrest and imprisonment, they screamed out about abuses at the hands of the army and asked why politically connected businesspeople were getting rich while everyone else suffered.

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