Friday, November 15, 2013

Nationalist Monk Shin Wirathu’s Kachin State Tour (3)

Globally Famous Burmese Nationalist-Buddhist monk Shin Wirathu started his well publicised tour to nominally-Christian Kachin State by flying to Bamaw from Mandalay and arriving there at about 2 pm on October-22.

From his New Ma Soe Yein Teaching Monastery in Mandalay he was planning to travel in planes and cars and boats to Myitkyinar at least 500 miles away. His plan was to cover almost every town and every large village on his way from Bamaw to Myitkyinar the Kachin State Capital at the end of very dangerous Bamaw-Myitkyinar unsealed-dirt-Road.

After staying three long days in Bamaw Shin Wirathu travelled to Myitkyinar the state capital of civilwar-torn Kachin State now populated by Buddhist majority of ethnic Shans and Burmese, and Christian minority of native Kachins.

Shin Wirathu Was Not Allowed into Myitkyinar Prison

Shin Wirathu just out of Myitkyinar Prison (Jan 2012).
On his second day in Myitkyinar the capital city of war-torn Kachin State Shin Wirathu tried to get access into notorious Myitkyinar Prison where he himself was once incarcerated more than one year from 2011 to 2012 for inciting anti-Muslim hatred in his home town Kyauk-sel.

His request to the prison authorities asked for the permission to feed the whole inmate population at least one meal, to establish a small library for women inmates, and to donate essential items for the imprisoned Buddhists there at the Prison.

But the prison authorities had denied all his requests and not even allowed him to step into the prison compound. They told him that if he still wanted to provide one good meal for all the inmates the prison officers would come to the Aung-daw-mu Monastery and pick up all the food instead of allowing the monks and their devotees to bring the food into the prison.

While he was incarcerated in same prison from 21-January-2011 to 13-January-2012 our Shin Wirathu had managed to open a prison Buddhist Station where he delivered Buddhist sermons eleven times, teach Buddhist classes seven times, establish a Buddhist library for male inmates, and donate cloths and tables and portable electric-fans.

Back then as a special privilege for the famous Buddhist monk our Shin Wirathu was permitted  by the Prison Director Kyaw Soe and the Warden Than Win to keep an iPad notebook computer with plenty of Buddhist scripture and related literature so that he could guide the inmates in praying and also practising their religion Buddhism.

Shin Wirathu’s Trip to Nam-ma-tee and Moe-gaung Towns

28 October 8:00 AM – Shin Wirathu touring the Kachin State left Myitkyinar for the sugar farming town of Nam-ma-tee.

28 October 7:00 PM – That night our Shin Wirathu delivered a Dammah Sermon at Oat-ta-ra-yar-mah Teaching Monastery in Nam-ma-tee the Sugar Town of Burma.

29 October 9:00 AM – Shin Wirathu visited Say-ti-yah-par-lah Monastery and studied Mingalar-aung-zee stone drum there at the monastery. He then met and paid respects to Sugarmill Monastery Sayardawgyi.

29 October 11:00 AM – Shin Wirathu later visited Oat-ta-ra-yar-mah Monastery and gave a dammah lecture to the Nam-ma-tee NLD party members led by U Win Bo at the monastery.

29 October 2:00 PM – Shin Wirathu then gave a dammah-literature speech to the students from State High Schools and State Middle Schools of Nam-ma-tee and answered their questions at the end of his speech. The Buddhist literary talk was arranged and sponsored by Daw Swe Mya Mya Lay of Mya-thit-sar Store in Nam-ma-tee and all together more than 1,500 students together with their teachers had attended the talk.

29 October 5:00 PM – The Buddhist-literary Talk finished very late at 5 pm that day as the students there had excitingly asked so many questions. The student crowd also included more than 100 Christians and about 15 Muslim students. Shin Wirathu had to play the Maungdaw Bengali Riots video again there when a young schoolgirl asked him what exactly a Muslims’ “Jihad” was.

30 October 8:00 AM – Shin Wirathu left Nam-ma-tee that morning and reached Moe-goung Town later. He first paid respects to Chairman Sayardawgyi Bard-dan-tah Ar-sein-nah of Kachin State Thangah Naryaka and later he stayed as a guest monk at Padarna Naryaka Sayardawgyi Bard-dan-tah Thar-tha-nah’s Maha-pyit-si-mar-yone Teaching Monastery.

30 October 1:30 PM – He delivered a Dammah sermon at the Maha-pyit-si-mar-yone Teaching Monastery.

30 October 4:00 PM – In the afternoon that day Shin Wirathu visited Shwe-thar-hlyaung Pagoda.

30 October 7:00 PM – He delivered a night Dammah sermon at the Maha-pyit-si-mar-yone Teaching Monastery again and answered the questions from the audience at the end of his sermon.

31 October 7:30 AM – Shin Wirathu left Moe-goung Town that morning and arrived back at Myitkyinar well before midday.

31 October 11:30 AM – Shin Wirathu had his main and only meal of the day at Lel-gone Ward’s Aung-daw-mu Monastery and had a roundtable frank discussion with young Buddhist monks from the Monastery.

31 October 1:00 PM – He arrived at the Myitkyinar airport’s departure hall and received the local elders. He reminded them that this place was where he gave the well-wishers his very first Dammah sermon just after he was released from the Myitkyinar Prison in 2012.

31 October 2:00 PM – He left Myitkyinar by a Air Pagan's plane and arrived back at his New-Masoeyein Teaching Monastery in Mandalay City that late afternoon.
(Blogger’s Notes: Since my army days in early 1970s Myitkyinar, despite being the capital of Kachin State, has basically been a majority-Buddhist town because of combined Burmese and Shan population who are almost 100% Buddhist.

A Burmese army patrol in Myitkyinar.
I still remember the stark contrast between the treatments we Burmese soldiers received from the Buddhist wards and Kachin wards. We were shot at by the Christians in the Kachin wards while the Buddhists wards' residents were happy to see us and gladly giving us food and drinks and cheroots.

So we tensely locked and loaded our G3s in Kachin Wards but we slung them G3s with ease on our shoulders in Buddhist wards.

As in the rest of Burma the Kachin State has diverse population of mainly Kachin, Shan, Burmese, and other ethnic groups. Kachin State’s 4 districts, 18 townships, and 11 sub-townships have a total population of more than 1.6 million in the year 2,012 and there are more than 500,000 Kachins, nearly 400,000 Burmese, over 300,000 Shans, and almost 300,000 other ethnic groups living in the Kachin State.

According to the last census figures the districts of Myitkyinar, Moenhyin, Bamaw, and Putao have population of more than 1.6 million out of which Kachins are 39.319%, Burmese 29.288%, Shans 23.633%, Chins 0.737%, Karens 0.218%, Yakhines 0.217%, Mons 0.030%, and Kayahs 0.020%. 

Total Buddhist population of war-torn Kachin State is now nearly 60% compared to just 35% Christians and that rapid demographic change is frightening the Christian-Controlled KIA but encouraging the Buddhist Burmese Army in their grueling war against KIA.

A rusty remains of an army-truck destroyed by
a KIA ambush near Dawd-phone-yang.
Shin Wirathu’s well-publicised proselytizing trips to Kachin State especially Myitkyinar and Bamaw the most populous towns in Kachin land just after the futile peace-talks between the army and KIA in last October 8-10 was not a coincidence, I believe.

Travelling in a vehicle convoy with a heavily-armed army escort on extremely dangerous Bamaw-Myitkyinar road through Dawd-phone-yang where KIA has regularly ambushed army troops? Burma army definitely was behind Shin Wirathu’s proselytizing trip into the still-nominally-Christian Kachin land.)